In this episode, Christine Martin shared her journey from homesteading to operating the Regen Ranch in East Texas. She discusses how her health issues led her to clean up her diet and start producing her own food. Christine also talks about holistic management, which helped her shift from homesteading to running a profitable ranch. She shares her experience with managing livestock, parasite loads, and proper infrastructure, as well as using turkeys to mitigate parasite load in sheep. In addition, Christine discusses direct-to-consumer marketing strategies for selling sheep and turkey products, focusing on farmers’ markets and online shipping. She also touched on the concept of planned grazing, which allows for better recovery and management of the land.
- Raising Grass-Fed Cattle by Julius Ruechel (Amazon) (Bookshop.org)
Links from the Episode:
- Instagram: @regenranchconsulting
- Facebook: The Regen Ranch
- Website: https://www.theregenranchconsulting.com/
These transcriptions are automatically generated. Please excuse any errors in the text.
Christine, we are so excited to have you on the grazing grass podcast today. Thank you. I’m excited to be here. Wonderful. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your operation? Sure. So my name is Christine Martin. I own and operate the Regen Ranch. And I’m in East Texas between Houston and Dallas. I raise beef, sheep, and turkeys, that I direct sell to consumers. And I’ve been doing this for profit since two thousand and seventeen.
Before that, I I was home studying is what I call my home studying chapter. Oh, yes. And and I do this because what started me on this journey was I got sick and when I realized what was causing my symptoms I realized that the food that I was eating was making me sick. And as soon as I cleaned up my diet, a lot of my symptoms went way. And when this started happening back almost twenty years ago, clean food wasn’t as prevalent as it is now. And so in Texas, you know, driving half an hour is just around the corner, but I was driving two to three hours to find food that I could eat given given my sensitivities. And at that time, I had five acres that I was home you know, playing with, basically home stating. And so I decided to get more serious about raising my own food, and that has morphed into ninety five traceable acres and then producing the the meat that I’ve just stated. Very nice. Sounds like you had A VERY INTERESTING JOURNEY TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW? IT HAS. IT’S BEEN IS BEEN IS been challenging, but it’s been very exciting. I I am a a learner. I like to learn. And so when I went to the doctor, the first I started feeling these symptoms and realizing I had a problem. I went to a conventional doctor and he he basically gave me medication to treat the symptoms. And I told him, I I asked him, I said, well, this fixed me, and he’s like, no, this will just help you feel better. And that just didn’t sit well with me. And so in doing research in doing research, you know, I realized that when I I wanted to heal myself. I didn’t want to treat symptoms. And so finding the root cause was what led me to realize that the food that I was eating and a little bit of his back background.
I was born and raised in Latin America, and and this was at a time before the big gross each store chains came around. So we bought most of our food from the local farmers market every week, and we made everything from scratch when I first came to the States to go to college, I found out about McDonald’s and Kraft Mac Ernie and and — Yeah. — you know, and the snickers bar and the square, you know, the beverage square. And so So I during college, I ate a lot of that, and then, you know, right after college, I continued. And then I then the symptoms started showing up. So so I kind of figured very quickly that the eating from scratch was gonna be better for me. Oh, yes.
So and that’s when you started on your homesteading path. Or period? Yes. That yeah. That’s what started on my homesteading path path path. So we put in a garden, we’ve brought in chickens, egg laying chickens and meat chickens. We brought in a dairy a cow. We milked the cow. We made cheese.
At that time, my the land that I had my five acres had really high salinity. And so I was trying to improve of the pastures for the dairy cow and realized that the salinity was an issue, and that’s what started me on that regenerative path about how to heal this that serenity. I was introduced to Betsy Ross who is now deceased, she she formulated compost teas based on your soil tests and it it was very effective, but it was very expensive. So I did a few applications but could not afford to do the rest. And and then in two thousand fifteen and six Dean, I was introduced to holistic management, actually through an ad on Facebook, and — Oh, yeah. — it was this Yeah. It was a it was a six week I’m sorry. It was a six month course, but we met for one week and a month and went through all the different modules that that are part of the framework, the holistic management framework.
And even before I had graduated from that class, it was it it changed my mindset so drastically that I knew that I wanted to practice holistic management, and I also knew that I wanted to help others understand how to look at things holistic and so I actually just certified to be a professional educator with holistic management international And so now I’m teaching workshops and doing consulting work, helping people think holistically, you know, and holistically advocate its regenerative bag practices too. So it it has been a fun journey. Well, very good. So when you started that in twenty fifteen, I think you said twenty sixteen? Yes, sir. So did that that open your eyes or I hate to say open your eyes, but that really drew you to being more than homesteading and getting your getting a ranch started? That that’s a really good question.
I learned a lot and I was sharing just this morning that there was so much information that it took me a while to to put it all in my head and and implement all the practices And so I I I asked for a lot of support from from my teachers and and but what really what really resonated with me with was with holistic management specifically the framework is that it’s applicable to anything. It doesn’t it doesn’t also it doesn’t only apply to land management. I’ve used the framework in the decision testing on personal issues, on personal decisions. But because I understood the fundamental frameworks, it gave me the confidence to say, you know what? I I can do this, you know. I can plan I can plan my production I can plan my grazing. I can plan my profit. And so I felt that I had enough tools and knowledge that I could I could do this seriously.
It’s that’s when I shifted to from homesteading to for profit. And when you decide on for profit, were you able to go out and buy more acres at that point, or did you happen to lease land? So at that at that that time frame also coincided with a a re marriage, and he happened to have family land. So we I was went from five acres to twenty three acres, and then three years ago went to a hundred acres. So So, thankfully, that’s all, you know, I’ve been very blessed to be able to have access to land. Oh, yes.
And when you when you had access to those twenty three acres, how did you get started? What did you do. What was the first thing going through your mind? That’s a really good question. So it coincided with my graduation from the the holistic management course. And so I knowing that we were gonna move on to the twenty three acres. During that six months of the course, I had used this new land as my is is is my project. And so with the course, we developed the holistic goal. We developed a land plan. We developed a grazing plan. We developed a marketing plan. So I felt really comfortable that as soon as I graduated from the class, I could get this going.
And one of the biggest piece of advice that I received, and I also share it with the people that I work with is When you move on to land, if you don’t currently have infrastructure or if there is infrastructure in place. Don’t do anything with any of the infrastructure until you’ve had the the the livestock on the property. And and learn how how to work it, how to move the animals, what works for you, how you know, what what are the stressors and what how you’re gonna solve for those stressors factors? And an example. Right? If you don’t have water and and you don’t then you need to sell for the water. But then fencing, you can do temporary fencing fencing with electrical fence or you can use existing fencing and then do cross fencing with the the the poly wire. But make sure you understand the lay of the land, the topography, how how the water runs off or not or, you know, box down the land before you put any infrastructure and you manage the the livestock so that you understand how best to to plan that infrastructure because infrastructure usually requires capital and you want to make sure that that capital is is well put in place rather than having to tear down and redo. Nobody wants to do that. Right.
A little story on that redoing. I went to a when I went to college, my my bachelor’s is in the animal science. Of course, I went to Oklahoma State University, Go Pokes. And we had a fill trip to a rather large dairy in the area. And at the time, I’d grown up on a dairy and then after I got my degree, I came home and dared with my parents for a number of years. But on this field trip, it was a long driveway into their facilities. And it was a big dairy. I don’t know if it was a thousand cows. It probably was at least at thousand cows, but they had barns and their dairy barn would drove across this pond dam, and then there was just all this concrete in the pond that they they said that’s all their mistakes. They had tore out all that concrete and it was just pile there and I was thinking, man, I could do so much with just that. I know. I know. I know. Yep. But So I think go ahead. I just think that’s excellent advice there. To, on your infrastructure, use what’s in place, and get started, go through a growing season, go through a full year, and see what’s happening there, before you jump in and start spending more money. Just make it work and see see how the land work with you, how your management works with it, great advice there. Yeah. Yeah. It it’s not always fun.
So my daughter was with me when we we got the the one hundred acres and we had to drill a new well because the the existing well was a fifty foot handbag well that that dogs wouldn’t drink the water. So Oh, no. We we waited, you know, we had the new well drilled and then had that installed, but and I knew I was gonna install a a a water system, you know, a poly tube compression quick connect. But until we can get that done, my daughter ended up having to move the offs, you know, all around the property because we were doing the plant grazing. And at one point, she moved fifteen, a hundred foot hoses to get water, you know, once we move the cattle and she was not a happy camper. Like, it’s heavy, very fast? It it would. It would. Yes. But but that’s some of those things you have to go through and figure it out. Yeah. I feel So what were you after? It does. You’re right. I think my kids get tired of me saying that. Feel sick. Yeah. I know.
Now when you went to the twenty acres and onto the hundred. Did you did you immediately get beef cattle or sheep? What were your first livestock you got there. Did the dairy cow get to move over with you? No.
So the dairy cow, I ended up selling the dairy cow because we it it was my kids and I at that time, and we just couldn’t consume all the milk. And we and and I was working full time, and we sold a little bit, but at that time. I didn’t have the marketing skills I have now. And so she really wasn’t being put to good use and the and we had friends that were homeschooling and they had a lot of children. So she was overwhelmed and they she did much better for them than they than than we were taking. And so — Yeah. — very the Go ahead. Based upon my my history, my upbringing, I have a really soft spot for dairy cattle. So Yeah. Yeah. Go ahead. And I I love them. Yeah. No. And I love the dairy cat too. But So the dairy carb didn’t come with us, but at because I had gotten the training from holistic management, the first thing I did was run a gross profit analysis to figure out what was my better investment and what would give me the most production and thereby more the most revenue because I knew I was gonna aside from my own consumption, I was gonna sell direct to consumer and and I decided that the numbers worked better on sheep and and because sheep, you know, have a shorter gestation and and it’s a shorter time period to get them to processing age and they give you twins and triplets so the the the numbers are better on the sheet.
Additionally, I had never except for the the single dairy cow, I had never really worked with cattle. And — Oh. — I had gone to I had never gone to I had gone to friends, cattle ranches, and I had seen all the infrastructure they in place. And I you know, these were these were people that were not addressing the stress free free environment And I saw these big animals jumping, these big infrastructure fences, and and so, honestly, they scared me. And and — Oh, yes. — and I and I knew that I could you know, I was much bigger than the sheep, and I could handle the sheep. So so I started with I started with the sheep. And, thankfully, one of my teachers during the holistic management, she she was a sheep she was a shepherdess. So she was available to for me to ask all of those, you know, sheep one zero one questions. So she walked me through that And and I did well, except I because I’m in in East Texas, we you’ve got a lot of moisture and and moisture and small ruminants really impact the pericite load.
And so I struggled managing the parasite load, and I really didn’t wanna use chemicals. And so I tried a mixture sure of the the chemical dewormers with natural dewormers and trying to balance all of that and also culling for genetics. Right? Some some some of those sheep that some of the youth just didn’t do well on my land. And so I I told them. But trying to think holistically and trying to think naturally, it occurred to me that you know, chickens do a lot of pecking and scratching, and they can come in after the fact and and eat those parasites in the manure.
But at that time, I was already selling at the farmers market, and we already had a chicken vendor And so I there was nobody doing raising turkeys year round. So I decided to start raising turkeys And so I brought in turkeys. I learned very quickly that a lot of hatcheries only sell turkeys for thanks giving so you can find the turkeys in time for Thanksgiving, but a lot of hatcheries do not sell them year round, which is what was my intention. I did finally find what find one and and brought in the turkeys and it wasn’t until I moved on to the a hundred acres that I brought in cattle. And when I did bring in cattle, I brought in small Frank because I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable working them, you know, moving them and of that. Yes. I I fully understand that.
I We we just don’t on my my dad, myself, our journey, My dad and mom’s been hurt too much and actually wanted to catalyst for us really changing our breeding program was dead almost getting hurt by some cattle that was too nervous. So we we really did a one eighty there and really changed up our our cattle on the main farm, and it’s really It’s it’s made a tremendous difference. But, yeah, our facilities to handle our cows now does not have to be as great as they years ago, we were like, we need taller fences, but now we’re like, yeah, they’re they’re fine. We’re we don’t have to worry about that. And that point was actually hampered home. We had a neighbor, and they had a couple calves get out. And I’m trying to think why they got out. But anyway, they were across the road from us, and they brought them into our chute and stuff. And we have a scale and we’ve never had any problem with anything getting out.
We thought it was more than enough and there there it was a year length steer. And he got out. And I’m Really? We’re like, okay. We’re glad we don’t have him. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
You know, and and Greg Judi will say that’s the animal that first goes to the processor. Right? Oh, yes. Yes. We work cattle and my mom is there. A cow acts wrong. She’ll be the first one on the trailer. Yeah. Ooma is not putting up with it. Yep. Yep. I I I’m the same way. I I think it’s a great thing. It just took we’re a little bit slower learning here in Oklahoma. So it took me a little bit longer. I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that.
So with your sheep, what kind of sheep did you go with? And were you and did the turkeys? Well, first, let’s just go with what kind of sheep did you start with? So I because I knew I was gonna be producing meat to sell, I wanted a a breed that will give give me the most meat. And so I ended up deciding on the doorpers. And I I picked the I picked the white brick the white headed dormers just because I like white, and I didn’t like the black and white. Right?
When I when I talked to be I talked to people about operations and their choices. I, you know, I always tell them every operation is a direct reflection of the people who own them. Right? So the breed, the colors, the aesthetics, all of that goes in to into your decisions. I decided I liked the white ones better. And and I completely agree.
I know where you’re coming from there. You know, a lot of people say, well, the color doesn’t matter. Well, aesthetically it does. I want my cow herd to be all a nice dark red. That’s what I like. So — Yeah. — I know in the in it doesn’t matter, but for me and the value I get from it before we start talking finances, I want the dark red. Yeah. Yeah. Well, so and and and I think you could understand this.
I still have I want somebody to explain to me why black cattle in Texas are so prominent. What I don’t understand why anybody would have a black animal in Texas with the heat, you know, when we get to triple digit and however much humidity Anyway. Yeah. That’s a tanger. I don’t have a answer for. I I’m shocked whenever I go to the Salbourne. It’s just and growing up on a dairy, I have no problems with spotted cows. So, you know, but you can’t have spotted beef cattle. Or you’re really taking a hit. So it’s it’s just interesting. Yeah.
So with your doorpers, did the turkeys help you get that parasite load under control? Actually, they did. So a mixture of culling for culling for culling for the the high parasite loads. Right? If I had to if I had to treat them more than five times for parasites, they they went they they were killed. And now I’m even stricter. If I have to treat them for twice, then then they’re gone. Okay. But but the turkeys did really did mitigate the the move, the the fireside load. The the issue that I had was my my sheep flock was much bigger than my turkey flock, I guess Oh, yeah. Is it a turkey turkey fluff. And so moving moving the turkeys after the sheep was was very time it required a lot of time to move them. So So it ended up they lagged a little bit, but it it was still very effective in managing for the per site. Very good.
When you were moving your sheep, Did you use electric poly wire, poly braid, or did you use netting, or how did you move your sheep and keep them confined? I I did use the electric on netting friends, and I know everybody has a love hate relationship with that netting friends. Yes. But but I call it my ranch fit program. Right? It’s really good for your triceps and biceps to hold the the — You know, most and everything else.
And and, yes, so I’ve been using I’ve been using the netting fence since two thousand sixteen, and I still have some from, you know, that are that old, that are still in pretty decent — Oh, yeah. — conditions. So, you know, it it’s it’s not it’s not fun. I’m on BlackLine clay, and when it gets really dry here, put that fencing can get very difficult. Last summer, when we had a dry spell, I was actually using a hand drill to to pre drill drill the hose the post. Oh, yes. The post. And and I I I ended up having to order a whole bunch of posts to replace because those are the two prongs just got destroyed. Oh, yes.
So do you use any livestock guardian dogs? Or livestock guardian animals with your sheep? Yes. I do. I’ve been using the aquash breed ever since two thousand fifteen, sixteen. I and I picked the AquaRefuge because on my on the original twenty three acres, we had a lot of brush and and and and and and the green briar, which is a vine that has thorns that that grows up through the brush. And so I wanted short hair animals and the act gosh or shorter hair. I also because I do ranch tours, because I I do homeschooling tours on the ranch. I wanted the dogs to be people friendly and I found the AKBUSH to be quite people friendly as well as really good livestock protectors. I have one ark box with my sheep and and I plan on getting more outbound. So I really like him. Yeah. Yeah. I like them. They they they’re very people friendly, but they’re very protective.
So you worked on your plans. You had all these plans ready and you decide go with sheep. And then you added turkeys. How were you marketing them and getting did you find there was a good market year round for Turkey’s sheep in East Texas? Yes.
So I knew right off the bat that I was gonna do direct consumer because I I moved it was about an hour and a half between the the five acres I was homesteading to the twenty three acres that I moved to. So I did not have enough local friends and and family that I could use. So I decided that the best way to find customers was to be a vendor at a farmer’s market. And and so right off the bat, I started selling it a farmer’s market. I was fortunate enough that I had a farmer’s market reasonably close to me at a in a college town that had a lot of international people coming in. And, honestly, to this day, I cannot keep lamb meat in inventory. You know, despite growing the the flock, I can sell the lamb meat and so I call it seasonal because I just can’t keep it in inventory. Oh, yes. Well, that’s a good problem to have. It is it is a good problem to have.
Is your main distribution through the farmer’s markets still yet? So in, let’s see, two years ago, two years ago yes. Two years ago, I decided that I would start shipping. And this was right after COVID, you know, COVID really, really brought a lot of people out to the farmers market because we redeemed necessary. And so when all the grocery stores were having problems keeping the shelves filled, we had a more customers come to the farmer’s market. And so the demand for my product increased.
But as a as a single operator, the time to go to the farmers market, the time to be at the farmers market, the time to come back from the farmers market takes a big chunk of the day out And so I added shipping to help relieve some of that demand. That that time we you know, that it it was more time management because I needed to be efficient with my time. So are you shipping very much of the meat now? That’s a good question. I wish I was shipping more. But I’m fine. I’m fine. So I I have a lot of customers that once they find me, they they come back. But, you know, a a lot of the if I find if I have a new customer that comes online, they’ve either found me through social media or they found me through a Google search. And if I don’t have a product and inventory, they they will go to the next person on the Google list or the next person on Instagram social media.
So managing that inventory, that online inventory with what I sell at the Farmers Market. Right? And so I can I can do an easier job with converting a sale? Like, if I have somebody come to the farmer’s market and they’re looking for a rack of lamb, but I’m out of rack of lamb. I can I can almost always say, well, you know, why don’t you try the the loin chops? Right? They’re, you know, they’re just as good and you can prepare them this way and they’re fabulous I can’t do that online. So so because demand is so high and managing that inventory, it can be difficult. But I’m getting there. I’m getting there.
It’s it’s all a journey, but you made a excellent point there with those online customers. If you don’t have a relationship with them — Mhmm. — and you don’t if you happen to be out of what they’re looking for, they’re just gonna go somewhere else. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Exactly. And so a lot a lot of my customers online, they they I actually first meet them in person. And then when they find out they can order and ship, they’re like, oh, that’s easier. Yes. You know? And I I have an email you know, I have an email program. So I I email my customers all the time and try and keep that engagement, that relationship going online. But it’s the new customers that haven’t met me that that I I end up losing. So Oh, yes. And I I saw on your website to encourage people to sign up when they visit. You have a a few recipes that you give them. When they sign up. Yep. Yep. I have recipes.
I recipes are a very good way to to to help people with their purchase because it’s so many times I they’re like, well, I’ve never cooked, you know, whatever it is. And it’s like, well, here’s the recipe. It it it you know, we use it all the time at home. So recipes are a great way to move product. And do you with your ongoing newsletter, are there recipes included in it? Yes. There’s recipes in the and they actually usually link to the recipe in the on on the website. Usually, I try and time up new recipes with the emails. The emails always include, you know, some snapshot, some video of of me on the ranch doing something crazy, you know, or some or the animals doing something crazy or the babies. So I try I try and share on the email what I also share on so social media. Very good.
And jumping back just a little bit to the Turkey’s. You can see I kinda go on tangents once in a while. But jumping back to the Turkey’s, we we talked about this sheep in the marketing of it, did you find a year round market for turkeys? Or how are you marketing your turkeys? Yes. So I decided I decided that I would not offer Holter case year round, I would only do it for Thanksgiving and for Christmas.
And the rest of the time, I I offered it by cuts. And actually, my ground turkey and the turkey and the turkey breast are are my best sellers. And and I’ve also I’ve also learned that those cuts that don’t move so fast like the drumsticks and the wings if I if I make if I offer samples of of pre made turkey wings or remade shredded turkey drumsticks. I can move a heck of a lot of those cuts. Samples. Samples. If you’re in the farmer, If you could if somebody can try, you know, try it, and they like it. Oh, yes. You know, ninety percent of them will say, okay. Give me some. Oh, yeah. Yeah. I I can see that. I mean, you go to Sam’s Club or Costco and they’ve got the samples out there and too often we buy what they’re trying to get us to buy. Right. Right. Especially if they taste good. Right? And and my turkey always taste good no matter what. How I’m destroyed it or not.
And what breed are you using for your turkeys? So the first year I did turkeys, I tried the hair a heritage breed, and then I also tried the bronze. Turkey’s. And but the heritage breed took too long to grow to a a size that was worth processing. And So very quickly, I learned that I did not wanna do the heritage breed. And and then that first batch of turkeys, I could not get a a date with the processor, so I processed the bronze turkeys myself. And I still have scars on my arms from from those from that day. Oh, yes.
So I did given given their wings are lethal. They really are they they’re they’re they’re so strong. But because, you know, we we put them through through the scaldor, we pluck them, and then we, you know, we cut them. But because of the bronze pin feathers, I I felt uncomfortable selling a a piece of meat that had all these dark spots on it. So using the tweezers, I I I used tweezers to pick all those pin feathers. And after doing it for fifty birds, I said, I am not doing bras again. I I can see that. That’s a lot of work right there. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
So I’ve been raising the the standard white turkeys that I get from the hatch tree is is either one or two day olds depending on how quickly they can get here. And I do a batch of I do I do a batch of fifty turkeys every month except for Thanksgiving where I raise two hundred turkeys for Thanksgiving. Oh, okay. Yeah. Well, I hate to even say this because longtime listeners of the podcast knows that I’m interested in everything and I wanna try everything. I’ve thought about getting a few turkeys this year and raising them just to try it and see, I’ve never raised turkeys. I don’t know. I haven’t I haven’t brought in a subject to my wife yet. She’s usually the filtering of my ideas, so I only use the good ones. So I have two pieces of advice for you on the turkey. If you wanna raise a if you wanna raise them for Thanksgiving, if you get a a bronze or a standard white, it’ll take about five months to get them to to about twenty pounds. If you happen to get tons, they’re they’ll get bigger So I usually plan on between four and five months. The second thing too is Turkey that first month of the Turkey’s life, the Poles, they need to be in ninety eight degree temperature. So it’s very important that they stay warm. They’re they’re they’re they’re very finicky about the temperature that first month. And then after you make it after the first month, they’re very, very hardy. Oh, okay. Well, wonderful advice I appreciate that. I I’m going to look into it. If I don’t do it this year this year, I will soon, but I’ve been saying that about I’d like to have some pigs too. So Now let’s jump to your cattle.
You introduced cattle when you moved to more acreage, but I think earlier you said you didn’t go with you went with a more small frame breed? Yes, sir. Basically because of my fear trepidation of of handling these animals. And and I knew it was just gonna be me on the ranch because by this time, I I was single again. So and I knew I was gonna do grass finished. And and so I knew I needed a smaller frame animal to begin with. And like you, I like dark red. I like to sit on my porch and drink coffee and look at the dark red animals. Yeah. That’s amazing. So I ended up deciding on the Dexter Brie, which is like the heritage read from from the UK that are multipurpose. So you can actually milk them and the milk is actually can be a two a two, which is a protein that can be easier digested by those people that are typically lactose intolerant. So So they were small frameed. They they could be milkers, and they were they were ideal for grass grass finishing. And and so I I I bought a few and then I added more to that and So I’m I’ve been raising Dexter’s since it’s been four years now, five years now.
But because my demand for my product is the demand is more than I can supply, and I really don’t want to start leasing land because I don’t want the hassle of having to load animals from one place to the other. I decided that I needed to shift from a cow calf operation to a stalker to grass finish operation. And so for the last year and a half, I have been looking for somebody that could provide animals that follows the same protocol as I do so that, you know, I knew I knew what was how they were being treated. I knew how they were being fed, vaccinated, all of that files. But finding somebody that had the volume to give me Dexter’s was difficult. In the meantime, because of the demand I realized that I needed a higher yielding animal that gave me more beef. And so I I am transitioning to to Red Angus because I get I I get more, you know, more meat yield per annum So so I I have a heard of Devon’s and Angus that I’m that I’m gracing.
How did you so so you mentioned Devon there. Do you have Devon’s as well? No. I’m sorry. If I said Devon, I misspoke, Dexter’s. Well, I I thought you might have, but then I thought, wait. If you said Devon, I’ve got questions along that line. Now Yeah. No.
Deckers. Deckers are really interesting to me. I think I’ve I’m going with South Coast for the most part. I’ve got a little bit of other breeding in there. But the dextures, I find very interesting. I watch a YouTube channel just a few acres. Pete on it has dexter cows among other things. In fact, I’ve emailed him a couple times to see if I can get him on the podcast, and I haven’t succeeded I haven’t gave up either. That’s good. That’s good. Yeah.
I looked I looked into the south pole because I like the south pole. I like how they handle the heat. But but the the the economics of South Pole, you know, to buy to buy a weanling or a yearling to grass finish just isn’t there. As much as, you know, as much as you like the breed, Yeah. The the you know, if I was doing cow calf and and was investing in the cow, that would be one thing. But as a stalker operation to finish. It just doesn’t make economic sense. Yes. Right now, if you if you stick stop poll on what you’re selling. It increases their value and quickly makes it so that it’s a little bit tougher to break even on finishing. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And and my customers are willing to my customers know the value they’re getting and they’re willing to pay, but I but I I they would probably start questioning the price I would have to charge if I can use cell phone. Oh, yes. Yes.
Christine, before we transition into our over grazing section — Mhmm. — where do you see your farm going in the future. Do you have some plans to diversify? You mentioned a while ago, you’re not too interested growing because you’re not interested in using lease land. But what’s your plans for the next few years? So I have been able to increase my carrying capacity by threefold. So I I am I am improving my grass diversity and and my production. But I don’t know how much more I’ll be able to. So I I know I’ll be able to increase my production, especially with the shift to from cow calf to stalker.
And then then I’m I’ll be okay because the my my week link, my biggest week link is I cannot find dependable, reliable, responsible help on the ranch and and — Yes. And my my my my speaking engagement consulting workshop time is increasing. And so I have to you know, I’m gonna have to be off away from the ranch and I need help. And and finding that help has been a real struggle. So so I I the the ranch will grow to what it needs to. And then my the growth will happen more in in teaching educating, presenting that side of the that side of the it’ll be that enterprise that will grow more than the the production size. But, yeah, you’re you’re running up to that twenty four seven issue we all run into. We we’ve only got a certain amount of time to work with. So I’m sure that’ll go good for you, but I did think of one more question before we transition into overgrazing.
And I I think I know the answer, but I just wanna ask you, your holistic class that you took that introduced you to that Is that something that you found really beneficial that you think everyone should be doing? Or does it just apply to a few people? Or what’s your thoughts on it? It was an absolute game changer for me. It it gave me the the knowledge base. It gave me the tools to look at things holistically.
So many times, we, you know, I find my I catch myself too that, you know, we look at things and we’re treating symptoms rather than treating the root cause. You know, why why do I have a bare patch on the grass? Right? Why why why am I not getting the diversity of of of grass species? Right? And we’re like, oh, let’s let’s seed it. Let’s improve it that way. Right?
Instead of saying, okay, well, why do I have a bear patch? What what is it a management tissue? Is it a soil issue? Is it, you know, something? And and and and that I can say this now because because I’ve been there, but when I started, I had no idea. I I know I didn’t understand how grass grew, and I didn’t understand this you know, the difference between severe grazing and overgrazing. I didn’t understand what overgrazing was. I, you know, I didn’t under and how the four basic ecosystem functions work and how they all have to be working together in order to create this environment where the natural seed bed starts germinating, right, where you’ve got water infiltration, where you’ve got the done beadels and the nematodes and the earthworms and all of those working altogether to create this healthy, vibrant, luscious ecosystem. So yeah. So I think everybody anybody let’s put it this way.
Anybody who’s doing regenerative agriculture needs to also take holistic management. It will reinforce the regenerative agricultural principles, but it will give you a better understanding and it’s a framework that will that you can individualize because, you know, you’re unique, I’m unique, everybody has their preferences. They’re all at different stages of their learning curve. You know, some people care about red animals. Other people, they’re like give me anything in know. So it works for any whether you’re a small operation, whether you’re a homesteader, whether you have thousands of acres, that framework applies And it also applies to crop planting. You don’t have to be a grass farmer. You could be raising vegetables. You could be, you know, you could have a fruit orchard. It it applies to anything. It just gives you a basic understanding about how nature works and how to and principally how to manage in your environment, which we all care about if because those of us who are land owners, but also how to make decisions that honor your individual values and your desired outcomes financially, socially, and environmentally.
So, you know, we’ve gotta manage that triple bottom line. We’ve gotta be making money. We’ve gotta be happy. And we’ve gotta to have a healthy functioning land. You you and I I expect you too. You did a great job. And and good go ahead. No. I I was gonna say, did I sell that well enough? Oh, yeah. You did a wonderful job. Wonderful job.
But Christine, let’s transition to the overgrazing topic. And this week for the overgrazing topic, We’re gonna talk a little bit about I’ll let you tell everyone. We’re gonna talk about plan grazing and so the holistic management grazing planning, basically, the underlying premise there is you want the end animals at the right place, at the right time for the right reason. And so it’s it’s it’s an improved version of rotational grazing. Right? When we think of rotational grazing, we think of, you know, our acreage and we go from from one to two to three to four to five. Right? And so it’s a consecutive movement on plan raising, you’re gonna go you’re gonna place your animals where your best grass is. And and as with any property, you know, you in the springtime, you know where you’ve got your best grasses. And and so It might be on the opposite side of where the animals, you know, had been wintering, you know, consuming the stockpiled forage. And so understanding how where to put the animals and as grass farmers Our primary concern is allowing for enough recovery, and plan grazing allows you to plan for that recovery you need.
And we all know that recovery time will change. Right? Early spring, early summer, you you have shorter recovery times as you get into the heat of the summer and then into early fall, recovery times to get longer. And so managing for these recovery times is really important in planning those Planning for those recovery times is very, very important. And when you talk about plan grazing.
I think earlier you mentioned your grazing plan. So you’re putting this on paper and coming up with your plan for the year as a guideline for what you’re doing? It’s it’s it’s my plan. Now, obviously, you know, as soon as you make the it it it’s, you know, it’s it’s gonna have to be replaced. Exactly. True. But but but but it it is a guide and then you have to adjust and adapt accordingly. And and we advocate you you create two plans for the year, one during the growing season, and then one for the non growing season or what we call the the the low season, the the dormant season. And so the during the growing and you wanna plan for recovery time, but you also wanna plan for that stockpile that you’re gonna graze over the over the the the close season or the dormant season. I you know, and that because you’re planning for recovery, you will increase your plant diversity, you will increase your grass production And actually, I have hay bales that I’m gonna sell, that I didn’t use this winter.
Because I actually had more grass available this winter than I did in previous years. So that is for recovery works. It is. It’s a great problem to have. It’s a great and and and part of it is because I I did not account for the fact that I was gonna have more forage available. And and interestingly, despite not Despite not seeding, I had a lot more cool season grasses come up this winter than I had before. I had I had vetch and clover that I and pastures that I I haven’t seen before.
Oh. And that’s because I’ve I’ve allowed, you know, that recovery has allowed that environment to change so that I’ve got water cycles that are functioning. The mineral cycles are functioning. The the succession, you know, below ground and above ground is is able to move. So yeah. So I was very pleased.
Oh, yes. Yeah. Especially this time in our area, I’m a little bit north of you, but I suspected it applied somewhat to you. But we were drier, and he’s been really high this winter. If you had to go out and buy it. Yes. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Luckily, we did not. And I say luckily, we I try really hard to manage my grass. I’m not as good as I need to be, but I make in progress. Good. Yeah. Well, progress is always good. It is. And I like to tell people progress is progress no matter how small. So — Yes. — we’ll we’ll get there to fix a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Look.
Christine, it’s time for our famous four questions. Same four questions we ask of all of our guests. Our very first question, what is your favorite grazing grass related book or resource? My favorite one is grass fed cattle by by Julius. I don’t I’m gonna mispronounce his name. Rucho, r u e c h e l. Yes.
If you if you see my it’s been, like, highlighted and earmarked and and and I’ve got stick a sticky part and sticky note. It’s been my bible. It’s and I really appreciate it because it does have a very holistic approach to it. And it’s great for new grazers. It’s also a great tool for experienced grazers. It gives you a little bit more in-depth information. So yeah. So this is the one I I I tell everybody to get. Excellent choice.
And when that book when you you brought it up, I think out of the last, I wanna say, five or six pod cast I’ve done. That book’s been brought up three times. So that’s Is that right? Yeah. Yeah. It it’s getting out there. Yeah. In fact, I think the episode coming out this week with Levi. And I say this week, now now everybody else gonna be confused. A couple weeks ago, Levi’s episode came out and he talked about Grassbad. We’re recording it this week that Levi’s is coming out. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No. I’ve had I’ve had this book for, oh, I don’t know, five years now, and it’s always been my go to. Oh, very good.
Our second question, what tool could you not live without on your ranch? Or farm? My my Kawasaki mule. It it it my Kawasaki mule carries everything I need. It it’s it’s very efficient. You know, I use so I have everything on the ranch is on skids. And so the sheep shelter, the the the cattle shade, you know, the the the mineral feeders that are on skids, all gets hauled by the mule the mule holds all my reels, you know, all hammer and drills and and and and the the, you know, water stuff. So yeah. It’s it’s been abused for a thing. Oh, but it’s oh, so handy.
I get in trouble with ours here. My dad’ll go, he can use it, and he’s like, do you have to have everything on it? I never know when I might need something. That’s right. That’s right. That’s right. And it’s you know, it’s right too. Question. Go ahead. No. Go ahead. No. No. No. I was gonna say and you know what I mean? I’ll pause this a little bit and let you go ahead. No. No. No. You go. You go. There seems to be I don’t really hear it, but seems to be there’s a little bit of delay, but that’s not really a big issue because we’ll take care of it when we edit. Okay.
Our third question is, what would you tell someone just getting started. If you can find a holistic management workshop, definitely attend it The holistic management international has a lot of online workshops that you can do depending on where you are in this States or it and and I know we have international educators that will work with you. But here in the US, there’s there’s educators in all states There’s several here in in Texas, and then I hold workshops at the ranch too. I actually just had a two day workshop last week, going over the foundations of holistic management. The next one will be on actually the raising concepts in April, so that ties into this podcast. But, yes, I understand Yeah.
Being able to look at being able to look at things holistically so that we can manage our quality of life the finances and and the land that we’re stewarding is is critical to the success of any operation. It is very true. And last let me try that again. And lastly, where can others find out more about you? I am on so social media under the tag of the regen ranch. I also my coaching can Sculpting page is the Regen Ranch consulting. I my website is w w w d regen ranch dot com. And both have my personal contact information. I answer emails and text phone calls not so much because spam likes me. So leave a message and I’ll get back to you. Yeah. Well, Christine, we’ve really enjoyed you coming on and sharing about what you’re doing in your journey. I think it’s an episode that’s gonna give a lot of value to our listeners. Well, thank you. Thank you for inviting me to be on here. It’s it’s an honor.