2018 Workshop Speakers

Christine Jones

Dr. Christine Jones is an internationally renowned and highly respected groundcover and soils ecologist. She has a wealth of experience working with innovative landholders to implement regenerative land management practices that enhance biodiversity, increase biological activity, sequester carbon, activate soil nutrient cycles, restore water balance, improve productivity and create new topsoil. Christine has organized and participated in workshops, field days, seminars and conferences throughout Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Europe and North America and has a strong publication and presentation record. Christine is a member of Arizona State University’s ‘Carbon Nation Team’ and sits on the advisory panel of ‘The Carbon Underground’. These organizations recognise that farming and grazing practices designed to improve levels of soil carbon through the active management of diverse yearlong green groundcover are key to the restoration of soil function, water balance and the nutrient density of food.

Nathan Haile

Nathan’s 21 years with the Natural Resources Conservation Service has given him the opportunity to evaluate soils across the state of Texas and many unique regions of the nation. For the past 10 years he has focused his efforts on improving knowledge of soil quality in Texas. He graduated with a Plant and Soil Science degree from Tarleton State University and is currently the Soil Health Specialist for Texas NRCS. Nathan and his wife Angie have 2 daughters and enjoy raising kids and cows on a small operation in Hamilton, Texas.

Dean Folkvord

Dean Folkvord is the CEO of Wheat-Montana Farms and Bakery, a family operated wheat farming operation that has become vertically integrated. Operations cover over 15,000 acres of tillable land in Broadwater County. 500 acres are irrigated grain with the balance in no-till, conservation tillage, and organic grain production.  The farms marketing arm consists of the Wheat- Montana Wheat-Plex located just five miles from the farm.  The one-of-a-kind processing facility houses the cleaning plant, flour mill, and state of the art bread bakery.  Wheat produced on the farm and other contract farms is sold nationwide through a network of dealers, distributors and micro bakeries. The Wheat Montana Bakery produces over 100 products and distributes in a twenty-seven state area.  Bakery pro-duction exceeds 35,000 loaves per day, using flour produced from wheat grown on the farm. Overall, Wheat-Montana provides employment for 165 full time persons. Wheat Montana Delis consists of 4 franchise quick serve deli’s located across Montana and currently holds the World’s Record for taking standing wheat and turning it into 13 one pound loaves of bread (8 minutes 13 seconds).

Brian Bledsoe

Brian Bledsoe is the Chief Meteorologist/Climatologist for KKTV 11 News in Colorado Springs. Brian’s goal is to help AG producers make their business more successful, by using accurate weather forecasts, both short term and long term. His strong background in agriculture is important, as he recognizes the need for good common sense weather forecasting that can be readily used by farmers and ranchers. Brian has several private clients scattered around Colorado, and the whole United States. He also works for Silveus Insurance, AgriPros, writes for the Colorado Association of Wheat Growers, the Southern Livestock Standard and for the California Cattleman’s Association.  He frequently speaks all across the region about weather and the importance of using long range forecasting to help your business.

Brianne Rael

Brianne Rael grew up in Alamosa, Colorado, a small town in the San Luis Valley. She graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Science and Minors in Biomedical Science and Spanish. After college she worked for Colorado Mosquito Control and Butterball LLC now known as Conagra Foods. She began her career as an inspector with the Colorado Department of Agriculture in 2007 and in 2010 she was given the opportunity to advance and accepted a position with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Last year she became a Registered Environmental Health Specialist and currently inspects child cares and schools throughout the state, assisting them with chemical management and sanitation practices.  She also is the primary contact for the cottage foods industry at the department and continues to build a relationship with them through resources and regular phone and email correspondence with stakeholders.

Dr. Ryan Stockwell

Dr. Ryan Stockwell is the Director of Sustainable Agriculture for the National Wildlife Federation. In that role, he leads the cover crops program including policy development, research coordination, and farmer champion communication training. Dr. Stockwell has a PhD in history from the University of Missouri, a Master’s in History from Miami University and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Change and Development from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. In his spare time he farms near Medford, WI using no-till cover crop methods. He serves on the North Central SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) Administrative Council and is also a board member for the Midwest Cover Crops Council.

Luke Cure

Luke Cure grew up on a family farm on the eastern plains of Colorado.  His earliest memories include trailing his Dad through the multitude of daily tasks and decisions in making their farm successful.  In addition, he received years of that invaluable “hands on” training that only farm kids experience. After graduating from Wray High School, Luke pursued his goal of becoming a pilot upon his acceptance to the US Air Force Academy.  Two years later, after earning expert marksmanship awards and garnering recognition for outstanding leadership skills, an eye problem disqualified him from further pursuing pilot training. Yielding to his love of farming, Luke returned to the family operation and began exploring ways to combine his aptitude for technology with his desire to optimize farm management. From this great mix of agriculture, technology and passion, FarmReign was born!

Paul Jasa

Paul Jasa, Extension Engineer with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, develops and conducts educational programs related to crop production that improve profitability, build soil health, and reduce risks to the environment.  He received both his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Nebraska and has been working with planting equipment and tillage system evaluation at the University since 1978.  Across the years, he’s worked with soil and water conservation, residue management, crop rotations, and, more recently, cover crops and soil health. With Paul’s experiences gained from research and Extension activities, he has become one of the best sources of information in the Midwest on no-till planting equipment and system management to protect and build the soil.  Paul admits, if there is a mistake to be made with no-till, he’s either made it himself or has seen it done.  More importantly, he has learned from those mistakes and shares that information in presentations that stress the systems approach and the long-term benefits of continuous no-till.

Jennifer Stum

Jennifer is the owner/operator of CJ Milling, LLC. She founded the company when she saw the need for quality, affordable gluten-free flour, as well as, the need for a better marketing strategy for her family’s millet crop. Jennifer has made it a priority to educate others and broaden the human consumption market for the crop.

RN Hopper

R. N. is a continuous no-till farmer from Petersburg, TX.  He and his wife Lyndi live on the farm with their three children. They grow corn, cotton, wheat, and sunflowers in a region where the vast majority of the production is conventionally tilled. R. N. is currently working on founding the No-Till Texas organization to increase awareness of soil health issues and to establish a network to help other producers implement soil conservation practices on their farms.  He has been recognized by The Cotton Foundation and the Farm Press for his conservation efforts with the 2015 High Cotton Award and also by the Water Conservation Advisory Council with the 2017 Blue Legacy Award.

Luke Jaeger

Luke Jaeger has been a farmer all his life, and has always looked for innovative solutions for production ag problems. In 2007, he and his brother Matt built a biodiesel plant in Minneola, Kansas to alleviate high fuel costs farmers were facing. In 2012, they began manufacturing ag spray adjuvants because they saw a need in the marketplace for good quality, reasonably priced adjuvants.

Jenna H. Keller

Jenna H. Keller represents numerous farmers, ranchers, mineral and royalty owners, and rural landowners throughout eastern Colorado, northwestern Colorado and western Nebraska with a particular emphasis on oil, gas, and wind issues. She also handles wills, trusts, estates/probate, conservation easements and water rights, and provides guidance in real estate transactions and related litigation on those subject matters, all with an emphasis on rural land issues. Ms. Keller grew up on a wheat farm in northeastern Colorado and knows firsthand the challenges facing rural farmers and ranchers.

Ms. Keller received her law degree from the University of Wyoming’s College of Law, where she graduated Order of the Coif. She received her Bachelor of Arts
degree in International Political Economy from Colorado College. Ms. Keller is admitted to practice law in the State of Colorado and the State of Nebraska.
Ms. Keller has lectured throughout northern, northeastern, and southeastern Colorado on topics such as oil and gas leasing, restrictions and encumbrances on the transfer of water shares, oil and gas pipeline easements, and wills, trusts and powers of attorney. She is a regular speaker at the annual High Plains No-Till Conference. She also is a blog contributor at the Mineral Rights Forum and eLegacyConnect. Outside of work, Ms. Keller volunteers her time with as a member and current co-chair of the Board of the Community Agriculture Alliance. Ms. Keller is also Secretary of the Colorado FFA Foundation Board.

Michael Thompson

Michael farms in partnership with his brother and father in Furnas County Nebraska and Norton County Kansas.  They have a diversified crop and ranch operation. The farm grows crops such as triticale, wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, milo and also diverse forage crops for both soil improvement and some supplemental grazing.  Some of the benefits they are seeing of grazing crop acres are increased soil cover, improved nutrient levels, more water infiltration, increasing organic matter levels, as well as pasture rest and recovery.

Lance Feikert

Lance Feikert is from Bucklin, Kansas and has been farming his entire life. He farms with his father and brother on a 3500 acre dryland and irrigatesd farm raising soybeans, milo, wheat and cover crops. They also have a herd of cattle. He is also involved in managing a flock of 400 chickens for egg production that his children sell. He is married to his wife Heidi and has 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls that are 11,9,7, and 4.  He is a no-till farmer for the last 12 years and is trying to improve his soils for the future farmers he is raising. He is an active board member for No Till on the Plains and it trying to learn everyday how to improve the soils he has been given.