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2023 Beyond the Yield Speakers 

We have a line-up of distinguished speakers who will share their knowledge and experiences.

Hope you can join us!

Jimmy Emmons

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Jimmy Emmons and his family own and manage 2,000 cropland acres and 5,000 rangeland acres in Dewey County, OK. The farm was converted to no-till in 1995, and Jimmy later went a few steps further and adopted crop rotations, cover crops and planned grazing management to decrease soil erosion and increase water infiltration. In addition to conventional soil testing, Emmons uses specialized soil and plant tissue testing to monitor soil fertility. This helps him adjust fertilizer application rates by crediting the system for nutrients supplied by soil organic matter.  In 2017, Emmons Farm received the inaugural Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award Given, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources. Emmons serves as President of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts and on the board of the Dewey County Conservation District. 

Lance Gunderson, MS

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Lance Gunderson founded Regen Ag Lab in 2019 after spending 17 years leading the soil health testing division as the Director of Soil Health and New Test Development at another lab.  Regen Ag Lab offers Haney and PLFA tests, as well as soil enzymes, water stable aggregates, water holding capacity, TOC, along with more conventional soil, plant tissue and water analyses. Lance is a renowned expert on the Haney Test and PLFA test (fungal and bacterial test). His experience at reviewing over 100,000 soil health samples gives him unique insight into how soil health results relate to management in regenerative agriculture systems.  In 2018, Lance also founded Soil Health Innovations, which offers the SR-1 instrument for measuring soil respiration and consulting services surrounding the Haney Test developed by Dr. Rick Haney. 

Dr. Rick Haney

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Chief Scientific Officer for Regen Ag Lab.  Rick is a former Soil Chemist/Microbiologist and Research Farmer at the USDA-ARS Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory in Temple, TX, and creator of the Haney Soil Health Test. Rick grew up farming in Custer County, OK, before he earned his PhD in soil microbial ecology and chemistry from Texas A&M University. Rick has researched soil ecology and soil testing for more than 20 years. Rick was awarded the USDA's 2017 Plains Area and 2017 National Technology Transfer Awards. Rick was also awarded the 2018 USDA REE Under Secretary's award for the Haney Test and the 2018 Secretary of Agriculture Honor Award for the USDA's strategic goal of strengthening the stewardship of private lands through technology and research.

Russell Hedrick

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Russell is a first-generation farmer in the foothills of Hickory, North Carolina, where he farms JRH Grain Farms, LLC. Russell is known as one of the most progressive young farmers in the country. Russell has been a featured producer in Top Producer Magazine, Furrow Magazine, and on RFD TV, Ag PhD, and National No-till Farmer for profitably farming by reducing fertilizer inputs and using soil health practices on cash crops. In 2017 he won the North Carolina Corn Yield contest, the first person to win in the state using regenerative practices.  Russell's operation focuses on maximizing profits and direct consumer marketing for all their products, including corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, pastured beef and pork. He is the founder of Farmers Reserve Distillery, co-founder of Regen Mills and Heritage Ground, co-owner of Soil Regen, LLC, and has partnered with Foothills Distillery producing the first bourbon in North Carolina since prohibition. In 2021, Russell won the North Carolina Soybean Yield contest, having the highest NC soybean yield through 2021.

Kelly and DeAnna Lozensky

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Kelly & DeAnna are raising small grains and a family in central North Dakota.
Together they steward a 2200 acre No-Till plant based, grain farm. They began
transitioning into regenerative principles in 2013 and have since managed to
eliminate seed treatments, all fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides & pre harvest
desiccants. Since 2019 their crops are fed 100% by native soil biology, sunlight and
rain. Through a system they call IMOS (Indigenous Micro Organism Solution) they are
introducing farmers to the potential that native biology can play in their soil
systems. Kelly & DeAnna recognized the need for “better”grains and decided to find
a way to take a portion of the bushels they grow and sell them directly to consumers,
restaurants and bakeries. This idea evolved into an emerging food brand “Guardian
Grains” where they now offer whole grains, stone milled flour and whole nutrition
pasta produced from their French heritage wheat. Kelly & DeAnna believe that
human health, animal health and planet health all depend on soil health.

Roy Pfaltzgraff

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Roy Pfaltzgraff, his wife Barb, and his parents operate a 2200 acre dryland family farm, Pfaltzgraff Farms, LLC, south of Haxtun, CO, where he was born and raised. Roy's father has always had a pioneering vision and spirit, but he could never imagine the farm as it is now. Roy’s dad planted crops with no-till practices in the 80’s, but when Roy returned to take over operation six years ago, the changes really took root. The farm has evolved from raising two to three crops a year to sixteen crops this last year and the current count is at least twelve for 2023. While continuing to use commercial chemicals and fertilizers, they have also created a diverse cropping rotation that minimizes these inputs at the same time maximizing the benefits from inter-cropping, increased soil health and biodiversity. Roy has integrated new techniques from seeding through harvest that minimizes specialty equipment while doing everything possible to increase soil health, while conserving residue and moisture. The efforts have started to reap rewards, the farm is producing average yields in drought years with no loss in quality and is able to handle the extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent. Their inputs have dropped over seventy five percent which has a major impact to both bottom line and the farm's carbon footprint. Roy has been able to see improvements in the soil, the most notable is raising organic matter in the top ten inches of his fields from the area's average of less than 1% to a farm average of 2.5%. He, along with Barb's help, has started direct marketing of some of the farm's products sold under Pfz Farms which are found on line and in farmer's markets along the Front Range of Colorado. Roy’s new methods have caught the attention of others in the agricultural industry. He has been interviewed for regional and national publications, including DTN Progressive Farmer, Denver Business Journal, Edible Denver and most recently in the Farm Journal being called the most unconventional farmer in the United States. He has also been invited to many speaking engagements including being a guest lecturer for HarvardX courses in soil health and is working with his wife to develop a marketing workbook for farmers looking to step outside of the traditional marketing system. Roy also serves on the board of Colorado Conservation Tillage Association which is an organization that promotes soil health methods.

Blake Vince

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Blake is a fifth generation farmer from Merlin, Ontario, Canada. Working with his father Elwin, they produce commercial corn, soybeans and winter wheat, cover crop for seed on approximately 1,200 acres. Their farm management practices are centered on soil health. The Vinces are considered to be no-till pioneers in their corner of Canada. They adapted to no-till farming techniques in the early 1980s. This was prior to John Deere entering the no-till marketplace with their single disk opener. Blake is a 2013 Canadian Nuffeld Scholar. "I am very fortunate to have been taught, from a young age, the merits of no-till farming," Blake says. "My claim to fame, as a 50 year old farmer, is that I have never used a moldboard plough." The Vince's objective is to leave the soil we manage in better condition for future generations. "This is true, regardless if our farm will be owned by my children or someone else's children. I am of the opinion that soil is not an infinite resource," Blake says. Today, in his corner of Southwestern Ontario, which is surrounded by the Great Lakes, he says there is a reversion away from no-till back towards conventional tillage. This has increased pressure on adjacent water bodies with nutrient loading due to soil erosion." With the use of satellite imagery, it is easy to see the runoff impact from farm fields in Southwestern Ontario," Blake says." This concerns me greatly since my family derives our drinking water from Lake Erie. Ongoing tillage practices are contributing to the annual recurrence of blue/green algae blooms in Lake Erie."

Darin Williams

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Darin and Nancy Williams live in Waverly, KS. Their 2,000-acre operation includes a complex rotation of non-GMO corn and soybeans, grain sorghum, cereal crops such as wheat, triticale, rye and barley, and cover crops that include sudangrass, millet and sunflowers. In addition, the husband-wife team raises a herd of grass-fed British White cattle and Katahdin hair sheep, as well as small flocks of heritage turkeys and chickens — both broilers and layers. They purchased the cattle in 2013 and have grown to about 70 head, with the hope to eventually raise many of the animals to sell as direct market, grass-fed beef. 

Dr. James White

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I am a Professor in the Department of Plant Biology at Rutgers University. I teach courses that pertain to the biology and ecology of fungi. My research involves evaluation of the function of the plant microbiome (non-pathogenic microbes that colonize healthy plants). The overall hypothesis of this research is that bacterial and fungal endophytes of the plant microbiome function to defend plants from stresses and provide nutrients that enhance growth and development of plants. Recently, we described the rhizophagy cycle where microbes alternate between a free-living soil phase and a root-dependent phase within root cells. Microbes acquire nutrients in the soil phase and nutrients are extracted from microbes oxidatively within root cells. The rhizophagy cycle may be an important mechanism that enables plants to obtain nutrients from symbiotic microbes. A secondary goal of this research is to obtain microbes that can be formulated into products and used in cultivation of horticultural plants.

Wheat Field

Bringing together professionals, farmers, researchers, and industry leaders from the region to share knowledge, foster collaboration and drive the sustainable ag movement forward.

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