Barry grew up on the family farm, and after receiving a degree in Agricultural Business and Economics, worked in the commodity futures industry before returning to the family farm in 1992. He farmed and managed a family owned commercial grain elevator until 2013 when he sold the elevator and now farms full time. He is currently secretary and treasurer of the National Cotton Council, and on the Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Board. Barry is the past president of Plains Cotton Growers, a past board member of the Cotton Board, past director of Cotton Incorporated, and Participant in the Texas Agriculture Lifetime Leadership Program.
David is a molecular biologist conducting research at the Institute for Sustainable Agricultural Research at New Mexico State University and an Adjunct Professor in the Regenerative Agricultural Initiative at California State University, Chico. He works with growers, Arizona State University, Texas A&M, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Globetrotter Foundation and the Thornburg Foundation exploring paths to improve food security, reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and increase farm and rangeland productivity and profitability through the development of beneficial soil microbial communities. David's research, in soil microbial community structure and function, has opened a window for viewing the interdependence between plants and soil microbes. Optimization of these plant-microbe associations promotes:
Restoration of soil fertility,
Improved growth of crops, and
Increased efficiencies in plant water use, soil microbial carbon-use and soil carbon storage capabilities.
These benefits provide a path to significantly increase farm and ranch productivity and profitability while also promoting the market development of a new agricultural commodity (soil carbon). This will provide a robust and practical mechanism to reduce atmospheric CO2 within regenerative agricultural systems.
Dr. Jon Lundgren is an agroecologist, Director ECDYSIS Foundation, and CEO for Blue Dasher Farm. Lundgren’s research and education programs focus on assessing the ecological risk of pest management strategies and developing long-term solutions for regenerative food systems.
Kater Hake is the Vice President of Agricultural & Environmental Research at Cotton Incorporated. In this role, Hake is responsible for the cotton production research program, and leads a team of eight scientists who develop and support innovative problem-solving research to increase the profitability and sustainability of cotton farming in the U.S.
Hake began his career at Cotton Incorporated in 2007. Previously, he was the Vice President of Technology Development at Delta and Pine Land Company. Hake received a Bachelor of Science degree in genetics and a Master of Science degree in agronomy from the University of California at Davis, and a Ph.D. in plant biology from the University of California at Riverside.
Kelly Kettner was raised on a peanut farm and ranch in Mason County, Texas. After graduating from Texas Tech with a degree in agronomy, he moved back to Mason to farm with his father. However he came to love the South Plains of Texas during his time at Tech. In 2001, after the government programs for peanuts changed, he moved to Parmer County, Texas to start a farm operation there. It was after numerous days of fighting sand in cotton that he decided to switch to no-till with residue. Kelly is married to Deborah Kettner, and they have three kids: Jacob, Riley, and Kyle.
Dr. John Zak is Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Texas Tech University and Director of the TTU-Climate Science Center. John’s lab focuses on understanding the roles of the soil microbial community (bacteria and fungi) in natural and agricultural soils and how disturbances and climate variability determines the capacity of the soil microbial community to carryout important process of decomposition, soil carbon formation and nitrogen availability. These studies are part of a larger effort to understand how soil health of agricultural systems can be effectively managed and how the soil microbiome contributes to sustainable cotton production across the Southern High Plains and across the cotton belt.
Ronald and Suzanne Meyer live with their daughter Mary near Dalhart, Texas on the family farm. He has been farming for 28 years. The main cash crops he works with are sunflowers, milo, corn, and just starting to work with cotton. In the late 90’s he began working with no-till farming and committed fully in 2006. The past few years he has begun implementing cover crops such as radishes, rye, barley, oats, turnips, and rape into his rotations. He is working on complete soil heath which he realizes will take time. He believes that no-till farming is just the beginning of achieving the healthy soil and better crops.
R. N. is a continuous no-till farmer from Petersburg, TX. He and his wife, Lyndi, live on the farm with their three children and grow corn, cotton, and wheat. R. N. is one of the founders and current President of No-Till Texas. His no-till cropping systems have also been the subject of a long term research project funded by Cotton, Inc. and overseen by the Department of Biological Sciences at Texas Tech University to quantify the effects of no-till and crop rotation on soil microbial populations, carbon levels, water infiltration, fertility, and general soil health.
Dr. Steffens has a joint appointment with the Agriculture Sciences Department at West Texas A&M and with Texas AgriLife Extension in the field of rangeland resource management. His experience also includes working directly with producers on rangeland issues including grazing management, prescribed fire, livestock nutrition and Threatened &Endangered species as a Rangeland Management Specialist with the USDA-NRCS in southeastern Colorado. Previously, he was a rangeland management specialist with Colorado Cooperative Extension and instructor with the Colorado State University Western Center for Integrated Resource Management. He has also managed a 1300 cow ranch for the Mescalero Apaches in the mountains of southern New Mexico. He also worked as the extension project manager for the nationally recognized Seco Creek Water Quality Demonstration Project. His current research and extension interests include managing ecological succession using targeted grazing management, developing integrated livestock-rangeland-cropping systems to improve soil quality and improve conservation as well as brush and weed management.
John Reznik grew up on his family’s farm in Moore county. He received a degree in Agronomy from Texas Tech University and then came back home to farm with his dad. They currently grow cotton, corn, sorghum, and wheat. While trying to come up with ways to conserve water, John became interested in no-till and other conservation practices. He enjoys learning and trying new things on the farm. John is married to Julie Reznik, and they have three kids: June, Jase, and Jake.