By Rhonda McCurry, No-till on the Plains Writer

Managing the complexity of a farm operation is a necessary tool for success, which is why the premier soil health organization is offering a full track on the subject at its upcoming Winter Conference.

Holistic Management is one of the focus points of the 2018 Winter Conference, hosted by No-till on the Plains and set for Jan. 30-31, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency in Wichita, Kan. It is among other key topics on the agenda, which caters to growers who crave more knowledge on soil health.

The 2-day conference will offer more than 20 speakers and tracks that range from holistic management to crop rotation and weed control.

No-till on the Plains Winter Conference will host the world’s most sought after researcher and expert on holistic management, Allan Savory.

Savory will present as a keynote speaker on holistic management as a tool for managing the complexity of an agriculture operation. His personal experiences, insights and work with families, communities and land in crisis around the globe will introduce attendees to some of the most powerful tools of holistic management, including:

  • Ensuring our conversations are focused on the right topics
  • Moving topics forward productively, rather than looping endlessly on the same old problems
  • Ensuring everyone has a voice in an appropriate way
  • Making sure growers are focused on the right problems in the first place, and,
  • Designing personnel positions and solutions that can succeed, especially through an operational transition.

In addition to Savory, Byron Shelton is set to speak on the basics of holistic management. Shelton will discuss a toolbox of insights and strategies for holistic managers who seek to live well among biological and human systems. His session will focus on:

  • Whole-farm business and financial planning
  • Planned grazing and proper livestock management, which includes making crop decisions and integrating livestock with crops
  • Reading the land for the earliest signs of results from our management decisions, and,
  • Long-term land planning to help make our biggest infrastructure decisions.

On-Farm Application

Yet another Winter Conference speaker will give attendees a full education on complex managing, straight from the farm field.

John Stigge, who manages a family farm located in Washington County, Kan., will speak about his hands-on work of more than 30 years of never-till, 22 years of continuous cover crop usage and 11 years of regenerative farming.

Stigge attended holistic management courses that helped them learn to analyze all aspects of their farming operation. His findings helped him re-evaluate his farm practices to determine they were not sustainable in the long term. At the Winter Conference, Stigge will present his testimonials on:

  • Doubled or in some cases tripled soil organic matter on all his farms
  • Eliminated the need of fungicide and insecticide applications on crops
  • Increased rainfall infiltration from 0.6 inch to more than 4 inches
  • Enhanced soil biological activity
  • Reduced fertilizer requirements, and,
  • Achieved and maintained higher corn weight.

These speakers will hone in on holistic management and give attendees a chance to ask detailed questions on site and in person. This educational track is one of several that students, growers, families and researchers do not want to miss. Online registration is available now at