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Ideas, Innovation and Inspiration from the 2016 Holistic Management International Gathering
by Dana Penrice, HM Canada Coordinator

At the generous invitation of Sally Calhoon, owner of the Paicines Ranch, I was invited to participate in the Holistic Management International conference in California a few weeks ago along with Sara Dent, BC Coordinator of Young Agrarians. Representing both Young Agrarians and Holistic Management Canada, the experience provided an opportunity to “cross-pollinate” with international Holistic Management networks, sharing ideas, learning new skills and supporting the regenerative agriculture movement.

As an outsider, it was fascinating to step into the Paicines Ranch community and get a sense for the agrarian, regenerative ideals they are living by and cultivating in their community. Using Holistic Management, they have created a set of principles that guides the work that they do. Part ranch, part education centre, part retreat, the ranch serves a number of different roles in the regenerative agriculture movement. From testing new ideas like the ranch manager’s, Kelly Mulvilles’, innovative vineyard designed for year-round grazing, to their vibrant community of apprentices working at the ranch and for Morris Grass Fed Beef, to hosting the 2016 Holistic Management International Gathering that we participated in, Paicines Ranch is an ecosystem in and of itself, mimicking nature in building resilience and fertile ground from which amazing things can grow.


Gross Profit Analysis Exercise
by Blain Hjertaas, HM Certified Educator

The fall run of calves is just beginning. As we ponder what and when to sell in this lower market, the importance of financial planning becomes paramount. We picked numbers last winter when we did our plans that were hopefully conservative. I hope your plan will still allow for some profit even with these prices.

The following exercise helps me think things through when we get into the tougher spots. It is called Gross Profit Analysis. You calculate the revenue for one unit and then subtract the variable costs to produce each unit. It gets difficult at times to decide if it is a variable cost so you ask yourself will this cost change if I add one more unit of production. The gross profit will be your measuring device to help you decide if this enterprise will be profitable.

Scenario 1
You sell your calves at these prices. You will still be profitable. Excellent work

Scenario 2
If you are not pleased with your end result you need to go to re-plan mode. That means starting over with the 8 step financial plan.

  1. Beginning net worth (likely won’t have changed much)
  2. Plan Income (likely lower)
  3. Set profit (do you want to lower this)
  4. Define weak link (likely the same as original plan)
  5. Plan & sort expenses (will be limited but may make some savings)
  6. Do cash flow
  7. Ending net worth

After this exercise if the plan doesn’t meet your goal, we need to look at number 2 Plan Income. What can we do to increase the value of the calves we have to sell? Two ideas that come to mind are background them and then run them on grass the next summer and sell them as long yearlings. Several questions need to asked before we consider either of these options. Do you have the skills to background animals? Do you have grass for that many additional animals the next summer? Can your cash flow be adjusted to take account for a much later sale of these animals? Do you have time to do this extra work? If you think the answer is yes let’s look at the numbers. 



Holistic Management Info Session - Brownfield, Alberta

Join us to learn more about upcoming courses in the Halkirk and Brownfield Area
November 15 7:00 pm - Brownfield Recreation Centre
Details and RSVP here

Holistic Management Info Session - Ferintosh, Alberta
Join us to learn more about upcoming courses in the Halkirk and Brownfield Area
November 27 2:00 pm - Little Beaver High U Centre
Details and RSVP here

East Peace Beef Cattle Day - High Prairie, Alberta
Learn more about Holistic Management from Certified Educator Kelly Sidoryk
November 30 - Triangle Room 
Details and Registration here

Halkirk, Alberta
Course Dates: New dates to be set. Join our info session!
Instructors: Kelly Sydorik

Brownfield, Alberta
Course Dates: TBD
Instructors: Kelly Sydorik

Ferintosh, Alberta
Course Dates: January 14, 15 | January 28 & 29 | February 11 & 12
Instructors: Kelly Sydorik and Brian Luce
Supporters: Grass Roots Family Farm

Rycroft, Alberta
Course Dates: January 26,27, 28 | February 2, 3, 4
Instructors: Kelly Sydorik
Supporters: Peace County Beef & Forage Association

Smoky Lake, Alberta
Course Dates: February 25, 26 | March 4, 5 | March 11, 12
Instructors: Kelly Sydorik
Supporters: Lakeland Agricultural Research Association

Foam Lake, Saskatchewan
Course Dates: TBD
Instructors: Ralph Corcoran

Imperial, Saskatchewan
Course Dates: January 9, 10, 11 | 20, , 22
Instructors: Ralph Corcoran

Arcola, Saskatchewan
Course Dates: January 10,11,12 & 24,25,26
Instructor: Blain Hjertaas

Virden, Manitoba
Course Dates: January 3,4,5 | 17,18,19
Instructors: Ralph Corcoran & Blain Hjertaas

For more information on any of these courses, contact Dana Penrice at 780-914-6282 or for details and information on how to register.



Watch your email for information on registering for the 2017 Western Canadian Holistic Management Conference being held in conjunction with the Organic Alberta conference in Lacombe, AB. 


We are excited to be bringing Courtney White, author of Grass Soil Hope: A Journey Through Carbon Country and 2% Solutions for the Planet and former Executive Director of the Quivira Coalition. 


We can't make this conference happen without the generous support or our sponsors. A big thank you to Red Tail Farms for donating beef for the banquet and to Union Forage who has come on as a Bronze sponsor. 

Contact us for more information about sponsorship opportunities or if you would like to donate to our banquet meal! 

Find more about Holistic Management activities in Canada at
To learn about international activities visit

 Holistic Management Canada

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