Gabe Brown

Gabe Brown

Gabe 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 a diversified 5,000-acre farm and ranch
near Bismarck, ND. 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 have 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 50 states and 21 foreign countries.

Gabe is a partner along with Ray Archuletta, David Brandt and Dr. Allen Williams in Soil Health
Consulting, LLC and Soil Health Academy.org

Del Ficke

Del Ficke

Del Ficke is the manager of Ficke Cattle Company – Graze Master Genetics®. He also connects family
farms and ranches with the resources they need to do proper legacy planning. With more than 35 years
of experience as both an agriculturist and cattleman, Del has developed a one-of-a-kind trademarked
breed of composite cattle, the Graze Master.

Del has spent the last several years transitioning his farming operation back to what he calls, “a more
holistic, sensible and profitable approach that is both modern and historically-based in both concept and
philosophy.” He is restoring the soils to their more natural state and has transformed commodity-driven
cropland back into native pastures as well as adopted a mob-grazing approach to cattle raising. Del has
sold cattle genetics as well as consulted throughout the nation and internationally.

In addition to his production agricultural pursuits, Del has experience managing a medical clinic in
Lincoln, Neb. and he has also held numerous leadership positions in agricultural associations and in
agricultural business. Del and his wife Brenda live on the fifth-generation farm near Pleasant Dale, Neb.
with their daughter Emily, son Austin and his wife Alyssa and their daughter Attley.

Reach Del at (402) 499-0329 or email fickecattle@outlook.com. You can learn more about Del’s pursuits
on Facebook at facebook.com/GrazeMaster and linkedin.com/in/GrazeMaster.

Dr. Jonathan Lundgren

Dr. Jonathan Lundgren

Dr. Jonathan Lundgren is an agroecologist, director ECDYSIS Foundation, and CEO for Blue Dasher Farm. Lundgren’s research and education programs focus on assessing the ecological risk of pest management strategies and developing long-term solutions for regenerative food systems.

Brendon Rockey

Brendon Rockey

Brendon Rockey is a third-generation Colorado potato farmer showing producers across the globe how to improve farm health with biotic methods.

Soil-Health-U-Coverage-Brendon-RockeyThe focus of his approach is life. On Rockey Farms, biological inputs like companion crops, livestock, green manure and flower strips replace synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. His system sustains yields, has greater water efficiency and supports a flourishing ecosystem encouraging beneficial insects, soil microbes and carbon cycling. In addition to managing the farm’s annual potato crop, Rockey grows quinoa, flax and lentils, and welcomes local cows, sheep and bees to graze green manure and flowering fields.

Rockey Soil-Health-U-Cattle-Brendon-RockeyFarms also produces year-round certified seed potatoes in its greenhouse. Three crops originating from potato plant tissue cultured in the farm’s lab are grown annually. Brendon uses biologically amended potting soil to promote crop health and uniformity, and flowering companion crops to create beneficial insect habitat, which serves as his main form of insect management.

Brendon is a National Association of Conservation District Soil Health Champion and Colorado Certified Potato Growers Association board member. He devotes his time to many local, national and international soil health focused organizations through speaking events and workshops. In 2014, Rockey Farms was awarded the National Potato Council Environmental Stewardship Award for its practices. In 2011, the farm was recognized with the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts Farming Division Conservationist of the Year Award.Soil-Health-U-Cover-Brendon-Rockey

Brendon believes soil health is the foundation of a healthy farm and food system. Soil health is the key to an efficient agroecosystem, one that reaps economic benefits while providing a nutritious, safe product for the consumer. For all these reasons, soil health is a priority. Healthy soils. Healthy farms. Healthy people.

 

 

Soil-Health-U-Brendon-Rockey-Widscreen

Lauren Krizansky

Lauren Krizansky

Lauren Krizansky is an agricultural journeywoman.

Today, she farms in southern Colorado on Rockey Farms where she manages several irrigated acres. She grows a market garden, raises cover crops and grazes goats from a local dairy.

Lauren also works in the farm’s potato tissue culture lab and seed potato greenhouse while organizing its field days and farm tours.

In addition, she manages several local agricultural websites and dedicates much time to Colorado Quinoa LLC, the San Luis Valley’s emerging quinoa production and processing company.

Lauren is an award-winning journalist who completed her studies in agroecology and international agriculture at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences before managing a holistic farm in southern Spain, consulting across the Mediterranean and working with water in the San Luis Valley as a writer and an irrigator.

She believes soil health is the foundation of an efficient and fit food and farm system.

Colin Seis

Colin Seis

The Seis family is one of the early pioneering families in the Gulgong district of New South Wales, Australia, and has been grazing merino sheep and growing cereal crops in the area since the 1860s.

Colin Seis and his son Nicholas own the 2,000-acre property “Winona,” which runs 4,000 merino sheep that are managed using holistic planned grazing. Cattle are traded when seasons allow.

The property is managed using methods that continually regenerate its grassland, soil and farm ecosystem. This dramatically reduces farm inputs, while producing up to 20,000 kilograms of wool and selling 1,500 sheep and cereal grain annually. Five hundred acres of oats, wheat or cereal rye are sown annually using the pasture cropping technique that Colin developed over 20 years ago. The adoption of industrial agriculture methods from the 1930s destroyed Winona’s soil and grassland and during the 1960s and 1970s. The farm became increasingly dependent on pesticides and chemical fertilizer for pasture growth and crop production. To solve these problems, in 1993 Colin adopted holistic planned grazing and developed a unique method of growing crops and restoring grassland and soil. The method, called Pasture Cropping, is a form of perennial cover cropping where annual crops are zero till sown directly into perennial grassland after the pasture has started its natural dormancy.

Pasture Cropping can produce high yielding crops and has been proven to restore landscape ecological health, restore native grasslands, improve grazing pasture quality, improve soil nutrient cycling and sequester large amounts of soil carbon.

 

Colin Seis.

Ph: 0263759256. Mob: 0428759256. colin@winona.net.au      www.winona.net.au

Buz Kloot

Buz Kloot

Buz started his professional life as a chemical engineer and spent 12 years in the mining/mineral processing industry in Namibia, Africa. In 1999, he joined the University of South Carolina and has been involved in various projects related to living soils and regenerative agriculture. Buz is passionate about doing research on working farmland and collaborating directly with farmers on soil health research and projects. He works to show farmers how they can leverage cover crops to improve per acre income, mainly through savings in fertilizer and paying attention to biology.

Buz’s work has also moved him into the dual roles of research in and telling the story of regenerative farming. Buz’s guiding philosophy is that the farm is his target audience first and foremost.

Buz is a research associate professor in the Environmental Health Sciences Department at USC’s Arnold School of Public Health and holds degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and an master’s and doctoral from the University of South Carolina.

Anita Dille

Anita Dille

Anita Dille is a professor of Weed Ecology at Kansas State University. She conducts research to understand emergence, growth, competition and seedbank characteristics of important weed species in Kansas and uses that information to evaluate how cover crops, herbicide programs and tillage can be combined within integrated weed management programs for their control. Anita received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Crop Science (weed science) at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and her Ph.D. in Agronomy (weed science) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has been teaching Weed Science courses and conducting research in the Agronomy Department at Kansas State University since 2000.

Jaymelynn Farney

Jaymelynn Farney

Jaymelynn Farney grew up in New Mexico on a cow-calf operation and came to Kansas after graduating high school on a livestock judging scholarship to Butler Community College.  She fell in love with the state and people of Kansas. She earned her bachelor’s in animal science from Kansas State University before going to Oklahoma State University for her master’s with high risk receiving cattle. 

In 2009, Jaymelynn came back to Kansas State University for her doctoral and was hired as the beef systems specialist within the Animal Science Department of Kansas State University housed at the Southeast Research and Extension Center in Parsons.  Jaymelynn’s extension and research endeavors have focused on practical cattle management strategies with predominant focus on using annual forages for cattle.  Other areas of interest include cow-calf nutrition on tame grasses, stocker management on tame grasses and tallgrass native prairie.

Lance Gunderson

Lance Gunderson

President Regen Ag Lab

Lance attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney earning his Bachelors in biology/chemistry in 2005 and his Masters in biology in 2012. He is currently attending the University of Nebraska at Lincoln seeking a Doctoral degree in agronomy with an interest in soil microbial ecology and soil health.

Lance Gunderson served as the Director of Soil Health and New Test Development at Ward Laboratories for nearly eight years where he and his team implemented and performed Haney, PLFA, soil enzymes, aggregate stability and water holding capacity tests. In 2018, Lance also started Soil Health Innovations, which offers the SR-1 instrument for measuring soil respiration and consulting services surrounding the Haney Test. He is a founding member and President of Regen Ag Lab, which he hopes will be open for business in early 2020. Regen Ag Lab will continue to focus on agronomic tests designed to aid producers managing their operations under the regenerative ag model. We will offer many of the established tests as well as explore new testing options as they are developed.

Paul Jasa

Paul Jasa

Paul Jasa, Extension Engineer with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, develops and conducts educational programs related to crop production that improve profitability, build soil health, and reduce risks to the environment. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Nebraska and has worked with planting equipment and tillage system evaluation at the University since 1978. He works with soil and water conservation, residue management, crop rotations, cover crops and soil health.

Paul is a go-to resource on no-till planting equipment and system management to protect and build soil. He admits if there is a mistake to be made with no-till, he has either made it himself or has seen it done. He has learned from those mistakes and shares that information in presentations that stress the systems approach and the long-term benefits of continuous no-till.

“Soil health is important for healthy crops and reducing risks to the environment,” he said. “Healthy soil has good, aggregated soil structure that allows water and root penetration and air exchange. The biological life in the soil processes previous roots and residues, making nutrients available for the next crop. It also makes nutrients more available from the soil and any applied fertilizers. Beneficial soil life usually outnumbers destructive soil life, reducing the potential for crop damage from insects and diseases because of the natural cycling of predators and prey. A biologically active soil with living roots feeding the soil system is the key for soil health. A well-structured healthy soil, protected with residue or growing vegetation, is more resilient and more productive.

“We must make soil health a priority to have a resilient soil system and produce better crops in the future.”

Shane New

Shane New

Shane New, producer and entrepreneur from Holton, Kansas, is a longtime no-tiller who integrates cover crops into his diverse cropping and livestock operation. A graduate of Kansas State University and an active member of the Holton community, Shane has hosted several field days and shares his knowledge of what works, plus what hasn’t worked on his farm.

Soil Health U Shane NewShane believes that through good soil health we will achieve good human and animal health. Believing that producers should gain the understanding of the natural system, one which didn’t require any synthetic inputs, producers should begin improving the overall health of the soil and practice biomimicry, thus allowing the system to return to its more natural state.

Shane says the level of sedimentation being deposited into our rivers, streams and lakes is unsustainable. “We cannot keep kicking the can down the road any longer,” he said. “Our actions now on fixing soil health is the most important thing for the future of generations to come.”

Dale Strickler

Dale Strickler

Dale Strickler is an agronomist for Green Cover Seed, the nation’s leading cover crop specific seed company and a leader in the soil health movement, based out of Bladen, Nebraska. He grew up on a diversified farm near Colony, Kansas, then attended Kansas State university, achieving both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agronomy.

He taught agronomy at Cloud County Community College for 15 years, and has been an agronomist for Land O’Lakes, Star Seed and Valent USA prior to working with Green Cover Seed. He also has his own ranching operation near Jamestown, Kansas, where he puts his theories into practice with (usually) good results.  

Darrin Unruh

Darrin Unruh

I grew up on a farm in Reno County, Kansas, running a 4010 John Deere tractor pulling a 4-bottom plow.

Since then I have come full circle in terms of my views towards soil health. I took my first Holistic
Resource management course in the early 1990s and I have been involved in everything in agriculture from owning a commercial spray business to running a stocker / feeder calf operation. I’m currently working for Kauffman Seeds with a focus on forages, cover crop blends and soil health. I also manage a pellet mill making range cubes for cows utilizing in part, the screenings from the cover crop seeds that Kauffman Seeds produces.

My brother Stacy and I have a farming partnership and manage approximately 770 acres. We have a cow/calf operation and are focused on flex grazing to improve our soils. We graze several different kinds of forages including; native range, improved cool season perennials and annual diverse cover crop blends with a focus on improving the biology of the soil. We also have some alfalfa ground that we use as a cash crop. I currently serve on the board of directors for
the Kansas Forage and Grasslands Council as well as the National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance. I live in Pretty Prairie, Kansas, with my wife Carmon and our two daughters Pepper and Gabi.

Why I believe soil health is important
The health and well-being of everything from our livestock to wildlife to our own human health all starts with the biological health of the soil.

Why we should make soil health a priority
To have a more healthy, profitable and enjoyable life.

What has been your toughest challenge in building soil health to date?
Learning to be patient. Nature works on her own time frame.

What is keeping soil health from being utilized on every acre of farmland in the U.S.?
A misperception and a misunderstanding of what a biological system means and what it can do for your own operation. Once you have an understanding of a biological system vs. a chemical system, it becomes a lot easier to make the transition.

Nick Vos

Nick Vos

Nick Vos was born and raised on a vegetable farm in South Africa. Years later he has found himself a first generation American farmer and rancher in the southern plains of southwest kansas. Nick, his wife, Johanna, and two girls farm about 600 acres of mixed crops, run more than 200 head of sheep, and operate a seed and small ag retail business.

Ray Ward

Ray Ward

Ray Ward is president and co-owner of Ward Laboratories, Inc. He is ARCPACS certified Professional Soil Scientist with a Ph.D. in Soil Fertility from South Dakota State University, 1972. He has B.S. and M.S. degrees from University of Nebraska 1959 and 1961. Before founding Ward Laboratories, Inc. in Kearney he served as lab division manager of Servi-Tech, Inc in Dodge City, Kansas; associate professor at Oklahoma State University; and assistant professor and instructor at South Dakota State University.

He holds numerous memberships in scientific and honorary academic societies and organizations. Ray has received many awards including the Soil Science Industry Award and Soil Science Professional Service Award from Soil Science Society of America in 2005 and 2007, respectively. He received the J. Benton Jones, Jr. Award, which was presented to him at the 12th International Symposium on Soil and Plant Analysis, Chania, Greece, June 9, 2011. He received the Henry Beachell Distinguished Alumni Award from the Nebraska Ag Alumni 2016.

His goals for agriculture and agronomy are to help production agriculture use its resources as efficiently as possible, to provide information and data for developing soil health for the best use of soil and water resources while maintaining environmental quality, to be involved in “value-added” agriculture and to provide accurate laboratory data for managing productions enterprises.

Darin Williams

Darin Williams

Darin and Nancy Williams own and operate D & N Ag Farms in Waverly, Kansas. They farm 2,000 acres of diverse cash crops that consist of non-GMO soybeans, wheat, rye, barley, triticale, sunflowers and corn. They raise grass-fed and finished beef with their herd of British White Cattle. Layers, broilers and turkeys are also in the mix of grass-finished products. Diversity in the crops and livestock is how Williams helps the biology in the soil stay alive and rejuvenated.

Two years ago, Darin and his dad started Natural Ag Solution LLC in Moran, Kansas, to help supply cover crop seed. The company is a non-GMO seed supplier and makes custom wildlife blends. Teaching customers and helping them understand regenerative ag principals comes first. Selling them seed comes second. Whether it is cash crops, livestock or deer plots organic matter is the key to profitability.

Tom Roth

Tom Roth

Tom Roth began his Soil Conservation Service career as a summer trainee in Holton, Kansas, in 1983. After graduating from Kansas State University in 1985, he started his full time career at Kingman, Kansas. During his time with Natural Resources Conservation Service , I worked in Ness, Stevens, Cloud, Clay, and Riley county field offices. While stationed at the Clay county field office, Roth went back to college to earn his master’s degree. The topic of his thesis was cropping systems in South Central Kansas. He has 30 years of field experience.
For the past five years, Roth has worked on seeding a variety of species on ground south of Leonardville, Kansas.

Candy J. Thomas

Candy J. Thomas

Candy J. Thomas got her start in 1994 working for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Missouri as a soil conservationist and later holding the titles of resource conservationist and district conservationist while there. In 2010, Candy was added to the National Education Center cadre in Fort Worth, Texas, as training instructor and National Conservation Boot Camp coordinator. In 2013, she transferred to the Kansas NRCS State Office in Salina as the Kansas state agronomist. As of 2015, Candy was promoted to the position of regional soil health specialist for Kansas and Nebraska with her duty station being at the Kansas State Office. She assists farmers and ranchers with indicators of soil health and training the NRCS staff on the benefits of soil health management systems. In 2018, she was given additional duties as the content manager for the Science and Technology Training Library which hosts new webinars weekly and houses over 1000 webinars available to the public on many topics such as soil health, organic farming, and technical topics involving water quality, engineering and forestry.

Candy completed her bachelor’s degree in horticulture with a minor in agronomy at Northwest Missouri State University and a master’s degree in agronomy at Iowa State University.

Karen Woodrich

Karen Woodrich

Karen A. Woodrich began her professional career with the USDA NRCS as a Soil Conservationist in 1998 in Portage, Michigan. After working in Iowa, Illinois and Kentucky, Karen was selected as the State Conservationist in Kansas in 2018. Through collaborative partnerships and innovative solutions, Karen and her team of engineers, soil scientists, range and soil conservationists, technicians, and biologists are working with farmers, ranchers, and forest users to balance natural resource priorities with agriculture and forest production goals.

Karen is a native of central Wisconsin, with a dairy farm and Christmas tree business background. Karen holds a bachelor’s in soil science from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, and has completed the USDA Senior Executive Service Leadership Development Program. She now resides in Salina, Kansas with her husband.

Dale Younker

Dale Younker

Dale grew up on a diversified farm near Hays, Kansas, and received his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Fort Hays State University.  He has worked for Kansas NRCS in western Kansas for the last 31 years has been in his current position as the Soil Health Specialist since 2014.  His primary responsibility is to provide technical assistance on cropping systems that improve overall soil health to NRCS field staff and producers across western Kansas.  Dale also owns and operates a farm in Ellis and Rush County, Kansas, where he uses a diverse and intensive no-till cropping system that includes several different cash crops along with cover crops.  He and his two sons also operate a custom farming business in Ellis and surrounding counties.