CFAR: Session 2, October 25 - 29, 2021

Our second CFAR session, held October 25 - 29, 2021, was equally as exciting as the first. Content was provided by the talented White Oak Pastures staff and Gabe Brown, founder of Brown's Ranch and internationally recognized soil health expert.

Gabe Brown is one of the pioneers of the current soil health movement which focuses on the regeneration of our resources. Gabe, along with his wife Shelly, and son Paul, own and operate Brown's Ranch, a diversified 5,000 acre farm and ranch near Bismarck, North Dakota. The ranch consists of several thousand acres of native perennial rangeland along with perennial pastureland and cropland. Their ranch focuses on farming and ranching in nature's image. The Browns holistically integrate their grazing and no-till cropping systems, which include a wide variety of cash crops, multi-species cover crops along with all natural grass finished beef and lamb. They also raise pastured laying hens, broilers and swine. This diversity and integration has regenerated the natural resources on the ranch without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides. The Browns are part owners of a state inspected abattoir which allows them to direct market their products. They believe that healthy soil leads to clean air, clean water, healthy plants, animals, and people. Over 2,000 people visit the Brown's Ranch annually to see this unique operation. They have had visitors from all fifty states and twenty-four foreign countries. Gabe and Brown's Ranch have received many forms of recognition for their work, including a Growing Green award from the Natural Resource Defense Council, an Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and a Zero-Till Producer of the Year Award, to name a few. Gabe has also been named one of the twenty-five most influential agricultural leaders in the United States. Gabe recently authored the book, “Dirt to Soil, One Family’s Journey Into Regenerative Agriculture.” He is a partner, along with David Kleinschmidt, Shane New, Kathy Richburg, and Dr. Allen Williams, in Understanding Ag LLC. He is also an instructor for Soil Health Academy, which focuses on teaching others the power and importance of healthy functioning ecosystems.

We also relied on Tre Cates of nRhythm to moderate these big vision conversation to keep participants engaged. Maria Soledad Perez, Agency 21, prepared a special and delicious farm fresh feast. Last but not least, the White Oak Pastures management team + directors played a big part in taking these big picture frameworks and relating them back to White Oak Pastures 30+ year journey to this type of farming.

We are grateful for the rich content shared by the participants and educators for session two. If you have interest in attending a CFAR session, please apply here, Scholarships available.