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Whole Farm Planning 101. Kristianna Gehant Karl J. Schmidt. Whole Farm Planning. What is it? Why do we want to do it ?. Some Definitions. What is ‘profitability’? Exercise What is ‘sustainability’? Exercise. USDA and Sustainable Farming.

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whole farm planning 101

Whole Farm Planning 101

Kristianna Gehant

Karl J. Schmidt

whole farm planning
Whole Farm Planning
  • What is it?
  • Why do we want to do it?
some definitions
Some Definitions
  • What is ‘profitability’?
    • Exercise
  • What is ‘sustainability’?
    • Exercise
usda and sustainable farming
USDA and Sustainable Farming

From the UDSA’s Alternative Farming Systems Information Center:

  • “Some terms defy definition.”
  • “Guidelines about what specific practices meet long-term environmental, economic and social goals and constitute sustainable agriculture is still under debate.”


1990 farm bill defines sustainable agriculture
1990 Farm Bill Defines ‘Sustainable Agriculture’
  • Under that law, “the term sustainable agriculture means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term:
    • satisfy human food and fiber needs
    • enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends
    • make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls
    • sustain the economic viability of farm operations
    • enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”


approaches to whole farm planning
Approaches to Whole Farm Planning
  • One approach to Whole Farm Planning is Holistic Management®


what is holistic management
What is Holistic Management?
  • Developed by Allan Savory, who spent many years working in Africa
    • He saw the environmental degredation of conventional grazing and farming
  • Based now in Albuquerque, NM, HM focuses on the ‘triple bottom line’—sustainable economic, environmental, and social benefits
hm defined
HM Defined
  • “an approach to managing natural resources that builds biodiversity, improves production, and generates financial strength; it improves quality of life while enhancing the environment that sustains us.”
    • Holistic Management International
fundamentals of holistic management
Fundamentals of Holistic Management
  • Improving soil health and biodiversity of rangelands and pastures.
  • Increasing grazing and wildlife capacity.
  • Increasing annual profits and enhancing livelihoods.
  • Optimally using rainfall and conserving water.
  • Growing healthier crops and achieving higher yields.
  • Reversing desertification in brittle environments.
  • Breaking the cycle of food and water insecurity.
  • Enhancing family relationships.
  • Resisting and positively affecting global climate change.
steps for managing a farm holistically
Steps for Managing a Farm Holistically
  • Define the ‘whole’
  • Identify the farm’s relationship to and dependence on the ecosystem
  • Paint a portrait of where you want to be
    • The Whole Farm Goal
  • Select the tools or actions to achieve the goal
  • Plan—Monitor—Adjust—Replan
    • A feedback loop
farm portrait

Farm Portrait

Prairie CoteauFarm

Near Astoria, SD