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.
Dale Strickler is the author of Managing Pasture and The Drought-Resilient Farm. He is a leader in the soil health movement and an agronomist for Green Cover Seed, the nation’s top cover crop-specific seed company. Strickler holds degrees in agronomy from Kansas State University and has taught at the college level for 15 years. He farms and ranches cattle in Kansas.
With 27 years of ranching experience using Holistic Management, Wayne has had an identity crisis. When he joined the 11 000-acre family ranching business he called himself a cattle rancher. He changed to calling himself a grass farmer. Later still, he called himself a soil-microbe farmer, though he has always marketed beef. Privileged to work with his father, Tom Knight, who was an early adopter of Holistic Management under Allan Savory – Stan Parsons consulting, Wayne enthusiastically increased and intensified the practices HMI teaches. He became a Certified Educator in 2006 and was actively involved with the Southern African CE community organization, Community Dynamics. He has spoken at numerous conferences in Southern Africa, trained and mentored farmers, hosted open days on his property, and has written about his positive results using Holistic Management. Before joining the team at HMI Wayne served as a board member of the organization for 8 years. Through his enthusiasm for Holistic Management Wayne has traveled widely visiting farmers who practice high-density, long recovery grazing practices in Southern Africa, Australia, and the US. As a young graduate with a Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Natal, South Africa, he traveled across the US west working on ranches in Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, California, and New Mexico. When not involved in Holistic Management you will find him fishing, birding, hiking, or exploring wild spaces and places with his family. An enthusiastic traveler, hunter, and photographer, he loves discovering new places and making new friends.
Kris is a fourth generation operator of Verett Farms in Ralls, TX, where cotton and multi-species covers comprise the majority of the operation.
Kris grew up working on the farm and grew to love all things farming. He continued his passion by completing a degree in agronomy and entomology at Texas A&M, followed by a masters in agronomy at Texas Tech.
Upon completing school, Kris knew he wanted to return to the farm to employ his knowledge.
After attending R.N. and Ronnie Hopper’s no-till meeting in 2013, Kris became interested in implementing the system into his operation. Today nearly every acre follows a rotation of cotton followed by multi-species covers. Kris looks forward to continuing to better utilize our resources and leave the farm better than he found it for his two boys, Charley and Luke.
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 and son Andrew 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.
Craig Giesbrecht was born in Chico, California. His parents moved to the plains of West Texas in 1995. Craig enjoyed being on the farm and helping his dad every chance he could until in 2007 his dad sold the farm land to a dairy. Craig, his brother Kendall, and Dad did residential construction for a number of years. In 2009 Craig bought his first farm and in 2013 bought more land and quit construction. The drought of 2011-2013 made him believe soils needed to be covered at all times and he started planting cover crops. Cover crops led to no-till in 2017 and no-till led to soil biology which is what makes plants healthy. Craig believes soil health is one of the most important steps to sustainable agriculture. He added sheep to his operation in 2019 and has been a Paramedic since 2014. Craig is married to Ashton and has 3 children Blake 8, Kynlee 5, Whitney 3.
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.
State Senator Charles Perry is a life-long West Texan and a practicing CPA from Lubbock. He was elected to the Texas Senate in 2014 after serving two terms in the Texas House of Representatives.
Sen. Perry currently chairs the Senate Committee on Water, Agriculture & Rural Affairs and is Vice-Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. He also sits on the Senate Committees for Education, Finance, Transportation, and Redistricting and he co-chairs the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) Advisory Committee. Gov. Abbott appointed him to the Southwestern States Water Commission and the Western States Water Council.
Outside his work in the Legislature, Sen. Perry has served his community as past president of the Lubbock Boys and Girls Club, American Business Clubs, and Community Partners, and previously served on the board of the National Council on Family Violence and the Women's Protective Services of Lubbock. He also serves as a deacon at his church, Southcrest Baptist in Lubbock.
Sen. Perry grew up in the district he currently represents, graduating from Sweetwater High School. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and management information systems from Texas Tech University.
Geographically, he represents the largest Senate District in the State. The district consists of 51 counties, is over 48,000 square miles, and is larger than 19 U.S. states and 107 countries.
Sen. Perry has been married to his wife, Jacklyn, for over 37 years and together they have a daughter, Jordan, and a son, Matthew, and four grandchildren. The entire family are graduates of Texas Tech University.