Confirmed 2020 Speakers

Dr. Selena Ahmed, Montana State University
Topic: Soil Health, Human Health


Rex Dufour Rick Clark is a fifth generation farmer practicing regenerative stewardship on his 7,000-acre farm in Warren County, Indiana. On Clark Farm, Rick strives to find a balance between being a good steward to the land, maintaining profitable cash crop yields, and building soil health and human health. Rick refers to his systematic approach as “Green Farming.” This no-till practice involves planting his cash crops into living, growing cover crops, which helps to suppress weeds, sequester nutrients, and build biomass.

Topic: Scaling up Soil Health: Growing Healthy Soil on a Large Scale

Bianca Moebius-Clunex Dr. Bianca Moebius-Clune is the Director of the USDA-NRCS Soil Health Division. She has led the deployment of the division’s staff of regional and national specialists who provide training, direct assistance, science and technology integration, and leadership to soil health efforts across the country. The division was stood up to lead agency NRCS strategies and training that facilitate producers in implementing science-based, effective, economically viable soil health management systems on the nation’s diverse agricultural lands, in collaboration with partner organizations. Bianca came to NRCS in 2014 from Cornell University, where she served on the faculty as a Senior Extension Associate and Lecturer. She had research and extension responsibilities and taught a class in Sustainable Soil Management. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed and extension publications, as well as NRCS national technical material and policy, and has provided workshops and trainings nationally and internationally. Bianca has conducted research on agricultural management impacts on soil health and N dynamics in the Northeast and Midwest, as well as in Kenya, and developed a framework for Soil Health Management Planning that is now nationally available through NRCS. She holds Ph.D. and Master of Science degrees from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science from University of New Hampshire, all in soil science. Bianca lives in Kensington, MD with her husband and 4 year old son, and enjoys varied outdoor activities and foods.

Topics: Regional Perspectives on Applying Principles of Soil Health and Soil Health Innovations in Public Policy

Rex Dufour Rex Dufour has been with NCAT since 1994, & opened the CA office in 2001. His work focus is training ag professionals on organic practices, certification, ecological pest-, and soil management. Rex is registered with NRCS as a Technical Service Provider in CA and NV. He worked 9 years in Thailand and Laos with Peace Corps, the UN, and the US State Department. He’s a former Pest Control Advisor in CA, and been trained as a Certified Organic Crop Inspector by the International Organic Inspectors Association. Rex has a MSc. in IPM from UC Riverside, 1981 and B.A. Biology from The Colorado College, 1976.

Topic: Fixing The Water Cycle: how healthy soils retain/infiltrate water, and reduce runoff and downstream flooding – (Pre-disaster Mitigation)

Lill Erickson Lill Erickson founded Western Sustainability Exchange (WSE) in 1994 to protect the incomparable landscape and way of life of the Northern Rockies, and to do so in ways that strengthens rural economies. Erickson has been WSE executive director since its inception.

Erickson’s expertise is in regenerative agriculture and the use of market-based conservation strategies to achieve environmental protection and economic development goals. She specializes in strategies that incentivize agricultural and food service businesses to convert to sustainable practices. In addition to fundraising and overall management of the organization, Erickson supervises development and implementation of all WSE program initiatives.

In the late 1990s, Erickson served as an advisor to the Western Regional Team of the Natural Resource Committee of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, which crafted a strategy to promote sustainable development in the U.S.

Prior to forming WSE, Erickson was caretaker of a cattle ranch bordering Yellowstone National Park. She also worked as an organizer for conservation nonprofits in the West. For over 35 years Erickson has organized citizen participation in conservation issues.

Erickson graduated cum laude from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor degree in Journalism and minors in environmental studies and biology.

Topic: Innovations in the Marketplace: Soil Carbon and Ecosystem Service Markets

Dr. Phillip Owens, Research Leader and Research Soil Scientist with the USDA, Agricultural Research Service
Topic: Applying Remote Sensing and the Data Revolution to Improve Soil Health

Cooper Hibbard Cooper Hibbard grew up near Helena, MT. He studied Agricultural Business, Rangeland Resources, and Spanish at Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, and after graduating he spent 4 years traveling the world working on ranches. He’s now the Operations Manager at Sieben Live Stock Co., where he is the 5th generation to manage the family ranch outside Cascade, MT. Aside from ranching, his other passions are good books, good music, and traveling with his beautiful bride, Ashley.

Topic: Building Soil Carbon Through Regenerative Grazing

Dr. Clain Jones Dr. Clain Jones has worked in the area of nutrient management at Montana State University since 1999, and has been the Extension Soil Fertility Specialist since 2004. His research has focused on nutrient management in both conventional and organic systems, and currently he is studying soil acidification, nitrate leaching, the effects of cover crop cocktails on soil quality, and the effects of long term cropping systems on nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency.

Topic: How Do Management Practices Affect Soil Health?

A soil study spearheaded by Dr. Jones was featured on Montana Public Radio in early November. Learn more here: Farmers, Scientists Finding Fixes For Acidic Soils

Christophe Jospe Christophe Jospe is Chief Development Officer and founder of Nori, a start-up platform building a carbon removal marketplace focused on helping farmers monetize carbon removed and retained in their soils. At Nori, he leads the effort to bring supply into the marketplace and curate Nori’s open-source methodologies to initially support monetizing carbon removal and sequestration in US croplands. He has a background as an analyst, fundraiser, and science translator. He holds a BA from Colgate University and an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University.

Topic: Innovations in the Marketplace: Soil Carbon and Ecosystem Service Markets

Dan Kittredge Dan Kittredge has been an organic farmer for more than 30 years and is the founder and executive director of the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA), a non-profit whose mission is to “increase quality in the food supply.” Known as one of the leading proponents of “nutrient density,” Dan works to demonstrate the connections between soil health, plant health, and human health. Out of these efforts was born the Real Food Campaign which has engineered a prototype of a hand-held consumer spectrometer designed to test nutrient density at point of purchase. Via the Bionutrient Meter, the goal is to empower consumers to choose for nutrient quality and thereby leverage economic incentives to drive full system regeneration.

Topics: Principles to Produce Nutrient Dense Food and Defining Food Quality: Tools, Science and Collaboration

Buz Kloot Dr. Buz Kloot started his professional life as a chemical engineer and spent 12 years in the mining/mineral processing industry in Namibia, Africa. In 1999, he joined the University of South Carolina and has been involved in various projects related to living soils and regenerative agriculture. Buz is passionate about doing research on working farmland and collaborating directly with farmers on soil health research and projects and how farmers can leverage regenerative farming systems and paying attention to biology to improve per acre income, mainly through savings in fertilizer.

Buz is a research associate professor in the Environmental Health Sciences Department at USC’s Arnold School of Public Health and holds degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and an MBA and PhD from the University of South Carolina.

Topic: Advances in Biology-Based Soil Testing: How Farmers Can Find Their Way Forward

Aria McLauchlan Aria McLauchlan is the Co-founder & Executive Director of Land Core, a non-profit organization advancing soil health policies and programs that create value for farmers, businesses and communities. Aria was also a 2018 Exchange Fellow at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. Working at the intersection of food, agriculture and climate change, she was one of nine women selected as leaders equipped to tackle vexing challenges and identify emerging opportunities for systemic change across geographies and disciplines. Until 2016, Aria served as communications director of Kiss the Ground, a nonprofit organization promoting healthy soil. In this role, she directed the launch of “The Soil Story,” a petition campaign that resulted in the passing of the California Healthy Soils Initiative. Previously, Aria spent a decade working in business development, branding and marketing, primarily on social impact campaigns for clients like Target, Rainforest Alliance, Ekocycle, Prana, Aveda, National-Geographic | Lindblad Expeditions and The Wildlife Conservation Society.

Topic: Soil Health Innovations in Public Policy

Mike Morris Dr. Mike Morris lives in Durango, Colorado and is Southwest Regional Director for the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). He has led dozens of projects related to soil and water, and is currently directing NCAT’s Soil for Water initiative: building a network of ranchers and other landowners who are experimenting with all possible ways of catching and holding more rainwater in soil. Mike is also Principal Investigator for the Subtropical Soil Health Initiative: researching and promoting the use of cover crops in subtropical South Texas. A longtime writer and researcher for NCAT’s ATTRA Program, Mike’s publications include The Irrigator’s Pocket Guide, California Microirrigation Pocket Guide, Soil Moisture Monitoring: Low-Cost Tools and Methods, and Is Organic Farming Risky? He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh and has taught courses on ethics, technology, and the environment at colleges and universities around the country.

Topic: Fixing The Water Cycle: how healthy soils retain/infiltrate water, and reduce runoff and downstream flooding – (Pre-disaster Mitigation)

Jeff Mosley Dr. Jeff Mosley works across Montana as the Range Management Specialist for Montana State University Extension. Jeff is an MSU alumnus and holds graduate degrees from the University of Idaho and Texas Tech University. Before returning to Montana in 1995, Jeff served on the faculties of the University of Arizona and the University of Idaho. Jeff’s work focuses on grazing management and wildlife habitat, emphasizing invasive plants; livestock relationships with fish and wildlife; and collaborative conservation.

Jeff’s professional service activities have included President of the Society for Range Management (SRM) and President of the Range Science Education Council, and he has received teaching and academic advising awards from the University of Arizona, the University of Idaho, and the Range Science Education Council. In addition, Jeff received the Visionary Leadership Award from Montana State University Extension, and he was named a Fellow by the Society for Range Management.

Topic: Building Soil Carbon Through Regenerative Grazing

Laura Peterson Laura Peterson is the Senior Director, Government Affairs for Indigo Agriculture. Prior to this role, she served as the Head of Federal Government and Industry Relations for Syngenta where she staffed the Chief Sustainability Officer. Before joining Syngenta, she was the Director of Federal Affairs for the National Association of Conservation Districts. Laura spent time in an agriculture lobbying firm and has experience interning in the Kansas Legislature, United States Congress and U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. She attended George Washington University Law School, where she also taught as adjunct faculty in the Undergraduate Political Science Department. Laura grew up on a family farm in Kansas and co-operates an angus cattle herd in Eastern Montana with her husband, Jess Peterson and resides in Billings.

Topic: Innovations in the Marketplace: Soil Carbon and Ecosystem Service Markets

Fred Provenza Dr. Fred Provenza grew up in Salida, Colorado, working on a family ranch and attending school in Wildlife Biology at Colorado State University. He is professor emeritus of Behavioral Ecology in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University where he directed an award-winning research group that pioneered an understanding of how learning influences foraging behavior and how behavior links soils and plants with herbivores and humans.
He is one of the founders of BEHAVE, an international network of scientists and land managers committed to integrating behavioral principles with local knowledge to enhance environmental, economic, and cultural values of rural and urban communities.He is the author of three books, including Nourishment: What Animals Can Teach Us about Rediscovering Our Nutritional Wisdom; Foraging Behavior: Managing to Survive in a World of Change; and The Art and Science of Shepherding: Tapping the Wisdom of French Herders (co-author with Michel Meuret). He has published over 300 research papers in a wide variety of scientific journals. He has been an invited speaker at over 400 conferences.The many awards he received for research, teaching, and mentoring are the creativity that flowed from warm professional and personal relationships with over 75 graduate students, post-doctoral students, visiting scientists, and colleagues during the past 45 years.

Topic: The Cutting Edge of Microbiology – Connections Between Soil Health and Human Health

Lee Rinehart Lee Rinehartis an ATTRA agriculture specialist serving the Northeast region, where he writes publications and provides technical assistance on regenerative grazing. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Lee has worked as a ranch manager in Texas, an Extension Agent in Texas and Montana, and an organic certification educator in Pennsylvania. He is currently a Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy Reserve.

Topic: Regional Perspectives on Applying Principles of Soil Health: Challenges andSsuccesses from Around the U.S.

Shauna Sadowski Shauna Sadowski is the Head of Sustainability for the Natural & Organic Operating Unit at General Mills, where she leads the sustainability team for four brands: Annie’s, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen and Epic Provisions. Shauna develops the sustainability strategy by integrating sustainability into product design with an emphasis on farm-level impacts, leading external engagement through partnerships and outreach, and working cross-functionally to ensure that sustainability is implemented across the brands. Her works seeks to ensure transparency and accountability from farm to fork, leveraging the power of business to drive positive change in the food system. Prior to joining Annie’s in 2010, Shauna worked on sustainability management within the food sector at Clif Bar and Company, Fork in the Road Foods, and BSR (Business for Social Responsibility). Additionally, she has worked with a variety of industries through management consulting roles at the Corporate Executive Board and Arthur Andersen. Her commitment to sustainability stems from her early years of growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. Shauna received her BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a MS in Agriculture, Food and Environment from the Friedman School at Tufts University. She serves on the management board of the Climate Collaborative. Shauna lives in Berkeley with her husband and two children.

Topic: How Food & Fiber Companies Can Invest In Soil Health

Axel Schmidt Axel Schmidt has served as a senior advisor on agricultural research to CRS since 2010. Previously, he was the Regional Director for Central America and the Caribbean for CIAT, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, and worked there over 15 years on multiple research assignments on topics such as the interface of tropical forages, watershed development and soil research, and the management of integrated production systems combined with participatory approaches. Axels’ work also focused on the research for development continuum establishing strategic alliances with the development sector and responding to knowledge gaps identified by development practitioners. At CRS he is advising on the revitalization of rainfed agriculture systems in the hillsides of Central America empathizing the management of soils as a tool to manage limited water resources under changing climatic conditions. Axel is a member of the Council for Tropical and Sub-Tropical Agricultural Research in Germany, the American Society of Agronomy, and the Soil Science Society of America. He holds his doctorate and master’s degrees in Agricultural Science from the University of Hohenheim in Germany.

Topic: Fixing The Water Cycle — Healthy Soils Retain/Infiltrate Water, and Reduce Runoff and Downstream Flooding

Dave Scott Dave Scott has over 35 years of experience with adaptive multi paddock grazing, first with dairy cows and the last 15 years with sheep. Presently he and his wife operate Montana Highland Lamb with 180 ewes and close to 300 lambs on 32 acres of irrigated pasture in Southwest Montana. For the past six years, Dave and Jenny have concentrated on transitioning to regenerative grazing which has yielded more ewe grazing days while reducing inorganic N fertilizer inputs from 160 lbs. per acre to zero.

Dave is also a livestock specialist for National Center for Appropriate Technology and its ATTRA Program. He contributes practical “how to” publications, podcasts, and videos for the sustainable farmer and rancher. Implementing adaptive practices to build soil health and lessen inputs are Dave’s chief interests.

Topic: Building Soil Carbon Through Regenerative Grazing

Arohi Sharma Arohi Sharma Natural Resources Defense Council
As a policy analyst, Arohi Sharma advocates for policies that protect and restore rivers and aquatic ecosystems in California and promote regenerative agricultural practices to reduce wasteful water use and build healthy soil. Before joining NRDC, Arohi was in graduate school, where she spent time researching ways to incentivize multi-stakeholder partnerships and worked for the Ethiopian Government to help craft the nation’s first sustainable agricultural development strategy. Prior to graduate school, Arohi served as a legislative staffer on Capitol Hill for the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee and Senator Cory Booker. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, San Diego, and a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Topic: Soil Health Innovations in Public Policy