Cody and Dawnell HolmesCody Holmes left home in 1975 at age 17 with his high school 4-H project of seven cows. That project has grown into what the Rockin H Ranch is today: a 1,000-acre cow/calf operation, on-farm market, cowsmilk and goatsmilk dairy, and cheesemaking operation. Cody and his wife Dawnnell operate an agri-tourism business on top of the base business of the cow-calf operation. They invite the general public to their ranch during different seasons of the year. Along with these events, they offer their Real Farm Foods Farm Market, an on-farm store offering retail sales of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, eggs, milk and seasonal produce. Cody grew up on a small dairy farm in south-central Missouri, not far from where they are today. He has a business degree in accounting from Missouri State University and uses that background to help ensure the financial success of the ranch. Cody is an acclaimed horse trainer and has traveled the central states displaying his horsemanship methods through round pen clinics and demonstrations. Cody’s passions are his cattle and soil fertility. Cody speaks and writes widely about his grazing systems and is the author of the book Ranching Full-Time in Three Hours a Day.

Cody Holmes will be the featured speaker for Saturday’s Kansas Beginning Farmers Coalition Day.

9:15 a.m. Early Years with Cody Holmes
Working with little to no start up capital the Rockin H Ranch grew out of inspiration and a dream of what could someday be. The only thing I inherited was a bad attitude and a drive to be a cattle rancher. The Early Years took about 30 years to get started and to eventually realize I had no idea what I was doing. But it didn’t matter once I realized the people that had directed me up until that point didn’t either. Growing with mostly leased ground, my herd of cows grew to about 1200 mama cows, a pretty good set of saddle horses and cow dogs. Little did I know this was just preparation for the real business of ranching. After about three decades of very long days and hard work I started running into a new breed of ranchers and business men that were talking a whole new line of ranching I had never heard of before. It sounded like it might solve some of my biggest problems I had created myself. This changed my whole life.
Conference Rooms I – III
10:00 a.m. Transition Years with Cody Holmes
Livestock diversification made since to me in Southern Missouri where forage production is extremely variable and diverse from fescue to wild black berries and lots of trees all growing in a pile of rocks called the Ozark Mountains. A mono culture species of livestock on a farm or ranch is an incomplete farm and one that is leaving lots of revenue on the table. Cowboys are supposed to hate sheep and sheep herders, but if sustainability and real ranch income is desirable adding sheep to a cow herd is probably the step every ranch should consider. Once the rancher realizes the increased productivity of one species added to the cow herd the next species is only the natural step. At the same time developing the ranch to a more Holistic approach to management through planned grazing, water and fencing, and less dependency upon chemicals and other inputs moves the entire operation beyond all the biggest obstacles to profitability in ranching.
Conference Rooms I – III
1:30 p.m. Regenerative Years with Cody Holmes
Regenerative agriculture involves a technique that improves soil quality, the nutrient content in the soils, water retention, and the reduction of purchased inputs for the ranch while increasing carrying capacity on a per acre basis. All experienced ranchers know that running more animals per acre in a productive manner has more potential for profit by reducing fixed costs per unit than increasing weaning weights, changing breeds, adding feed supplements or any other gadget sold by the so called agriculture experts. The ranching model that can decrease or eliminate outside purchases of inputs in the areas of fertilizers, chemicals, and seed but yet increase forage production has been available to us all along but missed by most ranchers in America. To become a Regenerative rancher or farmer is to move in a more productive form of food production.
Conference Rooms I – III
3:30 p.m. Direct Sales and Marketing with Cody Holmes
Although turning our traditional commodity of cattle into a food product may seems beyond the scope of ranching it is indeed a very important aspect of the revenue generating stream. Some call it Value Added, but in reality its just the natural way all people eventually get food on their table. Learning how to market, direct sale, package, and distribute to an ever growing demanding consumer places the progressive rancher in a very good position. These learned skills do add more value to the ranch and its revenue through the production of food rather than a commodity that will have great increases in unit value. And the good thing about this model is that a larger and larger populace are demanding the very thing that us ranchers can do and the big food companies will never be able to. This puts us in a very good position to be in today.
Conference Rooms I – III

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