2017 Keynote Speakers
Elaine Ingham is a world-renowned soil microbiologist, founder of Soil Foodweb Inc. With her decades of experience in soil research, she teaches the microbial life of the soil, and how can these organisms can be managed to grow plants with the least expensive inputs while maintaining soil fertility. This work, in large part, explains why organic “works.” Her Soil Foodweb work is helping farmers all over the world to grow more resilient crops by understanding and improving their soil life.
Elaine is a key author of the USDA’s Soil Biology Primer and author of The Compost Tea Brewing Manual. She is an international leader of soil microbial science in agriculture applications. Her current projects range from working in citrus groves in Florida, to cotton and avocado in Australia, turf and golf courses internationally, roadside restoration in California and just about every other plant system in between. Read more about Elaine.
Greg Judy is the author of No Risk Ranching: Custom Grazing on Leased Land and Comeback Farms: Rejuvenating Soils, Pastures and Profits with Livestock Grazing Management. Greg Judy shows how to make a living from the land without owning it. By leasing land and cattle, he went from 40 stockers to over 1100 head and was able to pay off his farm and home loan within three years. Greg’s focus is always creating healthier soil, even in drought, which allows him to multi-species graze with Holistic Management methods. Greg and Jan Judy have a home farm of 250 acres near Rucker, Missouri (which has rainfall amounts similar to Nevada County.) With an additional 750 acres of leased farms, Greg is managing a total of 1000 acres of land (600 of which is pasture) raising South Poll cattle, along with sheep, horses, goats, pigs, and chickens. The grass genetic cattle herd are 100% pasture raised and finished on the their perennial grasses and forbs. Greg shares his story with lots of humor. Read more about Greg.
Ben Hartman is a market farmer and author of The Lean Farm: How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work. He and his wife Rachel of Clay Bottom Farm in northern Indiana have been practicing the “lean farming” philosophy for the last four years, and the results have been dramatic with increases in both profit and quality of life for their family of four. Working smarter, not harder, also prevents the kind of burnout that start-up farmers often encounter in the face of long, hard, backbreaking labor. Lean principles grew out of the Japanese automotive industry, but they are now being followed on progressive farms around the world. Using examples from his own family’s one-acre community-supported farm, Hartman clearly instructs other small farmers in how to incorporate lean practices in each step of their production chain, from starting a farm and harvesting crops to training employees and selling goods. Read more about Ben.