Quick Quiz!!! True or False: Money Community The Environment Your Quality of Life Family Money is the most important thing in my life and the driving force behind why I farm. Cross out the items that are not important to you:
Whole Farm Planning Using Holistic Management By: Seth Wilner Sullivan County UNH Cooperative Extension
Square One What is the core purpose of management?
How do people commonly make decisions? • Decisions are made towards an objective or goal (mission or vision). • They involve one or more of the following tools: • technology, rest, fire, living organisms • They are based on one or more of the following factors: • research, expert opinion, advice, tradition, gut instinct, etc.
Holistic Management - An Alternative Decision-Making Process A process that simultaneously considers the ecological, economical and social impacts of decisions prior to their implementation.
Whole farm planning using the Holistic Management decision makingprocess can assist farms to: • Increase their profitability. • Improve the quality of life for farmers,farm families,and farm employees. • Enhance the environmental conditions of the farm. • Increase effective communication between farm employees and within farm families. • Simultaneously consider the ecological, economical, and social impacts of potential actions and decisions prior to their implementation.
Holistic Management can assist farms to: • Explore new potential enterprises and economic opportunities. • Diagnose the true cause of problems to be able to correct limitations and logjams that prevent the farm from realizing its full potential. • Monitor decisions for the first sign of problems. • Filter advice and recommendations to meet the specific conditions of the farm, including the ethics and values of the farmers and workers, their desired quality of life, and the economic and environmental opportunities and constraints of the farm.
The Whole Under Management Whole farm planning using Holistic Management begins by identifying all the people involved in decision making at any level, as well as anyone who can veto decisions. These decision makers are brought together to identify the resources available to their farm, including human, financial, and material resources.
The Whole Under Management Why bring all the decision-makers and anyone with veto power together? The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It empowers all the people (family, employees, partners, etc). So no one can scuttle the plan after it is formed…provides buy in.
My Whole Under Management • Decision Makers • Seth and Sharon • Resource Base • Parents, Siblings, Relatives • Friends, Neighbors, Community • Clientele, Co-Workers, Professional Acquaintances • 5.5 Acres of Woodlands, Blueberries, Vegetables, Flowers • House, Barn, Sauna, Shed • Car, Tractor, Bicycle • Money • Savings Account • Checking Account • Parents and In-Laws Credit Line
The Holistic Goal The Holistic Goal is the cornerstone of the Holistic Management decision making process and is used to guide all decisions. In this step the decision makers define the quality of life they desire based on their guiding values. Next, the forms of production are identified.These describe what must be produced to achieve this quality of life. The key aspect of this step is to define whatmust be produced not how it will be produced. How you do things are actions, and all actions are tested using the testing guidelines. Third, the future resource baseis described. The future resource base describes what the farm land and community must be like in the future to sustain the farm. The future resource base also describes how the farm and farmers must be perceived like by clients to sustain their business into the future.
Holistic Goal Your Holistic Goal • Ties your deepest values to your life support system. • Like magnetic north guides direction without being seen or reached. • Ensures objectives, goals and actions move you to what you want.
Example: Quality of life:We desire a happy family, prosperous rural farm life, community harmony, freedom of religion, security, time for family and friends, good health, clean food & water. Forms of production:profit, tolerant environment, full and meaningful employment, leisure time, unpolluted environment….. Future resource base: LandscapeEffective water and mineral cycling, high biodiversity and energy flow in crop fields. Abundant wildlife and perennial grasslands Clients/suppliersWe must be friendly, professional, have a good attitude, be prompt and reliable, honest, open-minded, responsive…….
The Testing Guidelines Holistic Management practitioners use all the common means of making decisions. In addition, they use seven testing guidelines. The testing guidelines are used as a tool to help determine whether a potential action will lead towards or away from the Holistic Goal. The testing guidelines seek to ensure that a potential action or decision: • Truly addresses the root cause of a problem. • Does not adversely affect people who are meaningful in your life,
Testing Guidelines Continued... • Takes into account the weakest stage of an organism’s lifecycle (pest or beneficial), • Addresses the most pressing element relative to the farm’s financial plan, • Is the best choice in terms of time and money given more than one option to choose from, • Is well understood in terms of the gross profit it will generate, • Matches up with a farm’s value system for issues involving money and energy resources. • Will not degrade the future resource base described in the Holistic Goal, • Feels right after a “gut” check is done.
Testing Guidelines Continued... Not all of the testing guidelines apply in all situations. Those that do not apply are not used. Use of the testing guidelines does not insure a perfect decision, it simply ensures that decisions are analyzed for their economic, environmental, and social sustainability before being implemented.
Testing Questions • Cause & Effect • Weak Link • social • biological • financial • Marginal Reaction • Gross Profit Analysis • Energy/Money - Source and Use • Sustainability • Society and Culture
Conventional ------- ------- ------- Objectives, Goals Tools: technology, fire, rest, living organisms Research, expert opinion, advice ------- ------- Holistic Whole Under Management Holistic Goal Ecosystem Functioning Objectives, Goals, Tools: technology, fire, rest, living organisms, animal impact, grazing Research, expert opinion, advice Seven Testing Questions Feedback Loop Holistic Decision Making Framework Compared to Conventional Decision Making Framework
Impacts of Holistic Management? The following examples were taken from: • The Allan Savory Center for Holistic Management’s web site (http://www.holisticmanagement.org/) • Farmers I am working with • My personal / family experiences • A study from Ohio State University (Stinner et al., 1997)
Impact of Holistic Management on Farms and Families Personal Anecdotes Sandy Matheson - We were in debt and getting deeper. There didn’t seem to be a way out. Our farm which traditionally lost a great deal of money, is now profitable. Pasture productivity has also increased. The plants are healthier and so are the cattle. We’re spending less money on supplemental feed. We’re proud of what we have accomplished.”
Personal Anecdotes (continued) • Philip and Lindsay Theron - Prior to managing holistically, we were in crisis management. Our input costs just kept rising and rising. But now we see a reversal of this process. We are very positive about our future.” • Robert Pazstor -”With Holistic Management, you find out what your kids think and feel and where they want to go and how you can incorporate that into the family structure. It really helps to get people to a different level of conversation no matter what relationship they have.”
My Personal Anecdotes • Farmers I work with - Several have told me about the great benefit they gained by openly exchanging values and beliefs and forming a shared vision about the future direction of their farm. Some family members expressed feelings and opinions that others had never heard before. • My personal experiences - Practicing Holistic Management has strengthened my marriage and allowed my wife and I to define the life we want to live together and move towards it in a meaningful way. This not only impacts our family life, but impacts our careers, community work and extended family and friends.
The Proofs in the Pudding…A Study of Holistic Management Practitioners - Stinner et al., 1997 • 25 farmers living throughout the U.S. and practicing Holistic Management were interviewed. • The scale of operations ranged from 18 to over 222,000 acres. • Time practicing Holistic Management ranged from 1.5 to 17 years. • 24 of the 25 farms were using planned intensive grazing on some of their land. • Results of the interviews: • 24 of the 25 farmers observed increased biodiversity since they began using HM. • 80% reported increased profits from their land since practicing HM. • 16% reported little no profit increases, but were optimistic about the future. • 91% reported improvements in their quality of life because of changes in their time budgets. • 52% reported decreases of up to 40-60% in labor requirements in their operations. • Almost all interviewees reported observing improvements in the ecosystem processes on their farms.
Self-Test • How do you make decisions? • What do you consider when making a major decision? When making minor decisions? • Do you consider the impact of an action on your family, your workers, the environment and your check book before moving forward with a decision? • If not, what is the cost you pay in terms of the quality of your life, the productivity of your farm, and the condition of your financial situation?