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On Championing Holistic Management: HMI's Mission of Advancing Regenerative Agriculture

Last updated Monday, April 22, 2024 13:10 ET

HMI remains committed to leading the movement toward Holistic Management, extending its impact globally, as exemplified by the success story of rancher Alejandro Carrillo.

Albuquerque, New Mexico, 04/22/2024 / SubmitMyPR /

The approaches toward sustainable agriculture have advanced through the years. Holistic Management, in particular, has become more recognized as a regenerative agricultural practice that seeks to reconcile the needs of the land, the community, and the farmer. It is an all-encompassing solution that considers ecological, economic, and social factors when addressing the challenges faced by modern agriculture.

This practice recognizes that soil, biodiversity, and communities are all interconnected and mutually dependent. Holistic Management, therefore, aims to regenerate degraded landscapes, increase productivity, and mitigate the impact of climate change through land management strategies such as adaptive grazing, cover cropping, and water conservation. One of the leading organizations championing the adoption of this approach is Holistic Management International (HMI).

HMI has facilitated the sharing of knowledge and best practices to enable communities to embrace regenerative agriculture since 1984. The nonprofit organization provides individuals, businesses, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations with the tools and resources they need to discover and optimize the potential of their landscapes, water resources, and communities.

It has through its programs and curriculum that Holistic Management has been able to catalyze positive change. Through supporting and training land managers the nonprofit organization helps with enhancing food quality, strengthening local economies, preserving wildlife habitats, and more. Alejandro Carrillo, one of HMI's board members, attests to the long-lasting impact of the organization's initiatives.

Alejandro is a fourth-generation rancher who went on a mission to make his family's ranch, Las Damas, thrive despite the unforgiving conditions of Chihuahua, Mexico. He knew the land like the back of his hand, but the ongoing drought prompted him to seek new ways of revitalizing the landscape. He then attended Holistic Management classes.

Alejandro, learning from Holistic Management Educators Elco Blanco Madrid and Jesus Almeida in 2005, realized that the holistic approach presented mirrored his aspirations. In other words, the program enabled the rancher to learn how to work with nature, not against it.

He also realized that every aspect of his ranch, from the soil to the cattle, was interconnected. This discovery urged him to adopt practices like adaptive grazing and creating the necessary infrastructure to support this work. "I started to see remarkable changes after applying everything that class taught me. Las Damas flourished in ways I never imagined possible," Alejandro remarked.

When he faced crises like drought, Alejandro used Holistic Management planning to transition from consistent and costly supplementation of his animals to running a low-cost and profitable operation. He essentially leveraged more sustainable practices that emphasized better grazing to improve water infiltration from the limited rainfall and low-stress livestock handling. Doing these allowed him to improve his herd's health and, in turn, the ranch's profitability.

In addition, Holistic Management taught the rancher the importance of diversity. Alejandro stopped relying on one type of grass and encouraged the growth of multiple species. This shift provided better nutrition for his cattle and attracted a variety of wildlife. He fine-tuned his approach through trial and error, learning to read the land and adapt his methods accordingly.

Contributing to turning HMI's vision of helping family farmers, ranchers, and pastoralists become more prosperous into reality, Alejandro shared his knowledge and experiences with fellow ranchers in Chihuahua. He inspired others to embrace Holistic Management and formed a network of like-minded individuals committed to sustainable land stewardship with experts like Bob Kinford.

It is also worth highlighting that Alejandro partnered with organizations like the American Bird Conservancy and Pronatura. This move illustrates his deep understanding of the symbiotic relationship between land management and wildlife conservation.

The Las Damas Ranch, with its healthier soil, more abundant grass, and flourishing wildlife, continues to thrive today, thanks to Holistic Management and Alejandro's vision and hard work. His success story is a reminder that even in the toughest of environments, regenerative agriculture serves as a holistic solution.

Ultimately, Alejandro Carrillo, exemplifying HMI's commitment to promoting sustainable agriculture, contributes to advancing Holistic Management globally. Besides revitalizing ranching practices in the Chihuahuan desert, he has inspired a new generation of land stewards to embrace holistic approaches.

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