Nicole Masters is an independent agroecologist, pattern thinker, author and educator. For nearly 2 decades Nicole has been recognized as a knowledgeable and dynamic speaker on the topic of soil health.
Her experience has spanned diverse sectors from community gardens and horticulture, to vermiculture, compost tea production, and diverse multi-species systems. Her company, Integrity Soils delivers coaching and educational programs to producers and organisations spanning over 24 million acres. In 2021 Integrity Soils shifted away from in-person consultancy, to focus on training the next generation of coaches.
Her book titled “For the Love of Soil; Strategies to Regenerate our Food Production Systems” showcases examples of the tools and principles producers are using to regenerate their soils.
When the roads are good, you’ll find her traveling in her Ford 350, horse trailer in tow, working alongside producers to build soil and sink her carbon emissions.
The Berry Center Executive Director Mary Berry and her brother, Den Berry, were raised by their parents, Wendell and Tanya Berry, at Lanes Landing Farm in Henry County, Kentucky from the time she was six years old. She attended Henry County public schools and graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1981. She farmed for a living in Henry County starting out in dairy farming, growing Burley tobacco, and later diversifying to organic vegetables, pastured poultry and grass fed beef. Mary is married to Trimble County, Kentucky farmer, Steve Smith, who started the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farming endeavor in the state of Kentucky. If daughters Katie Johnson, Virginia Aguilar and Tanya Smith choose to stay in Henry County, they will be the ninth generation of their family to live and farm there.
Mary currently serves on the Boards of Directors of United Citizens Bank in New Castle, Kentucky, the Schumacher Center for a New Economics in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and Sterling College in Vermont. She speaks all over the country as a proponent of agriculture of the middle, in defense of small farmers, and in the hope of restoring a culture and an economy that has been lost in rural America. Her writings have appeared in various publications and collections, including “Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming, and Our Future” (Princeton Agricultural Press, 2016) and the introduction for a new edition of essays, “Our Sustainable Table”, Robert Clark, ed. (Counterpoint, 2017).
Cattle Rancher, Las Damas Ranch, Chihuahua, MEXICO
Director, Pasticultores del Desierto, MEXICO
Alejandro joined his family ranch in 2004, after a successful career as an IT consultant in the United States and other American and European countries. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and an MS in Technical Management from the Johns Hopkins University.
Tired of the constant drought and suffering that comes with traditional ranching in the Chihuahuan desert, Alejandro searched for better ways to do things. In 2006, he adapted the principles of Holistic Planed Grazing Management to the ranch. The change from continuous grazing to planned grazing brought many challenges as well as positive results, such as tripling the ranch’s carrying capacity while lowering his inputs. The first thing Alejandro took on was educating himself on holistic, regenerative, and profitable ways of ranching in sync with Nature. He and his colleagues traveled to Argentina, Africa, and the United States to learn from successful ranchers.
Alejandro is also the president of Pasticultores del Desierto, a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide ongoing education for cattle ranchers and to promote Holistic Planned Grazing across the world’s deserts. Pasticultores del Desierto means the culture of desert grasslands. Alejandro’s credo is to mimic and respect Nature to stay and thrive in the cattle business.
Fred Provenza is from Colorado where he worked on the DeLuca ranch near Salida while earning a B.S. Degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University. Upon receiving a B.S. degree in 1973 he became ranch manager. He and his wife Sue left the ranch in 1975 so he could work as a research assistant and technician at Utah State University, where he earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. He was a professor in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University from 1982 to 2009. He is now Professor Emeritus and he and his wife Sue are living once again in the mountains of Colorado. For the past 38 years, his group produced ground-breaking research that laid the foundations for what is now known as behavior-based management. That work inspired researchers and managers in disciplines including nutrition and foraging behavior of wild and domestic animals and humans, phytochemical ecology, pasture and rangeland science and management, restoration ecology and targeted grazing, wildlife-damage management, animal welfare, and rural sociology and development. Along with colleagues and students, he has authored or co-authored over 250 publications in scientific journals and books. He has been an invited speaker at over 350 conferences. These efforts led to the formation in 2001 of an international network of scientists and land managers from five continents. That consortium, known as BEHAVE (www.behave.net), integrates behavioral principles and processes with local knowledge to foster healthy relationships among soil, plants, herbivores, and people as social, economic, and ecological environments ever transform. Integrating understanding of behavior with local knowledge eases transitions as systems change and alters peoples’ philosophies and practices from rigid and unyielding to fluid and malleable. We no longer view organisms, including ourselves, as machines and genes as destiny. Rather, we learn to work with behavioral relationships to create opportunities as environments ever transform. For these efforts, he has received numerous awards for research, teaching, and mentoring. These awards represent the productivity that flowed from warm professional and personal relationships with over 75 graduate students, post-doctoral students, visiting scientists, and colleagues he worked with during the past 35 years. In 1994 he received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Society for Range Management, and in 1999 he received the W.R. Chapline Research Award, the most prestigious award given by the Society for Range Management for achievements in research. He was named professor of the year for the College of Natural Resources at Utah State University in 1989 and 2003. He also received the two most prestigious awards given by Utah State University: in 1999, the Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award for his work with graduate students; and in 2008, the D. Wynne Thorne Award for outstanding lifetime achievements in research.
Kimberly Ratcliff is the manager of Caney Creek Ranch, a diversified ranching operation located in East Central Texas, started by her parents Wesley and Marie Ratcliff. Kimberly joined the ranch in 2007 after leaving her job with Bloomberg a New York City financial firm where she was a Branding Specialist.
Kimberly Ratcliff manages and helps operate the family business producing registered Charbray Cattle, from which bulls, replacement heifers, semen and embryos are sold national and international. The ranch also produces commercial cattle and livestock feed resource.
In 2016, Kimberly Ratcliff launched Farm to Freezer Meat Company LLC which purchases finished cattle from Caney Creek Ranch’s with the mission to provide the highest quality ranch-direct beef possible, in a simple, convenient, and responsible manner.
Kimberly is the founder and President of the 100 Ranchers Inc., a community-based organization (CBO) founded in 2008 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.
Kimberly Ratcliff is Board Member of the following: Independent Cattlemen’s Association, Capital Farm Credit Advisory Committee, USDA Advisory Committee for Minority Farmers and Ranchers, USDA Trade Advisory Board, PVAMU department of Agriculture Advisory Committee and Socially Disadvantage Farmers Ranchers Policy.
Kimberly Ratcliff has a bachelor’s degree from Long Island University, Ranch Management Diploma from Texas Christian University and a graduate of Texas A&M’s, Texas Agriculture Lifetime Leadership Program. She has received numerous awards for her accomplishments by her peers in the agriculture community. These include Rancher of the Year by the following organizations: Landowners Association, Minority Landowners Magazine and Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Kelsey Scott is the Director of Programs for the Intertribal Agriculture Council. She’s the owner of DX Beef, a direct-to-consumer regenerative beef operation on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation, where she also ranches with her husband and family. Kelsey’s passion lies in working directly with land managers and producers in promoting regenerative agricultural practices and community-focused food systems. Kelsey is excited to see how her work with producers can continue to enhance their connection to consumers in an effort to re-localize more resilient food systems.
Kelsey is a family-focused individual (including her four legged family of horses, cattle, and dogs), soil & plant nerd, and a youth advocate. She received her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Rangeland Management from South Dakota State University and then her Master’s of Agriculture Degree in Integrated Resource Management from Colorado State University. Kelsey’s currently continuing her education as a member of the first CREATE Coaching Cohort, an intensive regenerative agriculture coaching course offered by Integrity Soils.
Vern along with his wife, Marjean own and operate Terrell Farms and Ranch with their son, Brock and his family. Terrell Farms and Ranch is a diversified livestock and farming operation along the Niobrara River in the northwest edge of the Nebraska Sandhills. Through minimal tillage, we grow a variety of crops on our irrigated land. We seed cover crops on any ground with a growing crop on it. The majority of crops are utilized in our custom grower operation.
The ranch consists of owned and rented land. We run 4 groups of cattle on 80 different pastures. By installing water systems and cross fences, we have better utilized our grass resources. We have also grazed sheep in our rotations to better utilize our range.
In addition to our daily duties of our farm and ranch life, we have hosted many research trials, demonstrations and both domestic and international visitors. We also enjoy spending time with our 2 other sons and their families. Our 3 sons and their families have given us 10 grandchildren.
Vern has served on many state and local boards and committees. He has served on the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition for 14 years and served as chair for 5 years.
Katie Scarbrough is the managing partner of Bar Cross LLC, a commercial yearling outfit based in Cora, Wyoming with operations in California and Nebraska as well. The ranch practices regenerative grazing on deeded, privately leased, state and federal lands, conducting joint monitoring programs with federal agencies to improve grazing policies and practices in the area. Prior to Bar Cross LLC, Katie started a direct to consumer beef label on a cow calf operation in Henrietta, Texas.
Katie is a graduate of both Texas A&M and TCU Ranch Management, where she remains involved with the International Institute of Ranch Management. Katie is also actively involved in the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association, serving as YPA Finance chair.
Katie is a wife to Justin and mother to her one year old son, Lawrence. Katie is passionate about large landscapes in the west – advocating for improved grazing policies to allow ranchers to better manage these landscapes.
Dugan ranches with three daughters on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. He started Zuya Sica Ranch in 2007 with 22 cows and today runs a cow-calf operation of over 300 commercial Angus cows in the rolling breaks of the Moreau River. Zuya Sica Ranch is focused on profitability through sustainability: healthy land, healthy animals, healthy family.
Emry Birdwell, along with his wife Deborah Clark, operate the Birdwell and Clark Ranch outside of Henrietta, Texas. The focus of the ranching operation is on improving rangeland forage, soil health, and ecosystem processes using stocker cattle as the tool in a high density, short duration managed grazing plan. Emry’s goal is to “try to improve the ranch daily and make money doing it.” Emry graduated from Texas Tech with a BS in Animal Production.
Blessed to be a 5th generation rancher. My family and I operate as a unit to produce predominately grass-fed/grass finished cattle. We sell wholesale as well as direct market to consumers. Our focus is on an ever developing, intense forage management plan, and no-till farming with multi-species crops to restore our soils. We are and have been transitioning from the old paradigm of conventional production, row crops, plowing and rotationally “overgrazing” to a more regenerative production plan. We are continually striving to better improve our management practices to ensure the sustainability for our family’s ranching operation long term.
A sixth generation member of the JD Hudgins Inc Ranching operation on the Texas Gulf Coast, you might say John Locke has taken a conventional path into unconventional agricultural practices. Growing up on a Registered Brahman seedstock operation that is known for sharing genetics across the southern United States and around the World, everything appeared to be on a path of “business as usual” after returning home upon graduating from Texas Tech in 2001, until a 200 year drought and a major family succession event forever changed the way Locke looked at the family business. Somewhat starting over with less than half of your cow herd on ¼ of the land mass while still having most of the same expenses the previous business was responsible for, has a way of bringing about inevitable change and can be a blessing in disguise that almost makes it impossible to “do things the way we have always done them”. Somewhere along the way Locke met Dave Pratt and attended the Ranching for Profit School and joined Executive Link, deepening the look into the business and ultimately life. On the surface, much of the 6 decades old core business of Locke Division of JD Hudgins still looks the same, but with a deeper look the changes have been many over the past 10 years. While embracing innovation in adopting practices such as ultra high density grazing, the main focus has been on learning and applying principles. Making sure one is doing the right things before obsessing over doing things right. Identifying and focusing on a clear business purpose that aligns with the person. Learning how to see the economic picture of the business and using that lens to build resilience. Understanding the whole and striving to balance ecological improvement, livestock performance, profit, and human resources in a way that focuses on quality of life for all involved. In short, putting fun and financial reward into ranching while working to build a legacy that has a lasting impact that is independent of the physical assets the business will leave behind is the Locke family priority. Working side by side with his father Coleman in the day to day management of their division, Locke also has been blessed to have been selected and trained as the 6th person to be an Instructor of the Ranching for Profit School. When he’s not too busy with the ranch or family commitments due to the activities of his three beautiful daughters Lauryn, Lyndsey, Lylee, and wife Salina, John teaches several of the week long RFP schools a year, helps to facilitate Executive Link meetings, and serves consulting clients across the US.
Dale Strickler is an agronomist for Green Cover Seed, the nation’s leading cover crop-specific seed company and a leader in the soil health movement, based out of Bladen Nebraska. He grew up on a diversified farm near Colony Kansas, then attended Kansas State University, achieving both BS and MS degrees in Agronomy. He taught agronomy at Cloud County Community College for 15 years and has been an agronomist for Land O’Lakes, Star Seed, and Valent USA prior to working with Green Cover Seed. He also has his own ranching operation near his hometown where he puts his theories into practice with (usually) good results.
Henk Mooiweer is co-founder and CEO at Grassroots Carbon Public Benefit LLC. Grassroots Carbon makes it easier for land stewards to benefit from the soil carbon storage service they provide in their healthy grassland soils. Grassroots Carbon offers an easy way to buy and sell high quality, measured, nature-based certified carbon storage credits. In his 25-year career at Shell, Henk had diverse leadership roles in innovation, strategy and business development. He managed multiple complex and unusual business and innovation opportunities. Henk is also an Adjunct Professor at Rice University where he teaches invention and innovation. Henk holds a PhD in organic chemistry.
Nancy Labbe, Director, Northern Great Plains Rangelands Program, The Nature Conservancy Nancy was born and raised on a family ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska, owned by her family for five generations over 115 years. Her upbringing gave her valuable on-the-ground experience in managing cow-calf operations and a deep understanding of the issues facing ranchers in America’s Northern Great Plains. Nancy has worked in a variety of capacities in the beef and bison production sectors, having held numerous positions throughout the beef and bison supply chains. She also spent 8 years at World Wildlife Fund prior to landing at TNC. At TNC, Nancy builds on her experience from the beef industry and ranching to engage, support and catalyze grazing lands coalitions and other rancher led collaborations throughout the 5-state region for greater grassland conservation outcomes. Additionally, she contributes to the North America Sustainable Grazing Team’s efforts to engage with beef supply chain actors and improve the sustainability of beef in North America. All of this work strengthens local communities and economies by connecting ranching and grazing lands initiatives with the beef industry’s sustainability efforts. Nancy holds a BSBA degree from Regis University with an emphasis in International Business.
Ms. Olsen is the managing partner of Pamela Epp Olsen Law, PC, LLO, where her practice focuses on issues of succession and transition planning, with an emphasis on transition considerations for farming and agribusiness entities. Pam’s transition practice also includes assisting clients in the areas of elder law and Medicaid/Medicare/SSI/SSDI benefits counseling. Additionally, Pam is the administrator and legal counsel for the Nebraska Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association and is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association. Pam’s husband, Douglas Olsen, manages a commercial cow/calf and farming operation in Banner County, Nebraska. Douglas and Pamela have three sons.
Chad Ellis is the Chief Executive Officer for Texas Agricultural Land Trust (TALT), Chad Ellis brings a wealth of land conservation experience, most recently in his work for the Noble Research Institute, the largest nonprofit agricultural research organization in the U.S. Mr. Ellis has over 20 years of experience working directly with producers and land managers implementing stewardship focused management. Ellis not only promotes and advocates land stewardship principles, he also implements it within his own family operation in Lohn, Texas. Mr. Ellis is passionate about helping empower the producer to be better tomorrow than they are today. Ellis brings deep connections and experience with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, where he served in increasingly responsible roles for a decade. He also currently serves on an executive advisory board to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Wendy is Cofounder of Burgundy Pasture Beef which began in 1999 – “On the Ranch”. Since then it has become a vertically integrated 100% Grass Fed Beef Operation – from the Pasture to Processing to Retail Stores (Burgundy’s Local Grass Fed Meat Market) in Dallas and Ft Worth, TX. Burgundy Pasture Beef ages, cuts and packages at its Retail Store/Butcher Market in Grandview. Wendy helps manage this process and also networks with other “Like Minded” producers for offering a broad selection of Pasture-Raised and Grass Fed Meats in the retail stores (Pasture Raised Pork and Chicken, Grass Fed Lamb). Originally inspired by a desire for flavorsome, wholesome cooking and the challenge of raising young children in a “fast food” world – Wendy has helped Burgundy Pasture Beef evolve as a “grass roots”, primarily direct retail, business – responding to a growing trend of consumers demanding more wholesome meats and a desire to know more about the foods they eat.
Jenni Harris, Will's middle daughter, is a member of the fifth generation of the Harris family to tend cattle at White Oak Pastures. After living on the farm her entire life, Jenni went to Valdosta State University and earned a degree in Business Marketing, graduating in 2009. She remained intimately involved in the family business throughout her studies. After graduating, Jenni set out to learn the industry. She moved to Atlanta where she interned at Buckhead Beef, a SYSCO company. She put in time in every department, from shipping and receiving to the cut shop, and was later hired to work as a sales associate. In June of 2010, Jenni returned home to Early County to work for White Oak Pastures full time. As the Director of Marketing, Jenni spends her time focusing on the balance of ecommerce growth and wholesale relationships. Jenni is the proud mother of Jack Harris and wife of Director of Specialty Products, Amber Harris.
Dr. Ryan Dierking is a Senior Scientist overseeing the field research trialing program for regenerative systems in row cropping and perennial systems studying their impacts on soil carbon. He started at Indigo in 2019 as the field technical lead for Indiana. He is a trained agronomist specializing in livestock systems as well as corn and soybean production systems. He brings his expertise from these systems to better understand practice changes being evaluated across different environments and cropping and livestock systems. This real world data from working farming operations is used to support model calibration and validation to bring new practices online for crediting. Prior to Indigo Ryan worked at various private agricultural companies in R & D. He was raised on a beef operation in Missouri and attended University of Missouri-Columbia where he completed his B.S, M.S and Ph.D. His Ph.D. was a joint project between the University of Missouri and the Samuel Noble Foundation in Ardmore, OK. There Ryan Studied the effect of forage fatty acids and their effect on meat from beef as well as cold tolerance in Tall Fescue. He completed a Postdoctoral program at Purdue University evaluating the agronomic potential of second generation biofuels. He has authored 8 peer reviewed scientific papers and is a co-inventor of 1 patent.
William M. (Bill) Hodge grew up on a diversified farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and has over 60 years’ hands-on experience in the livestock industry. His undergraduate studies were done at Texas A&M & Virginia Tech. He completed graduate studies at the University of Georgia and retired from UGA Cooperative Extension as Senior Public Service Associate. Bill currently serves as Board Chairman of the GA Agricultural Land Trust, Chairman Emeritus of the GA Grazing Lands Conservation Coalition as well as past Chairman of the Carroll County GA Chamber of Commerce. He has made over 100 invited presentations throughout the United States & Canada speaking about meat animal grazing genetics & regenerative agricultural systems. In 2004, Bill co-founded Sustainable Genetics, LLC, a pasture-based beef & dairy genetics marketing company that focuses on optimal maternal efficiency in total forage systems. Bill and his wife Di have five grandsons and in their spare time they maintain a small, minimal input Red Angus seedstock herd selected on Bonsma principals.
Nathan is the Director of Meat Strategy at ButcherBox where he runs the beef program and executes on the company’s vision of scaling grassfed beef production in the U.S. Nathan has spent his entire career in various segments of the cattle and meat industries in roles such as a ranch hand, an animal welfare auditor for the Global Animal Partnership and American Grassfed Association, meat cutter, retail meat manager, supply chain manager, and meat buyer. Nathan is equally comfortable in the branding pens and butcher shop as he is in the board room. As a butcher, Nathan enjoys teaching butchery demonstration to make butchery and meat knowledge less intimidating and more accessible to all audiences. Nathan has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and is currently based in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his wife and young family. Nathan’s happy place is cooking meat over an open fire.
Fourth-generation Nevada rancher Agee Smith thought he knew the 35,000 acres that comprise his family’s ranch like the lines on his palm until he attended a Holistic Management (HM) workshop in Elko. 'That was a changing point in my life." This realization in 1995 became the foundation for our management decisions ever since. It complicates decisions, making range management daunting, challenging and exciting. One decision will affect every aspect of the family operation. My wife, Vicki, and I attended the HM course after my father went to one and then encouraged us to go. At the time, we were battling with the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service over mandatory cuts in their cattle grazing permits. Both agencies supervise grazing permits for the ranch and one permit covers designated wilderness in the Jarbidge Mountains. We had cut our numbers to below 300 cows and the operation was no longer viable. I was tired of the fight. Life is too short. As a part of his new management philosophy, we tried something almost unheard of in the contentious environment of Nevada's public land management. We invited everyone who was interested in the natural resources on the family ranch - environmental groups, agency personnel, university and extension people - to create a collaborative management team. This is a decision-making body, not just an advisory team. This decision-making body directs major decisions on the 1,200 acres of private land as well as 34,000 acres of public land. Now we have problem-solving meetings, not barrier type meetings. We all at least respect one another and a lot of us are good friends. I count this unusual team of managers as one of my biggest successes. The group's decisions have been right, at least some of the time. We have tripled the number of cattle we run. Still, net income was a problem. So, in 2000, we started a 100-horse guest ranch. Agee’s sister, Kim, supervises the recreation enterprise which attracts mainly young people with children and retirees. We also host business retreats and natural resource workshops. After the first six years of operation, the recreation enterprise on the ranch provides about half of the income and with better marketing it could be significantly more. As the fourth generation on a five-generation rancher, we understand the critical importance of intergenerational communication. My parents still participate in the ranch management and we hope our two kids, with a niece, now tend cattle and help with special events, will find a permanent place at Cottonwood Ranch.
Julia Cut has been part of A&W's marketing and communications team since 2014. With experience in social media marketing, online communications, and media strategy, Julia's current role is Director, Brand Communications & Digital Marketing. She is responsible for bringing the brand's positioning to life and using data to make better digital marketing decisions. Originally from Ontario, Julia graduated with a BA, Honours Business Administration from the Ivey Business School at Western University.
Teddy Gentry, bass player for the county music group Alabama, was born and raised on Lookout Mountain in Fort Payne, Alabama. He, and his wife, Linda, have two children, five grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. After receiving his first check from RCA records in 1980, he purchased 60 acres from his grandfather, originally called Lazy G Ranch, it is known today as Bent Tree Farms.
Teddy started the South Poll breed in 1989 when he got the idea to genetically combine the best traits of four maternal Bos Taurus breeds to form a more heat tolerant animal that would work for his cattle operation. The South Poll is a four way cross of Hereford, Red Angus, Senepol, and Barzona. He wanted an animal with a gentle disposition and would produce tender beef on grass.
In 2018, following Anson Howard's service as Judge Advocate in the United States Marine Corps, Anson returned to Texas to practice law and take over the operation of his family's Head of the River Ranch in Tom Green County. Backed with the support of his family, Anson and ranch manager, Sam Reese, are converting the formerly 11 pasture ranch into 230 paddocks, plus high intensity low frequency grazing system with 500 days of rest between grazing events. The ranch runs a red angus cow/calf operation with Pharo genetics for sale to the grass-fed market.
Anson and his wife Meredith live in San Antonio with their son and daughter. Anson's legal practice focuses on representing landowners for all issues concerning rural land. Anson is actively involved in rangeland conservation and education through his service as a director of both Texas Brigades (Development Committee Chair) and the Texas Wildlife Association (Executive Committee).
Watt Matthews Casey, Jr. who is married to Jenny, lives in Albany, Texas where he manages the Casey Beefmaster herd on the Phin Reynolds Ranch. Watt Matthews Casey, D. V. M. founded Casey Beefmasters in 1948. We have the second oldest herd in the breed second to the Foundation herd his uncle Tom Lasater founded in south Texas where Tom and Mary Casey Lasater’s neighbors and good friends were the Kleberg family at The King Ranch.
Growing up in a ranching family surrounded by the history of the Reynolds and Matthews, his pioneering ancestors, Watt had many opportunities to learn from not only his father and extended family but the many ranchers who visited the ranch some who became long term customers. Our oldest customers, the Killam family in Laredo date back to 1952, have purchased hundreds of bulls and still purchase bulls!!!
Our herd is functional, never puffed up with feed, never babied which is one of the reasons we are blessed to have friends/customers in and out of the USA. There are two things people who come to the Phin Reynolds Ranch tell us ( IF they have not seen our cattle elsewhere ) “we have never seen Beefmasters that look like this and we have never seen cattle this gentle”.
Watt wears two hats. In 1977 he graduated from the University of Texas Austin with a degree in journalism. His specialty is photographing musicians and ranches/ ranch scenes. This led to special projects throughout the state for album covers, posters, publicity materials, numerous books and exhibits. Photographing an array of artists including Johnny and June Carter Cash, Eric Clapton, Dean Dillon, Bob Dylan, Albert, B. B. & Freddie King, Willie Nelson, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Miller, Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan and Muddy Waters to name a few.
Servando Leal is a fifth-generation farmer and all five generations have worked in the cow/calf area of agriculture. The Leal's have owned and operated their ranches since 1874, With nearly 148 years in their history books, it's needless to say they have become knowledgeable and continue to learn about the cattle industry. Servando, however, doesn't take that historical or institutional knowledge for granted. He still believes there's a lot to learn from cattle. So if you see him in the morning or evening hours just observing the cattle as they roam the field or graze throughout the acreage, he is reading a story- the cattle story. “I learn from them daily," he said. "I enjoy watching them throughout the day, primarily during the morning and evening hours when I am observing them. They are telling me a story about how and where they graze. Leal said that he is fascinated by cattle, from the fact that they provide a basic need for food to the fact that they have environmental benefits that they give back to the land. "What fascinates me as well is they are not only takers by grazing, but are givers by depositing back to the soil through their bodily functions. “Leal said, “A natural process that is often overlooked and undervalued. "Each generation has obviously had its obstacles and challenges but they were able to fulfill their needs and desires that they were afforded for themselves," Leal said, “It has always been the goals of each generation to fill the previous generation shoes and their end goal has been to make the land their greatest benefactor. Due to my understanding of holistic practices and management, since 2011, I no longer vaccinate my cattle and have completely become non-dependent on any hay or supplements. My ultimate goal is to be one with nature the way GOD intended. Since 2020, we have been certified by the American Grass Fed Association. Our meat is USDA inspected and our meat label is TDA approved under the name Cross Country Meats, LLC.
Jeff Bernicke, President & CEO of Native, a Public Benefit Corp, has built and led teams focused on development, financing, and operating renewable energy, carbon, and impact investment programs over the last 25 years. At Native, Jeff has driven an expansion of Native’s Help-build program to enable corporate clients to participate in the catalytic financing of renewable, carbon emission reduction, clean water, and ecosystem services projects. Most recently, Native has successfully developed and validated two of the first landscape-level soil carbon grasslands projects.
Before Native, Jeff led the portfolio development and strategy for Greenhouse Gas Services (a joint venture between General Electric and AES Corp) and was a senior member of the executive team for DTE Energy Resources where he developed a strong background in energy and environmental markets and project structures. Earlier in his career, Mr. Bernicke advised companies in the cleantech sector and worked as a strategy consultant to large corporations across several industry sectors. Jeff holds an M.B.A. with high distinction and an M.S. in resource ecology from the University of Michigan and B.S. degrees in business and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
Meagan Lannan’s passion for ranching can be traced back to chasing cows with her dad in northwestern Montana where she spent a significant amount of time hanging on for dear life on the back of his saddle. She and her husband own Barney Creek Livestock, a regenerative grazing operation. Barney Creek works with landowners to build soil, ecosystems, and learn/teach how to give more back to the land. Meagan’s 'off-ranch' job with Nicole Masters and Integrity Soils CREATE Program allows her to advance agroecological practices and principles via coaching student's through a one-of-a-kind 18-week consulting training. Meagan can often be found moving electric fences and calling cows to a new paddock in Montana's Paradise Valley. Maloi Lannan operates Red Clover Lambs at Barney Creek. Her passion for raising and adaptively grazing sheep was inspired by a red ribbon that sparked a coloring book, and reading Gabe Brown's "Dirt to Soil,' at the ripe age of 11. Now, 15 years old, she is slowly building her herd by selling her "Don't Call it Dirt" coloring book and keeping her eye on her gross profit margins. Maloi dreams of running a flerd with her dad across the Paradise Valley regenerating one acre at a time. When she is not on the soccer pitch, she is setting e-fence, moving sheep, and checking water lines.
Dr. Chris Grotegut is a veterinarian, farmer, and stockman in Hereford, located in Deaf Smith County in the Texas Panhandle. Hereford has a rich agricultural heritage and economy built on the waters of Ogallala Aquifer. But this aquifer has been in perilous decline over the past hundred years as more and more land has been plowed for row cropping and turned into feedlots for thirsty cattle. Aquifer decline is a serious threat to the longevity of many producers in the Texas Panhandle. Chris is taking steps on his land to replenish the aquifer, and he freely shares his lessons learned along the way. Chris is the cutting edge producer/owner of an 11,000 acre farm named Tierra de Esperanza that produces organic crops and livestock. In recent years he has transitioned the family operation toward more efficient uses of water, labor, and equipment by returning much of his cropland back to native grass pastures. He plants winter crops over dormant grasses in years with favorable moisture, minimizes irrigation, and takes measures to protect his playas, which are the clay basins in his fields and pastures that infiltrate water very slowly to refill the aquifer below.
Michael grew up on a small cattle and farming operation in Mississippi. He graduated from Mississippi State University with a B.S. in Animal Science and a minor in Ag Economics. During this time, he was helped by an internship with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in which he worked with a large cattle operation from an economic perspective during the period of extremely high input costs of 2008. This really changed his perspective from traditional ranching to more of a grass based/efficiency minded type of producer/manager.
Following college, Michael moved back to Oklahoma to further his ranching experience while also pursuing an MBA from OK State University. During this time, he managed ranches in Northern Oklahoma that included commercial cow-calf, registered seedstock, and embryo recipient herds. Following grad school, Michael obtained his Oklahoma real estate license and began marketing ranch properties. Currently, Michael serves as the VP of Agriculture for B29 investments in which he manages a portfolio of Investment ranches across 3 states while also serving as the managing partner for Stark Ranch, LLC. At the Stark, Michael is responsible for building a registered red angus herd that is raised and performs in a forage environment. Maternal genetics are the focus of this cowherd with the goal being to raise bulls that work for the low-input producer. The Stark Ranch also breeds and raises high quality commercial red angus females as well as pasture-raised and grass-fed beef. The ranch encompasses over 4500 acres of owned and leased ground with the predominant goal to use cattle to increase the quality of native grass prairie along with building land value.
Mike Lorentz is the CEO of Lorentz Meats and the managing member of Vermont Packinghouse. The combined facilities employ over 200 people and ship over 15 million pounds of high attribute niche meats annually. Mike has been an advocate for farm direct sales and alternative markets since 1997 when he and his brother Rob took over the family meat processing business.
Mike is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Science. From the beginning of his career, Mike has taken an active role in the meat processing industry focusing on bringing local and regional meats to market to support local producers. He has served on the Chapter Board of Directors for the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota, served as Treasurer of the Minnesota Grown Promotions Council, Governor’s Advisory Task Force for Organic Foods, Vice President of the Cannon Falls Economic Development Corp and Board member of the Land Stewardship Project.
Currently Mike is the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Lorentz Meats, Managing Member of Vermont Packinghouse, board Member of the Cannon Falls Economic Initiatives Corp and member of the Minnesota Association of Meat Processors.
Mike has played an important role in facilitating the growth of locally sourced meat products in Minnesota and nationally beginning over 20 years ago when, in conjunction with the USDA and Land o” Lakes, he developed a curriculum called “Branding Your Beliefs.” The curriculum instructs producers how to capture a larger percent of consumer’s food dollars at a farm level and Mike has presented the curriculum across the country to thousands of producers looking to increase on farm income.
Doing everything from slaughter to fully cooked products and distributing them through many conventional and unconventional distribution methods gives Lorentz Meats and Mike in particular a unique perspective of what is working in small-scale specialty meats and what the future holds.
Bill Godfrey is part of our Blue Nest Beef leadership team, but he also has his own family farm operation. Bill is one of the most experienced and accomplished grass finishers in the country, and his place also happens to be located in the heart of the Central Flyway. Primary goals for the ACR Habitat Management Plan (HMP) on Godfrey Farms are to: 1) provide diverse structure for grassland-dependent wildlife; 2) improve and expand native grass production by controlling woody invasive plant species; 3) improve water infrastructure to limit grazing pressure on riparian areas; and 4) track bird abundance, habitat and range production to adapt management annually.
Hunter Nida has lived in Oklahoma all his life. He has a bachelor degree in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University, more than twenty years of experience in construction and management, and a lifetime of appreciating and processing meat. At a young age, his dad taught him how to process wild game. He honed this skill in college when he worked in an Alaskan hunting camp and field processed moose, caribou, and bears in the fall, and helped guide fishing trips in the summer. With his own children, he continues his family’s tradition, teaching the art of meat processing. With this background, help from friends, family, professors at Oklahoma State University, and professionals in the business, Hunter was able to design and build his own processing plant for domestic animals. In January 2022, Noble County Meats in Perry, Oklahoma, opened for business, owned and operated by Hunter Nida.