Much discussion around climate and food security is happening.
Few conversations connect the two.
An idea founder for Health First, Rick is a regenerative soil care taker from North Dakota. Because of the success of regenerative practices on his farm, he has recently been able to pass the torch of soil stewardship to his son. Rick is passionate about soil care, and producing the healthiest products for the consumers.
An idea founder for Health First, Bud has a background in conservation. Bud Davis spent 15 years as a state agronomist in Kansas educating agricultural producers how management practices impact soil erosion. Traveling the world educating on conservation management Bud realized the focus should be on "health" all the way around.
An idea founder for Health First, Keith has practiced conservation farming since 1992. He has learned conservation farming practices from innovative producers around the world. His conservation efforts were featured in the conservation book and documentary film "Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman".
The 11th Commandment, written in a USDA Bulletin in the 1930s, instructed farmers to “care for the land.” Scott Ravenkamp has adopted that commandment as a guide as important as the rest of the Commandments. Farming in the semi-arid environment of eastern Colorado, Scott embraced conservation farming in the mid 1990s. What started as cost saving management decisions on the farm led to increases in soil health that developed into a passion for regenerative farming systems.
He served as a board member and officer for two no-till organizations in Colorado and Kansas, facilitating the exchange of conservation farming ideas and has spoken internationally to help educate producers on soil health systems and how those systems can be implemented anywhere.
He now applies that passion as the contract production manager for Green Cover Seed in Nebraska. Working with
producers nationwide to grow quality seed stock for diverse forage and cover crops he observed regenerative systems produced more viable seed stock. It begges the questions, “Why do these systems create more viable seed stock? What other benefits besides germination and vigor may be impacted with healthy soils? How do we reproduce these systems across the globe?”
Some say seeing is believing. Other say belief is knowing something when you are unable to see it. For Josh Lloyd, building soil health is both.
Spending several years as a contractor building homes across Kansas, Josh knows a little about how structure and function combine to create beautiful living spaces. He sees the same principles can be applied to his farm to create a beautiful living space for his family and the biological communities that make all things happen. He implemented changes in farming practices, and integrated a diverse livestock herd that includes cattle and hairsheep with the belief they would help the soil system in many ways. Several years later he can quantify those decisions with improved soil health scores and income. He recently began growing cash crops together with the belief biological communities above and below ground would allow those companion and relay crops to utilize resources more efficiently by creating crop synergism. So far, the results have paid off.
His focus on soil health has not gone unnoticed. He has been featured in many agriculture publications and honored by different commodity groups increasing his influence and knowledge along the way.
Becky Ravenkamp brings insight to Health First’s purpose from two viewpoints. Coming from a ranching and farming background her passion is for the land and the people who make their living from them. After spending all her life involved in ranching and farming, she took interest in nutrition after her own health depended on it. Symptoms of food intolerances in her and her children left her with mommy guilt and regret, forcing her to evaluate nutrient sources and the quality of her own shopping choices.
Transferring what she learned over the years about the principles of soil health to gut health has led to the start of healing and wellness. She continues to be fascinated by the way food effects functions of the whole body and continues to look for the best nutrition options for her and her family. Drawing parallels between soil and gut health principles led to a desire to explore the possibility of creating healthier food from healthier soils. She continues to support the adoption of regenerative production systems and explore the connection they play with nutrient density, plant health, animal health and human health as the Executive Director of Health First.