I recently attended a series of workshops on Holistic Grazing Management that was partly funded through Country Noosa and undertaken by Jason Virtue of Landlife Education. Before the workshops I was working with my partner on our small scale mixed farming enterprise to build a sustainable business that could give me a steady income. My partner is employed off the farm at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Our goal was to develop a working farm on our 75 acres on the Sunshine Coast hinterland. I was developing sections of the farm as single entities and there was no cohesion to the process. I also found I was spreading my time too thin across the multiple parts of the farm, without any free time to re-energise my mind and body.
The workshop opportunity came at a time when I was struggling to focus my energies on the farming business. The first series of workshops touched on the underlying principles of a living ecosystem and how we as part of this system can work with our surrounding environment to meet all of our life goals. One very important part of the holistic management approach to farming is the setting of an overall goal that encompasses all facets of life in context with our business and work place. This process helped me take a step back from my planning process to really assess what it was we (as a partnership) wanted to get out of life and how we organise our farm to sit within the overall picture. This was a very important process for me as it allowed me to consider all aspects of my goals alongside my partners aspirations. Once this process has been completed-the farming part of the equation easily falls into place. The holistic grazing management component of our mixed farm is now being developed for our cattle and small flock of meat sheep. This will give us confidence in knowing how much stock to hold over the season and how to work practically with our variable rainfall. In the past we were very much reactive in this part of the farming business.
I am also using the decision making process learned through the workshops to help me develop and expand the market garden vegetable component of the farm.
We are both academically trained people and have a good understanding of catchment scale processes and soil health but the decision making component of the holistic management approach has taught us how to integrate our environment with our animals and our farming enterprise with life goals that are now a key component of our sustainable farm.
I am very happy to talk in person to future clients of Jason Virtue and Landlife Education.