2021 Conference

Stories from the Land

2021 Online Holistic Management Conference

We always seem to host our conference on one of the coldest weekends of the years. This year, join us from the warmth of your home. Hear stories from land managers across the prairies on the challenges and opportunities that this past year has brought.

Cost & Registration: Free. Please register to receive the link to access the conference sessions.

Event Contact: For course questions and information, contact Ralph Corcoran at 306-532-4778 or email rlcorcoran@sasktel.net.

February 25th 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm CST
Holistic Management Goal Setting 
Presenter: Bluesette Campbell 
Stories from the Land: Logan and Tannis Podobni, Joe and Melissa Sletmoen, and Calvin and Marla Gavelin


Click here to watch the recording
March 4th 6:45 pm to 8:00 pm CST
Holistic Management Planned Grazing

***KIDS PROGRAM @ 6:45pm – 7:00pm featured presentation from Nicole Masters, soil health expert***

Presenter: John and Deanne Chuiko
Stories from the Land: Byron and Michelle Clark, Adrien and Cheryl Lanoie, and Brad and Marci Polvi
Register for the Mar. 4th session After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
March 11th 6:45 pm to 8:00 pm CST
Holistic Management Cover Crops
Special kids program By Dave and Val Pogson (15 minutes at start)
Presenter: Blain Hjertaas
Stories from the Land: Joe Gardiner, Keith and Emily Buckingham, and Nathon and Adrian Evans
Register for the Mar. 11th session After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
March 18th 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm CST
Holistic Management Financial Planning
Presenter Lydia Carpenter
Stories from the Land: Arlie Laroche, Stacey Wiebe and Bonnie Simonson
Register for the Mar. 18th session After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Speakers

Bluesette Campbell and her husband, Mark, run a 4000-acre ranch as a 700-cow/calf and long yearling operation along with Mark’s brother, Scott.  They are third generation Campbells with the intergenerational transition to the fourth just around the corner.  Their family ranch has been managed holistically for over 30 years with Bluesette being a part for the past 20+.  It is stated in their 3-part holistic goal that ideas and expereriences are shared with others in the community, therefore, as Don Campbell did before her, Bluesette is in the process of becoming a Certified Educator so she can teach what has brought her family much success in agriculture. She currently sits as a Director on the HM Canada Board and the annual conference committee.

Joe and Melissa Sletmoen, Livestock Rancher, Saskatchewan

I joined Joe on his small cow calf operation in May of 2016, with no farming experience except for owning a couple of horses.  With my need to question everything, it made Joe stop and think about why he does things the way he does because I would not except the phrase ‘Its always been done that way’.  June of 2016 I had lunch with my horsemanship instructors, The Halliday’s, that is when I was also introduced to Holistic Management and they told me that the best thing that we can do as a couple is to read the textbooks, listen to Allan Savory speak and attend courses.   After a few years of waffling, we decided to look for an instructor and finally attended our first 4-day Holistic Management course with Ralph Corcoran, in February 2020.  Since attending this course, we have stopped more to think about what we really want and why we are doing what we are doing.  We started a small support group in our district to discuss regenerative agriculture and our goals for the farm.  We certainly still have more to learn, lots of room for improvements but we know we can make it.  Being in the Rainy River District, being at a 4 on the brittleness scale, we are forever told that we cannot do things.  When we hear it is too wet, too dry, too cold and our base is made of clay it make us just want to try harder to show them that it is possible.  Our motto has always been, if people stop finding us weird we are not trying hard enough.   We are looking forward to growth as a family while producing grass finished beef; pasture pork and poultry for the communities surrounding us.

Logan and Tannis Podobni, Farmers Manitoba

Tanis and I were both born and raised on the family farm. Both of our parents had dairy farming operations when we were young and later switched to small beef operations. Both Tanis and I grew up, moved away from home, got jobs off of the farm, had two children (Gavin and Jessie), and were away from farming until 2006.

In 2006 as luck would have it we moved back to my parents land and built a new yard site. Due to our young family and work schedules we decided that Tanis couldn’t go back to work as a full time paramedic with shiftwork and associated on-call time, so we needed to find another career for her.Out of this need, the idea for our Agri-tourism venture, Meandher Creek Pumpkin Patch was born. Depending on the weather (just like any other farming operation!) we have from 5000 to 15,000 people visit the farm every year for some wholesome family fun.

More recently Tanis and I have also taken an interest in getting into beef farming and are stepping into this as adults who have been involved in farming, but never had a farm of our own. This was where we learned of Holistic Management. Friends of ours said we needed to take the course because it would help us plan the transition of the farm from my parents to us. What we have learned so far is much, much more. 

Calvin and Marla Gavelin, Saskatchewan

I welcome you to Gavelin Farms. We are a 4th generation family operated farm/ranch near McCord, Saskatchewan, Canada.  Our operation is a single family-run unit with the workload shared between myself Calvin Gavelin, wife Marla and our daughters Rhys (9) and Quinn (8).  The girls may be young but they add a wealth of enthusiasm and represent the future here, so we welcome their help. Marla and I took the 4-day Holistic Grazing Course in 2020. We were both suitably impressed and intrigued, so we have started implementing change on our farm base that totals 6 sections of land (3800acres). Together we seed around 1900 acres annually under zero till. Our crop rotation is a 1/3 split of cereals, pulses and oil seeds. When I started farming with my dad and uncle, we added legumes in 1997 and oil seeds in 2006. In 2019, after attending a one-day Holistic course and feeling that we hadn’t accomplished all we could achieve in soil health, we started seeding multi-species cover crops and grazing them in our operation. Wow… what a change! That first crop of 120 acres we swath-grazed our whole herd from October to mid February. After calving we put 60 more pair on again to finish using the swaths. I never imagined not having to start a chore tractor til we brought them home to calf out! The cows were in supreme condition coming off the blend of oats, barley, spring wheat, fall rye, hairy vetch, tillage radish and field peas….and I had enjoyed my first-ever winter OFF! Marla and I actually took our first hot vacation! 

Deanne and John Chuiko ranch in NW Saskatchewan with their two kids, Matt & Rylee.  They took Holistic Management in 2016 and have implemented HM practices into all aspects of their life.  They are always open to learning and finding new ways to make their lives and business better.  This is what led them down the HM Educator path.

Brad and Marci Polvi, Organic Farmers, Saskatchewan

Myself and my wife, Marci, have run an organic farm for the last 10 years. The farm consists of 11 quarters (5 rented) and 80 cows. We have land set aside for cover crops for grazing our own stock or yearlings. Our eyes are opening to the fact that soil health needs to be addressed. We are fortunate to have Understanding Ag helping us on our journey. If profit is going to continue we know changes in our farming practices must be addressed. Less tillage is a focus of mine, where organic farming is so dependent on it. Using a tool like livestock makes so much sense.

Blain Hjertaas has 15 years of practical experience using Holistic Management running own grass operation. Blain has many sites in Western Canada where is monitoring carbon sequestration. Blain is prepared to consult on an individual basis or teach small groups, or host groups at our farm and show what he does. He is prepared to speak to groups on how the environment functions and how our actions will ultimately influence the ecosystem.

Keith and Emily Buckingham, Mixed Farm, Saskatchewan

My wife Emily and I farm 16 miles south of Yorkton SK with our 3 small children. The area we farm in is a 4-5 on the brittleness scale comprised of mostly sandy loam soil. We operate a mixed farm that includes a mixed cow/calf, sheep herd/flock in a planed grazing rotation. We also custom graze cow/calf pairs as well as yearlings in the same planned grazing program. Our grain enterprise includes intercropping with cover crops in a rotation as our main fertility program ,using livestock to terminate and incorporate our covers at the same time harvesting dollars from those acres. We have seen great improvements with soil health in the way of water infiltration and organic fertility available to the next years crop along with providing high nutrition to our cattle and sheep in the late fall and early winter. We feel that great improvements could be made in the conventional grain farm model in the reduction of synthetic fertility and pesticides use if livestock and cover crops were widely adopted.

Bonnie Simonson, Rancher, Saskatchewan

My  husband Daryk and I  have been ranching south of Dinsmore, SK in the Coteau Hills for the past 25 years in an area that would be considered likely about a 6 on the brittleness scale.  We took over Daryk’s family’s grain farm and then almost doubled its size and seeded everything down to permanent tame forages.  We currently run cow calf pairs and yearlings. We have taken both the Ranching for Profit School (2006) and a Holistic Management course (2013).  Both of them really challenged our way of thinking.  Improving plant and soil health is a main focus in our decision making.  Every year is a new opportunity to learn and improve.


Lydia Carpenter
and her partner run Luna Field Farm at Ninette, MB. They have a wealth of experience in direct marketing and building a customer base. They run cattle, do pasture pigs and poultry. 

Stacey Wiebe, Livestock Producer, Saskatchewan

I farm with my partner, Dale Maier, near Sturgis SK.  We have two children, Amelia, 7 and Dakota, 5.  We have been organic farmers since 2018 and currently raise cattle and goats. We use Adaptive Multi Paddock Grazing to feed everyone and we produce our own hay for the winter. This year we plan on adding cash crops to the farm and learning how to integrate livestock and cover crops into our cash crop rotations.  We have taken a number of Holistic Management courses and enjoy using the knowledge on our farm.

In our spare time (haha) we enjoy doing things as a family, such as swimming at the many lakes nearby, bbq’s and campfires, and in the winter, taking the kids for a rip on the snowmobile.

Arlie LaRoche, Livestock Producer, Saskatchewan

I grew up on a cattle/grain farm near Yorkton, SK.  After travelling and attending college I began working in the environmental consulting field.  Me and my husband, Brett LaRoche purchased our own farm near Saskatoon in 2007 where we started a family.  We began growing meat and produce for our own consumption which lead to growing some meat for others.  A workshop with Joel Salatin in 2013 gave me the push we needed to turn the part-time farm into the business it is today.  Farm One Forty produces pasture raised chicken and pork, grass fed beef and lamb, honey, vegetables and grain.  Agrotourism is becoming a bigger part of the business as well with tours and on-farm dinners.  One of the goals of the business is to help reconnect people with their food and bridge the gap between urbanites and farmers.  Holistic management has been key as our farm is located in a sandy soil zone that commonly experiences drought.  In 2019 we partnered with two others to create Odla Restaurant & Market on Broadway in Saskatoon.  The restaurant uses ingredients from Farm One Forty as well as other local farms to create a menu that is simple and delicious and highlights the bounty of our province.”