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. In 2021, Russell broke the North Carolina all-time dryland soybean yield record using the principles of soil health. Russell's operation focuses on maximizing profits and direct consumer marketing for all their products, including corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, pastures beef and pork. He is the co-founder of Farmers Reserve Distillery, 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.
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.
Adam and his brother, Seth, found their way into regenerative practices to help with weed control and to bring them back from the brink of bankruptcy. Adam and his brother farm grow corn, soybeans, cotton and rice on approximately 8000 acres near Cotton Plant, AR. Their farm is all no-till and they use diverse cover crops and livestock integration to improve soil health. Adam and Seth have expanded into additional hi-margin businesses, including cattle, cover crop seed sales, and a rice mill to improve ROI. Adam is an entomologist, regenerative ag specialist and viking.
Dr. Hatfield received his Ph.D. from Iowa State University in 1975 in the area of Agricultural Climatology and Statistics a M.S. in Agronomy from the University of Kentucky in 1972, and B.S. from Kansas State University in Agronomy in 1971. He served on the faculty of the University of California-Davis as a biometeorologist from 1975 through 1983 and then joined USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Lubbock, Texas, as the Research Leader of the Plant Stress and Water Conservation Research Unit from 1983 through 1989. He was appointed Laboratory Director of the National Soil Tilth Laboratory in 1989 (renamed the Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in October 2009).
He served as the USDA-ARS representative to the Heinz Center project on the State of the Nation's Ecosystems, the Key Indicators Initiative, National Audubon Society project on Waterbirds on Working Lands, and Agricultural Air Quality Task Force for USDA, and is the lead author on the Agriculture section of the Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.3 on "The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity". He was part of the IPCC process that received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and currently serves on the IPCC special committee to evaluate the impact of extreme events on ecosystems. He served as a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, and Past-President of the American Society of Agronomy (2007). He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Soil and Water Conservation Society and a member of American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society. He has numerous awards from different organizations.
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.
Since 2013, Coffee County, TN NRCS District Conservationist Adam Daugherty has been working with producers in the transitioning of long term no-till corn, soybean, and wheat production systems into higher functioning agro-ecological systems. Adam started with a few committed producers and has grown to over 70 producers implementing diverse high biomass row crop systems on over 50% of the county’s 53,000 cropland acres. Adam plans to share how and why they started this transition, where these systems have taken these producers, as well as where they can go with these systems. During early adoption many of the promoted benefits of these systems were readily observed, but over this journey many unexpected benefits as well as challenges have arisen. Adam will share the good, the bad, and the ugly of their journey as well as the social and economic impacts this journey has had on the producers as well as the local and surrounding agricultural community.
TN NRCS District Conservationist Adam Daugherty has been working with producers in the transitioning of long term no-till corn, soybean, and wheat production systems into higher functioning agro-ecological systems. Adam started with a few committed producers and has grown to over 70 producers implementing diverse high biomass row crop systems on over 50% of the county’s 53,000 cropland acres. Adam will share the good, the bad, and the ugly of their journey as well as the social and economic impacts this journey has had on the producers as well as the local and surrounding agricultural community.
ERIN MEYER, MSFS, RD
A registered dietitian and chef with a master’s degree in sustainable food systems, Erin is a connector of chefs, healthcare professionals, educators, and farmers in supporting sustainable food systems through experiential education.
Erin’s purpose is to work with others to improve our food system. To accomplish this, she believes that educators, culinary professionals, healthcare professionals, and farmers have to work in tandem to build regenerative food systems with a focus on Culture, Economic Viability, Social Impact, and Environmental Health.
By doing so, students, culinary professionals, medical professionals, and eaters will come into contact with this system, understanding that they also have a responsibility and a role to change the system. They go forward to teach others, to have better methods of purchasing, to pull back from their own daily experience to understand the impact of their decisions on the whole system.
Brian is an agricultural engineer, Nuffield farming scholar, and student of soil. He has degrees in farm management, biosystems engineering, and graduated from the dairy farming school of hard knocks. He has a passion for combining science and engineering with common sense to fix broken nutrient, water, and energy cycles and make regenerative agriculture a reality.
Mitchell Hora is a 7th generation Iowa farmer and the Founder/CEO of Continuum Ag. His farm has stressed the importance of no-till since 1978 and has become a hub for innovation in the adoption of diverse cover crops, interseeded covers, relay cropping, small grains, and other soil health practices. Mitchell started Continuum Ag while attending Iowa State and has built it's footprint to 40 states and 15 countries. The company launched the first soil health data tool, TopSoil, in 2020 and has amassed the largest, private soil health dataset. Today, Mitchell and his team are working with farmers, consultants, and sustainability focused organizations to improve the on-farm monetization of soil health.
Liz is a soil and ecosystem scientist with experience in soil testing and analyses, carbon and conservation practice modeling, and is the co-developer of the Haney soil health test. Liz’s purpose, drive and passion are helping to improve producer profitability, environmental sustainability, and human health through regenerative practices and soil health. Throughout her career she has developed an expansive network of scientists, thought leaders, consultants, farmers and ranchers within the sustainable agriculture space. Liz loves nothing more than creating community and is skilled at coordinating and conducting educational events, workshops and conferences bringing together today’s leading innovators in regenerative agriculture. Liz is also a co-owner of Soil Regen, co-founder of Regen Mills and Heritage Ground with Russell.