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Keynote Speakers

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Eliot Coleman has over fifty years experience in all aspects of organic farming, including field vegetables, greenhouse vegetables, rotational grazing of cattle and sheep, and range poultry. He is the author of The New Organic Grower (1st and 2nd editions), Four-Season Harvest, and The Winter Harvest Handbook, as well as the instructional workshop DVD Year-Round Vegetable Production with Eliot Coleman. Coleman and his wife, Barbara Damrosch, presently operate a commercial year-round market garden, in addition to horticultural research projects, at Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine.

Keynote Daniela Ibarra-Howell is a native Argentinean, born and raised in Buenos Aires, and an agronomist by profession. She holds a MS in Natural Resource Management and Economics. With over 25 years of international experience in ranching, Holistic Management, and collaborative ecosystem restoration programs, Daniela co founded with Allan Savory and other colleagues the Savory Institute in 2009, and became its CEO in 2011. Since then she has led her team in the design and implementation of a revolutionary entrepreneurial, self-sustaining global impact strategy for large-scale restoration of grasslands through Holistic Management to tackle global food and water security, and climate change issues. She has served as an advisor to sustainability initiatives such as UN Global Compact, UN Rio+20 informal-informals, Solidaridad’s Farmers Support Program (FSP), Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), Sustainable Food Lab, Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), and others.

Keynote Joel Salatin, 61, calls himself a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer. Others who like him call him the most famous farmer in the world, the high priest of the pasture, and the most eclectic thinker from Virginia since Thomas Jefferson. Those who don’t like him call him a bio-terrorist, Typhoid Mary, charlatan, and starvation advocate. With a room full of debate trophies from high school and college days, 12 published books, and a thriving multi-generational family farm, he draws on a lifetime of food, farming and fantasy to entertain and inspire audiences around the world. He’s as comfortable moving cows in a pasture as addressing CEOs in a Wall Street business conference. His wide-ranging topics include nitty-gritty how-to for profitable regenerative farming as well as cultural philosophy like orthodoxy vs. heresy. A wordsmith and master communicator, he moves audiences from laughs one minute to tears the next, from frustration to hopefulness. He co-owns, with his family, Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia, which services more than 5,000 families, 50 restaurants, 10 retail outlets, and a farmers’ market with salad bar, beef, pigaerator pork, pastured poultry, and forestry products. When he’s not on the road speaking, he’s at home on the farm, keeping the callouses on his hands and dirt under his fingernails, mentoring young people, inspiring visitors, and promoting local, regenerative food and farming systems. Salatin is the editor of The Stockman Grass Farmer, granddaddy catalyst for the grass farming movement. He writes the Pitchfork Pulpit column for Mother Earth News, as well as numerous guest articles for Acres U.S.A. and other publications. Mixing mischievous humor with hard-hitting information, Salatin both entertains and moves people. The rare combination of prophet and practitioner makes him both a must-read and must-hear in a time desperate for integrity leadership and example. He has authored 12 books and his speaking and writing reflect dirt-under-the-fingernails experience punctuated with mischievous humor. He passionately defends small farms, local food systems, and the right to opt out of the conventional food paradigm. Four generations of his family currently live and work on the farm.

Check out our growing list of speakers for this year's Eco-Ag Conference & Trade Show:



Nick Barnard co-founded Rude Health in London in 2005 with his wife Camilla. Rude Health is renowned for its innovative, delicious and nourishing foods and drinks, winning scores of awards for taste and ethical standards (including many Soil Association Organic Food awards, numerous Great Taste awards, and also being recognized in Cool Brand’s list of Britain’s trendiest brands). Nick is the inspiration behind the Rude Health rants, and is well-known for his infectious enthusiasm for traditional food and drinks. In 2013, he was crowned World Speciality Porridge Champion, and continues his quest for the Golden Spurtle. Writer of more than 16 non-fiction titles, in 2016 Nick released his first cookbook, Eat Right, an inspirational and upbeat celebration of positive eating. Nick’s book offers truly achievable and simple ideas, recipes and advice on how to be nourished by traditional foods in a modern world. Eat Right has won acclaim from food writers and chefs across the UK and is a nominee for a 2018 James Beard Award, the Oscars of the food world. Nick is also a stunt pilot in rude health, flying for the WingWalk Team…



Edwin Blosser founded Midwest Bio-Systems (MBS) in 1993 after having graduated from an intensive 7-year experiential training series, during which he had to prove he mastered the application of the training in renewable farming systems. He assists growers all over the world with their ever increasing challenges to produce profitable crops while improving soils. MBS also manufactures specialized compost equipment for large-scale production of humus compost, the backbone of many sustainable agricultural fertility programs. Edwin’s goal is to teach how to enhance the farming viability. He also assists producing Humus Compost and provide the tools that ensure grower success. MBS's goal is to provide growers with the knowledge of how to balance their soils with the least amount of cost and a greater predictability of end results.




Gabe Brown is a pioneer of the soil-health movement and has been named one of the twenty-five most influential agricultural leaders in the United States. Brown, his wife, Shelly, and son, Paul, own Brown’s Ranch, a holistic, diversified 5,000-acre farm and ranch near Bismarck, North Dakota. The Browns integrate their grazing and no-till cropping systems, which include cash crops and multi-species cover crops along with all-natural, grass-finished beef and lamb, pastured pork, and laying hens. The Brown family has received a Growing Green Award from the Natural Resources Defense Council, an Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the USA Zero-Till Farmer of the Year Award. Photo credit: Larry Reichenberger



Mike Callicrate is a farmer-rancher, business entrepreneur and family farm advocate. Widely sought for his expertise on the negative consequences of industrial meat production, he served as an advisor for the films Food Inc. and FRESH and for several best-selling books including Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. A native of Evergreen, Colorado, he began his career by earning a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Colorado State University in 1975. After college, he started farming and ranching at St. Francis in the northwest corner of Kansas. In 2000, he formed Ranch Foods Direct, a branded beef company based in Colorado Springs. His fabrication plant processes high quality meats, and his retail store sells those products along with many other seasonal and handcrafted items from the surrounding area. His company also operates a regional food hub, helping to collect and distribute locally produced food. In recent years, he transitioned his cattle operation in Northwest Kansas into a multi-species regenerative agricultural model that raises hogs and chickens as well as cattle. The animals are harvested at a USDA-inspected slaughter facility right on-site, which reduces stress and improves meat quality. You can learn more about his business enterprises by visiting



Nicole DelCogliano has owned and operated Green Toe Ground farm since 2001 in western NC. She and her husband farm biodynamic vegetables and sell into the Asheville market. She is the Farmer Programs Coordinator with the Organic Growers School, running their year long farmer training program, Farm Beginnings. She is passionate about teaching beginning farmers and keeping farmers on the land. She is a member of the Agricultural Advisory Panel in her home county and serves on the Voluntary Agricultural District board.



Vail Dixon is a regenerative farmer and holistic grazing mentor and founder of Simple Soil Solutions, Grazing Power, Grow Your Soil, and ABC Beef (About Being Conscious Grass Beef). Vail intensively researches and demonstrates ways to repair damaged soil biologically, and economically, fostering a connection between soil, plant, animal, ecosystem and human health. She is building her farm in Nelson County, Virginia, into a regional training center for regenerative farming and living that integrates Holistic Management, permaculture, and biological farming. Vail is interested in building strategic partnerships and collaborative community across the food and soil health movements, so that we all can learn from and help each other achieve positive change for our planet.



Paul Dorrance owns and operates a pasture-based livestock operation, marketing 100% grass-fed beef and lamb, as well as pastured non-GMO pork, poultry, and eggs, directly to consumers. Previously an active duty Air Force officer, Paul still serves our nation as a pilot in the Air Force Reserves. He is a graduate of Ohio Farm Bureau's “AgriPOWER” leadership development program, sits on the Steering Committee of the "Ohio Smart Agriculture - Solutions From The Land" project, is a member of the American Farm Bureau’s Issue Advisory Committee on Organics and Direct Marketing, and serves his community as a volunteer firefighter. Paul holds a BA in Aviation Computer Science, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (2001) and a MA in Military History - Civil War, American Military University (2009).



Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin leads the innovative poultry-centered regenerative agriculture system at the heart of Main Street Project. He focuses on the development of multi-level strategies for building triple bottom-line regenerative food and agriculture systems. He leads the design work and currently oversees system implementation in the United States, Mexico, Guatemala ad Columbia. He graduated from the Central National School of Agriculture, and studied at the Universidad de San Carlos in Guatemala. He is also a graduate of Augsburg College in Minneapolis with a major in international business administration. After working with indigenous communities in Guatemala, Regi consulted for the United Nations Development Program and advised the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. He is a founding member of the Fair Trade Federation and founder of Peace Coffee among other businesses.



Julia Hofmeister is the Director of Member Relations with Mercaris, an ag tech start-up that provides up-to-the-minute data and analysis around organic & non-GMO commodity markets, as well as an online auctions platform. Julia is start-up veteran, having worked with several food-tech startups throughout her career—including San Francisco-based AgLocal, a where she helped sustainable family farmers better market their value-added protein products. Her journey began at the University of Kentucky where she received a B.S. in Sustainable Agriculture, with a focus on organic production systems. While a student, she launched a non-profit program to battle food insecurity and help family farms in Kentucky, which cemented her interest in social entrepreneurship and food tech. Julia then went on to study entrepreneurship at Babson College, earning an MBA so that she can better create solutions through food technology.



Dr. Don Huber, Professor Emeritus, Purdue University, has researched the epidemiology and control of soilborne plant pathogens with emphasis on microbial ecology, cultural and biological controls, nutrient-disease interactions, pesticide-disease interactions, physiology of host-parasite relationships; impact of GMSs and pesticides no soil, crop, animal and human health; and techniques for rapid microbial identification for 55 years. He is author or co-author of over 300 journal articles, Experiment Station Bulletins, book chapters and review articles; 3 books, and 84 special invited publications as well as an active scientific reviewer; speaker; consultant to academia, industry, and government; and international research cooperator.



John Kempf is a leading crop health consultant and designer of innovative soil and plant management systems. John is the Founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a leading crop nutrition consulting company, and a Managing Partner at Zeno Capital Partners — a investment fund working in the areas of agriculture, food production, medicine and clean energy. John Kempf grew up on a fruit and vegetable farm in northeastern Ohio and experienced first-hand the challenges faced by crop producers everywhere. Growing fresh market vegetables since 1994, he witnessed intensifying disease and insect pressure on crops that did not respond to the usual pesticide treatments. He began seeking to understand the underlying causes of disease and insect pressure on crops and learned how to prevent pest damage to plants by enhancing natural plant immunity with nutrition. Learning from many leaders in the field of crop consulting and plant health, Kempf began building a comprehensive systems-based approach to plant nutrition, solidly based on the sciences of plant physiology, mineral nutrition, and soil microbiology. Today, Kempf is an internationally-recognized teacher on the topic of biological agriculture and plant immunity. Since 2006, Advancing Eco Agriculture has been a leader in the area of soil and plant nutrition, working with farmers internationally. John is a member of the Amish community and lives in Middlefield Ohio



Matthew D. Kleinhenz, PhD is a Professor and Extension Vegetable Specialist in the Dept. of Horticulture and Crop Science at The Ohio State University. He is based at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, OH. Vegetable production involves many tools and methods and a wide set of knowledge and skill, partly because production challenges are complex and require multiple partial solutions (i.e., a holistic approach). Matt uses his training as a horticulturalist and crop physiologist, knowledge, and role as an investigator and teacher in helping to create and growers to use improved tools and methods. These tools and methods usually involve establishing and maintaining productive combinations of crop, crop variety, and growing environment.



Hugh Lovel is a farmer, multi-disciplinary scientist and international teacher of Biodynamic and Quantum Agriculture. Author of A Biodynamic Farm and Quantum Agriculture: Biodynamics and Beyond, his articles appear in ACRES U.S.A., News Leaf (Biodynamic Agriculture Australia Journal) and Biodynamics, the Journal of the American Biodynamic Association (BDA). Hugh has over 40 years’ hands-on experience biodynamic farming and preparation making. After 30 years of farming he migrated to Australia in 2005 to teach, consult and write, and is committed to implementing Rudolf Steiner’s imperative to “ . . . impart the benefits of our agricultural preparations to the widest possible areas of the entire earth.” Hugh serves on the Biodynamic Agriculture Australia board as well as the Standards Australia FT-032 Organic and Biodynamic Committee, and aims to raise the level of scientific understanding of how biodynamics works. He and his wife, Shabari, reside in Blairsville, Georgia and the Kyogle Shire of New South Wales and welcome contact with other biodynamic growers.



Pamela Marrone is CEO/Founder of Marrone Bio Innovations (MBI), a company she started in 2006 to discover and develop bio‐based products for pest management and plant health. The company’s award winning products are used in fruit, nut, vegetable and row crop markets and several more products in the pipeline. The company received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award and a California Department of Pesticide Regulation IPM Innovator award. Dr. Marrone is an alumni‐elected trustee of Cornell University, Treasurer of the Association for Women in Science and is past‐Treasurer of the Organic Farming Research Foundation. She is Founding Chair of the Bio Products Industry Alliance (BPIA), a trade association of more than 100 biopesticide and related companies. She has a B.S. in entomology with Honors and Distinction from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in entomology from North Carolina State University.



Charles Massy gained a Bachelor of Science at Australian National University (ANU) in 1976 before going farming for 35 years and developing the prominent Merino sheep stud “Severn Park”. Concern at ongoing land degradation and humanity’s sustainability challenge led him to return to ANU in 2009 to undertake a PhD in Human Ecology. Charles was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his service as chair and director of a number of research organizations and statutory wool boards. He has also served on national and international review panels in sheep and wool research and development and genomics. Charles has authored several books on the Australian sheep industry, the most recent being the widely acclaimed Breaking the Sheep’s Back, which was short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Australian Literary Awards in Australian History in 2012.Photo credit: Theo Schoo



Judith McGeary is an attorney, activist and sustainable farmer. After earning her B.S. from Stanford University and her J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, she clerked for a Federal Appeals Court and went onto private law practice. During that time, she became a passionate advocate of sustainable agriculture, and she and her husband established a livestock farm. After seeing how government regulations benefit industrial agriculture at the expense of family farms, she founded the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance to promote common-sense policies for local, diversified agricultural systems. Judith appears in the documentary Farmageddon, has written many articles for Acres U.S.A., and has been interviewed on numerous radio shows across the country. You can contact Judith at or 254-697-2661.



Jeff Moyer is a world-renowned authority in organic agriculture. His expertise includes organic crop production systems with a focus on weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modification and use, and facilities design. Jeff is perhaps most well-known for conceptualizing and popularizing the No-Till Roller Crimper for use in organic agriculture. In 2011, he wrote Organic No-Till Farming, a publication that has become a resource for farmers throughout the world. Jeff brings a farmer’s perspective and approach to issues in organic agriculture. He is a past chair of the National Organic Standards Board, a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic, the Chairman of the Board of Director of The Seed Farm, part of the Green America Non-GMO Working Group, a Project Member of The Noble Foundation’s Soil Renaissance project, and a Board Member of PA Farm Link.



Glen Rabenberg is the founder and owner of Soil Works LLC. Born and raised in Bancroft, South Dakota, he was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science, General Agriculture and Agriculture Economics from South Dakota State University in 1985. Glen then went to work for Walco International as an Animal Science Technical Advisor. Through his experience he began to notice trends in the animal science industry. He saw that many of the diseases he was employed to treat were the result of nutritional deficiencies from poor grains and forage that the animals were consuming. Rather than conforming to the traditional methods of soil science, Glen brings his knowledge of animal science and applies it to the soil. Many of the same required nutritional ratios shared by humans, animals, and plants are reflected in the soil. He believes that the soil is a living organism and that the health of the soil should be checked in the same manner that humans and animals are checked. He has successfully solved numerous soil problems by treating the soil as a living breathing organism and correcting the cause instead of reacting to symptoms. Glen continues to search for new ways to restore the soil and aid in the production of quality food. He aims to bring soil back to the way nature intended. He still maintains his third generation farm in Bancroft, South Dakota and travels the world solving the world’s soil problems with a little bit of simplicity and the “rite” tools.



Brendon Rockey is a third generation farmer in Center, Colorado. On Rockey Farms, he raises specialty potatoes and quinoa among fields of green manure, all cultivated in a living environment. Companion crops, animals, cover crops and flowers replace synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. The 500-acre, irrigated farming system sustains yields, has greater water efficiency and it supports a flourishing ecosystem encouraging beneficial insects, soil microbes and carbon cycling. Rockey Farms was awarded the 2014 National Potato Council Environmental Stewardship Award and the 2011 Colorado Association of Conservation Districts Farming Division Conservationist of the Year Award for its practices. In October, The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign and the National Association of Conservation Districts honored Brendon with the 2017 Farmer- Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award in Washington D.C.



Fred Provenza is professor emeritus of Behavioral Ecology in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University. At Utah State Provenza 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. Provenza 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 also the author of Foraging Behavior and the co-author of The Art & Science of Shepherding.



Mark Shepard is a Wisconsin-based permaculture designer, agroforester and ecological farming consultant. He and his family have transformed a typical 140-acre row-crop dairy farm into a permaculture-based perennial-agricultural ecosystem using oak savannah, successional brushland and Eastern woodlands as ecological models. In all, they have planted 100,000 trees on this property. The result is one of the first and finest farm-scale models of permaculture in the United States. New Forest Farm features chestnut, hazelnut and fruit trees, a variety of other fruits and vegetables, chickens, ducks, pigs and other animals. He is the author of Restoration Agriculture and the subject of the video Restoration Agriculture in Practice. He is currently working on a new book for Acres U.S.A. on water management.



Wayne Wengerdwas one of the founders of Green Field Farms – a cooperative of organic farmers that started in 2003 in the Holmes County, Ohio Amish community. Wayne served on the Board of Directors for 14 years. Wayne Wengerd is also the founder of Pioneer Equipment Inc. – a company that manufactures horse drawn farm machinery in northeast Ohio. He currently fills an advisory and consultation role for both organizations and is actively involved in numerous philanthropical projects throughout the community.



Dr. Nasha Winters ND, FABNO, L.Ac, Dipl.OM is the visionary and CEO as well as best-selling author, lecturer, and the primary consultant of Optimal TerrainTM. Informed by more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry and a thought leader in personalized precision medicine, Dr. Nasha works to educate clients, doctors and researchers world wide on how to apply integrative oncology philosophically and therapeutically. Passionate about nourishing, quality food and its implications in healing or poisoning the body while targeting many of the processes that drive cancer and chronic illness, Dr. Nasha Winters, along with her co-author Jess Higgins Kelley, MNT authored the book, The Metabolic Approach to Cancer as it serves as the foundation in which Optimal Terrain approaches each and every client.



Gary Zimmer is Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Midwestern BioAg. Known as the “father” of biological agriculture, Zimmer is an internationally known author, speaker, and consultant. He owns Otter Creek Organic Farm, a family-operated, award-winning 1,000 acre farm near Lone Rock, Wisconsin, and has been on the board of Taliesin Preservation Inc. since 2011. Zimmer is the author of three books, The Biological Farmer (Second Edition), The Biological Farmer and Advancing Biological Farming, and numerous articles on soils and livestock nutrition.



Leilani Zimmer Durand is Vice President of Education Initiatives at Midwestern BioAg where she heads the training and education programs and works closely with the R&D team. Since joining the company in 2006, Leilani has authored numerous articles and a biological farming book with her father, Gary Zimmer, and speaks both nationally and internationally on the connection between healthy soils and healthy, high-yielding crops. Leilani also maintains a close connection with her brother’s farm, Otter Creek Organic Farm, and collects both data and stories from the numerous on-farm demonstration trials and interesting crop experiments conducted on the 1,300 acre farm each year. Before joining Midwestern BioAg, she spent 13 years attending graduate school and working in ecosystem restoration and endangered species management in Hawaii.



Other speakers at this year's event include:

Dan Kittredge
Steve Tucker
Aaron Weaver
Raymond Yoder Jr.
...and more to come!