Questions With The Speakers - Teddy Gentry & Burke Teichert

By
Apr 7, 2016

Here is our fifth 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 April 15th. Enjoy and get your questions ready! In the weeks to come, we will share their answers here. This installment will feature Teddy Gentry and Burke Teichert.

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Teddy Gentry

1. What do you see as the potential impact of regenerative grassland agriculture?
I think it is an incredible opportunity to take non-productive farmland and to regenerate it with the proper livestock systems like mob grazing. People can use hogs to regenerate rough areas of the farms. There is a lot of land that can be productive, not just sustainable, but to regenerate it where it is productive.

2. What do you believe are the big strategies and behaviors required to move us toward this?
The first thing would be education. Educating people not just about the systems, but genetics that work best in your system.

3. Why are you doing things the way you are today?
Not to just be sustainable, but to actually build more quality soil the longer I am doing it.

4. What brought you to this point? Was there a defining moment that sparked a change?
I think it was more of a slow education over a period of time. One thing led to another. Being introduced to rotational grazing in 1986 by a friend from New Zealand was probably my first step.

5. Where or to whom do you look for guidance and inspiration?
I learned from a lot of different people. From everyone that was doing anything related to low input and more natural approach to livestock production. Not just about the genetics, but about the forages, the soil, and how to make the soil healthier.

6. What is an important lesson you learned from a mistake?
When I first started rotational grazing, I made a lot of mistakes. I ate grass too short. My regraze period was too short. My genetics were not adapted to the system.

7. What do you think is the most important first step someone in your field can take to move in the right direction?
Education. Research what you are going to get into. Study successful people. Educate yourself before you jump in with both feet. Read "Before You Have a Cow"!

8. What will be the # 1 take home message from people listening to you speak?
That it is okay to make a profit off your farm. The genetics and the systems are available today to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to make a profit. The cattle business is not as complicated as some people make it out to be.

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Burke Teichert

1. What do you see as the potential impact of regenerative grassland agriculture?
Yields of pasture lands and crops will be, at least, maintained or in many cases significantly increased. The flow of carbon from land to atmosphere will be reversed in a dramatic way. Evaporation will be reduced, water infiltration will increase, water quality will improve and erosion will be dramatically reduced. Biodiversity will increase.

2. What do you believe are the big strategies and behaviors required to move us toward this?
No-till farming combined with cover crops and planned, time controlled, adaptive grazing.

3. Why are you doing things the way you are today?
I am consulting and speaking with the end goal of persuading with good information, reason, and personal experience to, as many people as I can that there is much room to improve their economic situation and simultaneously improve the land on which they operate.

4. What brought you to this point? Was there a defining moment that sparked a change?
If there was a defining moment, it was meeting Alan Savory in the late 70s. That opened my mind to the power of good grazing management. Since then I have been blessed with a rapid succession of teachers and mentors who have helped me learn and understand “systems” and holistic thought and apply it to cattle breeding and range management.

5. Where or to whom do you look for guidance and inspiration?
God, first. Then there are too many others to mention, but Gabe Brown has helped me understand that the principles of soil management that I was learning and using for cattle and range management could also be used for farming and that farming would be better with the integration of livestock.

6. What is an important lesson you learned from a mistake?
Don’t wait to begin to destock in times of lower rainfall. When the plants are screaming for longer recovery times, provide longer recovery. If you have been providing, through feeding and supplementation, a pampered environment for you livestock and want to change that, either take that slowly to avoid a horrendous cull rate or trade out your cows for some that are already adapted to your natural environment.

7. What do you think is the most important first step someone in your field can take to move in the right direction?
Open your mind, listen and learn! I could tell some good stories.

8. What will be the # 1 take home message from people listening to you speak?
Learn, even memorize, some basic principles. Find good examples as close to home as possible. Move forward.

For more information and questions on the conference go to our website. See you back here for the next installment.

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