Ray Archuleta is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist with the Soil Science Society of America and has over 30 years experience as a Soil Conservationist, Water Quality Specialist, and Conservation Agronomist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). During his tenure with the NRCS Ray served in New Mexico, Missouri, Oregon, and North Carolina.
Ray received his AS degree in Livestock Science from Northern New Mexico College and a BS degree in Agricultural Biology plus 30 hours of graduate work in soil related courses from New Mexico State University. He served in the Peace Corps for two years in Guatemala as a Livestock Specialist.
After his retirement from the NRCS in 2017, Ray founded Understanding Ag, LLC, and Soil Health Academy, LLC, to teach Biomimicry strategies and Agroecology principles for improving soil function on a national scale. Ray also owns and operates a 150-acre farm near Seymour, Missouri that he operates along with his wife and family.
Gabe Brown is one of the pioneers of the current soil health movement which focuses on the regeneration of our resources.
Gabe, along with his wife Shelly, and son Paul, own and operate Brown's Ranch, a diversified 5,000 acre farm and ranch near Bismarck, North Dakota. The ranch consists of several thousand acres of native perennial rangeland along with perennial pastureland and cropland. Their ranch focuses on farming and ranching in nature's image.
The Browns holistically integrate their grazing and no-till cropping systems, which include a wide variety of cash crops, multi-species cover crops along with all natural grass finished beef and lamb. They also raise pastured laying hens, broilers and swine. This diversity and integration has regenerated the natural resources on the ranch without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides.
The Browns are part owners of a state inspected abattoir which allows them to direct market their products. They believe that healthy soil leads to clean air, clean water, healthy plants, animals, and people.
Over 2,000 people visit the Brown's Ranch annually to see this unique operation. They have had visitors from all fifty states and twenty-four foreign countries. Gabe and Brown's Ranch have received many forms of recognition for their work, including a Growing Green award from the Natural Resource Defense Council, an Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and a Zero-Till Producer of the Year Award, to name a few. Gabe has also been named one of the twenty- five most influential agricultural leaders in the United States. Gabe recently authored the book, “Dirt to Soil, One Family’s Journey Into Regenerative Agriculture.”
He is a partner, along with Ray Archuleta and Dr. Allen Williams, in Understanding Ag LLC. He is also an instructor for Soil Health Academy, which focuses on teaching others the power and importance of healthy functioning ecosystems.
After a successful career as an IT consultant in the US and other countries in the Americas and Europe, Alejandro joined his family ranch back in 2004. Tired of the constant drought and suffering that comes with traditional ranching in the Chihuahuan desert, he searched for better ways to do things. Since 2006, he adapted the principles of Holistic Planed Grazing Management to his ranch. The change from continuous grazing to planned grazing brought many challenges as well as positive results, such as being able to increase his carrying capacity 3 times while lowering his inputs. The first thing for Alejandro was to educate himself on holistic, regenerative, and profitable ways of ranching in sync with Nature. He and his colleagues traveled to Argentina, Africa, Australia and the US to learn from successful ranchers. Alejandro is also the president of Pasticultores del Desierto, a non-profit organization which goal is to provide on-going education for cattle ranchers as well as promote Holistic Planned Grazing across the world’s deserts. Pasticultores del Desierto means the culture of desert grasslands. Alejandro’s credo is to mimic and respect Nature to stay and thrive in the cattle business. Alejandro holds a BS in Computer Science from the Monterrey Tech, and MS in Technical Management from the Johns Hopkins University.
I have worked for the USDA-NRCS for the past 29 -years; I have been in the State Agronomist position for 10-years; I have also worked as a District Conservationist, field agronomist, conservation planner. In NM, the main agronomic issues that I have worked on are: irrigation water management, salinity mgt., nutrient mgt., cropping systems that build soil health (i.e., crop rotations, cover crops, high quality compost, hoop houses, subsurface drip irrigation, minimum-till, salinity mgt., etc.). I accepted the position as Regional Soil Health Specialist for the states of Utah, Arizona, NM and Colorado since October 2016; in this new position, my major responsibility is to facilitate the adoption of soil health management systems. This will require that I work with our NRCS State Offices/Specialists, conservation partners, producers, Plant Material Center and others to identify training needs, keeping our staff updated on the latest soil health findings/assessments, tools, etc. The major emphasis will be to advance the art and science of building healthy soils through our NRCS conservation practices/management, by understanding how the soil resource ecosystem functions. Emphasis is on building healthy and productive soils that protect the natural resources.