David Brandt farms 1,150 acres in central Ohio's Fairfield County. He began no-till farming in 1971 and has been using cover crops since 1978.
David has participated in yield plots for corn, soybeans and wheat into various covers. This information has been used by seed growers as well as county agents and universities to encourage other farmers to adapt no-till practices in their farming operations. He has also been planting various blends of cover crops to find out what benefits they provide to improve soil.
At present David is working with Ohio State University's Randall Reeder and Rafiq Islam on reducing input costs of fertilizers and herbicides using various cover crops, which improve soil health. He is also working with the regional Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soils lab in Greensboro, N.C., on the benefits of cover crops to improve soil health.
David has received numerous awards for conservation practices, including the Ohio Conservation Educator Award from the Ohio No-Till Council, Ohio State University South Center's Supporter of the Year, Ohio Agriculture's Man of the Year, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award, and Ohio NRCS Soil Conservationist Partnership and State Volunteer Awards.
I am one of six siblings raised on the CS Ranch located near the village of Cimarron in northeastern New Mexico. We are a family owned and operated ranch that spans 5 generations. Our main business is beef cattle and we also raise quality Quarter Horses. I returned to the ranch full time in 1982 and began managing the south end of the ranch and a newly purchased headquarters consisting of riparian area, farmland and rangeland. Through dedicated observation of these areas and the desire to improve the resilience of our drought-prone prairie ecosystem led me to the study of Holistic Management and the fascinating promise of regenerative agriculture in the mid-1980’s. Traveling and seeing how others were transforming their operations had a profound impact on me, in a sense molded who I am today. In my quest for solutions on a local scale, I was instrumental in bring many “trailblazer’s”/out-of-the box thinkers within the agricultural community in the 80’s and 90’s to the ranch and our surrounding communities, some of those being: Allan Savory – Founder of Holistic Mgmt. principles (Savory Institute), Ken Williams – HM consultant (a former NRCS District Conservationist), Wendell and Mark Bader – holistic livestock nutrition experts, Stan Parsons/Dave Pratt – Ranching for Profit Schools, Bud Williams – Pioneer of Low Stress Stockmanship, Ray Hunt – Natural Horsemanship Pioneer, Charley Orchard – Founder of Land EKG – rangeland monitoring, Gearld Fry – Bovine Engineering – grass-fed beef genetics Realizing the importance of financial and long-range planning skills/knowledge for my family and other multi-generational ranches and farms, these interests took me to Albuquerque in 2006. I was able to focus on developing skills and founded a consulting service, Full Range Financial LLC through which I work with ag families and businesses. I returned to my ranching roots in the fall of 2017, excited to continue with the revitalization of our rangeland, farmland, riparian area and mountain country on the CS.
Dawn Breitkreutz, along with her husband Grant, run Stoney Creek Farm along the bluff of the Minnesota River near Redwood Falls, MN. Over the past 21 years they have converted a conventional crop and cow/calf operation into a multi-enterprise regenerative family business. They run at least a three-crop rotation, with cover crops incorporated whenever and where ever possible in their 100% no-till cropping system. They use managed intensive grazing throughout their pasture systems and their farm fields. Their overall goal is to heal the land, create a successful and enjoyable multi-generational family business, and ensure that future generations have a beautiful legacy to carry on. They strive to help educate others about regenerative agriculture through on-farm tours and classes. Dawn is an Air Force veteran and very active with the American Legion Post #38 in Redwood Falls. She has learned to farm/ranch alongside Grant, always questioning "why" about all phases of farming. Having had no farming background, she looked at the operation through a different lens than Grant. Together they have worked hard to make the changes necessary to the future of their farm.
Tori Dean is a Tennessee native who moved to central Missouri shortly after graduating from the University of Tennessee at Martin with her Bachelor’s Degree in Plant and Soil Science. While in college, she interned for Dupont Pioneer and WinField United where she was assisted with small- and large-scale conventional farming trials that focused on increased yields.
Tori began her career working for an ag tech company that was trying to incorporate biologicals/soil amendments to row crops operations. But the ag business model of increasing inputs in pursuit of chasing yields “Just didn’t feel right to me,” she says.
Then Tori attended a Soil Health Academy and her life changed. “The instructors there talked about nurturing the land,” she says. “This concept represented a new way of thinking about agriculture for me but as I listened, It simply made sense,” Tori says.
“They explained how we, as stewards of the land, should work with nature instead of trying to work against it. This was something that I wasn’t taught my four years of college. I was taught the basics of agriculture, but everything was compartmentalized. I took entomology classes, soil classes, and plant pathology classes but not once did they incorporate how all those areas of study work together and how soil health is the key to it all.
Tori’s Soil Health Academy experience revealed the profound realization that Healthy Soil = Healthy Plants = Healthy Animals = Healthy People.
“I believe I am being called to care for, educate and consult with growers all over the world on how they can join the regenerative path by implementing soil health practices,” Tori says. “I want to help them produce nutrient-dense food, while being the best stewards to the land that God has blessed them with.”
Tori now serves as a consultant with the Soil Health Academy/ Understanding Ag coordinating social media, newsletters, and websites. She remains passionate about regenerative agriculture and is dedicated to learning even more so she can help farmers and ranchers succeed in their transition from conventional agriculture to soil health-focused regenerative agriculture.
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.
Shane New is a stockman and entrepreneur from Holton, Kansas. He is a graduate of Kansas State University. Shane was a civil contractor and sod producer for 20 years prior to completely focusing on regenerative agriculture. Despite doing various things, he has been doing soil health practices for many years. Some of these practices include no-tilling, cover crops, rotational grazing, and adaptive grazing.
Shane and his wife Kelli have three children. They own and operate New Family Farms located in Holton, Kansas. The farm consists of cover crops, cattle, and free range chickens. They currently market their meat and eggs.
Shane and New Family Farms received the Soil Health Award in 2017 by the Jackson County Conservation District. This was awarded for outstanding accomplishments in the management of soil health and related sources. Shane also completed Dr. Elaine Ingham’s Life in the Soils courses. His passion is production agriculture and believes that the future for agriculture and human health has to come from regenerative agricultural practices.
Allen Williams is a 6th generation family farmer and founding partner of Grass Fed Insights, LLC, Understanding Ag, LLC and the Soil Health Academy. He is also a partner in Joyce Farms, Inc. He has consulted with more than 4000 farmers and ranchers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America, and other countries, on operations ranging from a few acres to over 1 million acres.
Allen pioneered many of the early regenerative grazing protocols and forage finishing techniques and now teaches those practices and principles to farmers globally. He is a “recovering academic”, having served 15 years on the faculty at Louisiana Tech University and Mississippi State University. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Animal Science from Clemson University and a Ph.D. in Livestock Genetics from LSU. He has authored more than 400 scientific and popular press articles, and is an invited speaker at regional, national, and international conferences and symposia. Major areas of research and business focus include soil health, cover crop/livestock integration, adaptive forage & grazing management, high attribute pasture-based meat production, and alternative marketing systems.
Allen and his colleagues specialize in whole farm & ranch planning based on the concept of regenerative agriculture. Their approach creates significant “value add” and prepares the landowner for multiple enterprise/revenue stream opportunities that stack enterprises and acres. This approach allows for enhanced profitability and/or investment value. They routinely conduct workshops and seminars across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. He has been featured in several of the Carbon Nation film series, “Soil Carbon Cowboys” (www.soilcarboncowboys.com), on the Dr. Oz show, ABC Food Forecast News, and in Kiss The Ground, A Regenerative Secret, The Farmer’s Footprint film series and the Sacred Cow film series. He co- authored a book with Teddy Gentry, “Before You Have A Cow”. Allen is a regular contributor to “GRAZE” and “Stockman GrassFarmer” and has written articles for the “Organic Broadcaster” and many other publications. Several of his resentations and webinars can be found on the Pasture Project website at www.pastureproject.org.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Grass Fed Exchange and the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network, is a Core Team member of the Pasture Project, and Co-Investigator for Team Soil Carbon. He lso serves as an officer in the Starkville Civitan Club, the Central Oktibbeha Fire Department BOD, and is active in his local church.
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