Questions with the Speakers - Blaine Hitzfield & Dr. Douglas Woodford

By
Mar 29, 2016

Here is our fourth installment of our blog series “Questions with the Speakers” for the upcoming conference on April 27 and 28 in Perry, GA. In preparation for the conference, we asked these speakers a common set of questions concerning the future of grassfed production and the story of their experiences and insights that led to their leadership in our industry. This will be a short sampling of what you can learn and discuss while attending. If you have not signed up for the conference yet go here. There is still early bird pricing through March 31st. Enjoy and get your questions ready! In the weeks to come, we will share their answers here. This installment will feature Blaine Hitzfield and Dr. Douglas Woodford.


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Blaine Hitzfield

1. What do you see as the potential impact of regenerative grassland agriculture?
I believe that regenerative grassland agriculture has the potential to bring more people back to the land in the next 15-20 years compared to any other segment of agriculture. Not only do our lands desperately need regeneration but consumers are also grasping its importance. This is a timely combination that represents an exciting new era of opportunities for the family farm.

2. What do you believe are the big strategies and behaviors required to move us toward this?
As consumer distrust continues to heighten, we as farmers and ranchers will no longer be able to ignore the social implications of our production choices. Those who are first to embrace both the environmental and social value of regenerative agriculture will be positioned for the greatest economic opportunity and long-term sustainability.

3. Why are you doing things the way you are today?
It started off 16 years ago with a conviction to regenerate the land and thus provide better food to consumers.

4. What brought you to this point? Was there a defining moment that sparked a change?
A family health crisis opened our eyes to a broken agriculture and food system of which we were active participants. The choice was clear: We could remain as part of the problem, or we could take a leap of faith and seek to become part of the solution.

5. Where or to whom do you look for guidance and inspiration?
Our community of patrons has become one of our greatest sources of inspiration. Key training/educational resources: Grassfed Exchange, ACRES USA, SCORRE, Holistic Management International, Stockman Grass Farmer, Graze Magazine.

6. What is an important lesson you learned from a mistake?
We spent a decade making big mistakes and going backwards economically. This was mostly due to stubbornly thinking, we could figure things out on our own. Lesson learned: Know what you know, know what you don’t know, and know who knows what you don’t.

7. What do you think is the most important first step someone in your field can take to move in the right direction?
First take steps to evaluate and assemble your social/people resources and then let this guide your land management plan and economic strategy. Providing a fertile seedbed for human creativity and freedom of entrepreneurial expression has been the single most important step we have taken to increase the overall effectiveness of our family’s farming operation.

8. What will be the # 1 take home message from people listening to you speak?
How to overcome the single greatest barrier to your farm's untapped direct marketing potential.

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Dr. Douglas Woodford

1. What do you see as the potential impact of regenerative grassland agriculture?
The production of nutrient dense food is dependent on healthy soil, both in meat and vegetable production. Animals properly managed are the key to soil health.

2. What do you believe are the big strategies and behaviors required to move us toward this?
Reversing the mistaken belief that animal fats cause heart disease. It is well documented in the medical literature that there is no association between saturated fat intake and heart disease. Second, we need to educate people that how their beef is produced is the key to nutrient dense beef with healthy fat.

3. Why are you doing things the way you are today?
Because the key to health is nutrient dense food. Only cows in their natural environment will contain the proper nutrition to promote human health.

4. What brought you to this point? Was there a defining moment that sparked a change?
I was searching to correct my own health problems. The defining moment was understanding that food regulates gene expression and all common modern diseases. Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart Disease and Stroke are all nutritional diseases.

5. Where or to whom do you look for guidance and inspiration?
A group of physicians like Eric Westman at Duke, Stephen Phinney at UC-Davis and Jeff Volek at University of Connecticut who were willing to study how high fat diets promote human health.

6. What is an important lesson you learned from a mistake?
In starting our farm and grass-fed beef production, I did not initially take the time to research and purchase the breed of cows that can thrive in a grass fed system.

7. What do you think is the most important first step someone in your field can take to move in the right direction?
For a medical doctor you have to get your mind out of the box and realize you know very little. You have to do your own research to find the truth.

8. What will be the # 1 take home message from people listening to you speak?
That the diet that will provide healthy aging is a diet high in monounsaturated and saturated fat from healthy animals raised in their natural environment and that is also very low in sugar.

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