Hallway Conversations

Welcome to The Grassfed Exchange “Hallway Conversations.” Instead of taking the powerpoints virtual, we’re taking the chats with thought-leaders and friends online in what we plan to be a monthly gathering of like-minded friends seeking to learn from each other.

Episode 1: Reframing Fire

In our community, we know that fire can be either a tool or a tragedy, and we want to transform fear into proactive stewardship. This topic is full of nuance and couldn’t be more timely in the wake of the devastating wildfires raging across the West. We wove together a small group of folks that have either been harmed by it, are trying to stop it, or are learning to use it better, and it was a barn-burner of a lineup. Renowned agro-ecologist Nicole Masters led a riveting conversation exploring the wisdom of Glenn Elzinga of Alderspring Ranch (Idaho), Charles Massy (Australia), and the youth of Brittany Cole Bush (California), a grazier seeking to be a part of the solution. This conversation was originally posted on Facebook Live, so for those of you who prefer to listen rather than watch we now made it available as a podcast.

Episode 2: How to Get More Right-Sized Processing Capacity

Are you grassfed, organic or a local producer? With food systems coming under increasing pressure, local processing has been a hot topic. Join us in a deep discussion around how we can increase access to right-sized processing for specialty livestock producers.

Episode 3: Sacred Cow

Special guests Diana Rodgers and Alejandro Carrillo. Moderated by Chad Bitler. “Is eating red meat unhealthy? Are cattle bad for the environment? Is it unethical to eat meat?" As consumers, our dietary choices have never been more confusing... Sacred Cow dives into all of these topics with rigorous science and expertise to support the stance that not only is red meat part of a healthy diet, but cattle can actually play a role in improving our environment.

Episode 4: A Seat at the Table

Join us as Kimberly Ratcliff, Caney Creek Ranch, TX, and Dugan Bad Warrior, Zuya Sica Ranch, SD, share their leadership journey. They have both built regenerative enterprises, finding practical solutions to overcome the challenges presented by location, finances and culture. In 2008, Kimberly founded the 100 Ranchers Inc., a community-Based Organization (CBO) with the goal of serving agricultural producers who are dedicated to work together to increase their bottom line and improve their livelihood by producing safe, clean, efficient, and marketable products. Dugan began Zuya Sica Ranch in 2007 with 22 cows, and today runs over 350 commercial cows with the goal of switching to grass-fed cattle. After their presentations, the online audience will be invited to participate in a discussion addressing issues, challenges, and opportunities presented by the speakers including: 1) Access to resources such as land and financing 2) Suggestions and efforts to affect change in financing 3) Challenges and solutions to limited market access (geographic, cultural, product readiness, buyer bias issues) 4) Leadership, engagement, mentoring, and the power of collaboration 5) The role of the Grassfed Exchange now and in the future

Episode 5: Strong Roots and Growing Wings

Join Julie James Ott of James Ranch located in Durango, Co and Meagan Lannan of Barney Creek Livestock in Paradise valley, MT for what promises to be an insightful, unique and fun conversation about their passion for inter-generational ranching. Both of these women are talented in thinking holistic and outside the box to ignite a sense of purpose and autonomy in young people. Julie is one of five children, who found innovative ways to return to their parents land and establish complimentary enterprises. All of Julie and John's sons, now grown, have been active in the ranch Market, either as sales reps working directly with the customers, and/or producing food to be sold there. Meagan and Pete's two children have their own ranch enterprises. Maloi (14) runs her own flock of sheep and has published a children's coloring-in book called "Don't call it dirt." Liam (12) helps around the ranch and raises his own compost worms, creating a unique worm tea. These two women offer unique perspectives in how to create the room for the next generation to thrive.

Episode 6: Soil Carbon Gold Rush

The possibility of farmers to get paid for storing carbon in healthier soil has been emerging for several years, but now the subject is getting red hot. Multiple parties and players are developing programs or policies to actually make this happen. It’s still very early, which means a both a lot of buzz and a lot of confusion. Come join in a conversation with a few farmers that have done their own hard homework, and one seasoned veteran of “ecosystem service” markets, to get a sense of what’s going on. This conversation is unlikely to arrive at any firm conclusions, but will hopefully enlighten participants about the current lay of the land and where both possibilities and pitfalls may lie.

Episode 7: An Inside Look at Marketing Grassfed Products

With years of experience, Tim Joseph of Maple Hill Creamery and Carrie Richards of Richards Grassfed Beef will be imparting wisdom around lessons learned when marketing grassfed products. This promises to be a deep-dive, jam-packed with impactful, useful information for any who are just beginning to or already marketing their own premium products. Join us in asking questions and sharing insights into their successes, challenges, and experiences. This is your opportunity to have a hallway conversation with two leaders in grassfed marketing.

Episode 8: How Do We Know If We are Moving Forward or Backward

How do we verify that we are meeting our ecological goals? How do we know if we are trending towards improved soil health, functioning water cycles, and biodiversity? Many of us see and feel these things intuitively and with our five senses as we walk our land, but how do we know and share our trends with confidence and strong data? And how can that data best support our management decisions? Dorn and Shane will discuss how they chose what to measure, how to design the data collection, and what emerging technologies exist that can give us more data, faster, and with accuracy. They will go over some of their own systems and journey in monitoring and research, but also discuss the low hanging fruit, and where one might wish to start when monitoring outcomes. Throughout the conversation, they’ll discuss the value and challenges of open source technology, and contributing to collective research and large data sets that can guide policy and bolster support for regenerative grazing and farming practices.

Episode 9: Shift Happens

Like a steel post, ranching communities have been strong and resistant in managing ongoing stress, from long hours, family business dynamics, unpredictable weather, drought, fire, insect plagues, health, however now with Covid there are increasing pressures with market access, sourcing materials, health concerns. We are all feeling the stress, and even steel can reaching a breaking point. These are not times to be battling it alone, with rural health issues escalating dramatically in the past year, whats worked in the past, isn't necessarily the best tool for an uncertain future.

Episode 10: 30x30

Grassfed Exchange has always sought to be a forum to have open conversations about tough, forward looking issues related to regenerative grassland agriculture. One of those hot topics is known simply as “30 x 30” which is short for a federal goal of “conserving at least 30% of US lands and waters by 2030.” Although the GFE community likely already widely appreciates that working lands (and especially grazing lands) can also be wisely managed to achieve conservation goals, but there is understandable concern about what the programs might entail as either opportunities or threats to the ranching community. Please tune in to hear from Lesli Allison and Melinda Cep about this initiative.

Episode 11: Beyond Grass -Bridging Feed Gaps and Alternative Crops

Please join us to listen in on a conversation between two experienced grass farmers, Dale Strickler and Chris Grotegut. The conversation will dig into the implications of using cover crops and other strategies to improve the ecological, economic and practical outcomes on your farm or ranch. You won’t want to miss it!