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Billings Hotel & Convention Center

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Featured Keynote Speakers

Jerry Doan

Black Leg Ranch – McKenzie, ND

Jerry and his wife Renae, along with their family, operate Black Leg Ranch. The ranch was homesteaded in 1882 by Jerry’s Great Grandfather in what was then Dakota Territory.

They use holistic management to operate their ranch regenerating the natural resources and allowing wildlife to flourish and have made huge strides in improving the soil health of native rangeland and cropland while improving the bottom line and quality of life for the next generation to become involved in the ranch. Jerry and his family operate a cow calf and buffalo operation offering grass finished beef and bison products that are Audubon certified bird friendly. They also operate Rolling Plains Adventure, a full-service hunting/outfitting business on the ranch, Black Leg Events, an agri-tourism business, and Black Leg Brewery. These ventures have allowed them to spread a positive message about agriculture to thousands of consumers, including people from all 50 states and 40 foreign countries.

The ranch is a living classroom for many soils health and grazing tours as well as university students wanting to learn about regenerative agriculture.

Jerry is currently chairman of the N.D. Grazing Lands Coalition, Governor appointed to the N.D. Natural Resources Trust board. He is a board member of Partnerscapes and an advisory board member of The Nature Conservancy. Jerry is past chairman of the N.D. Ag Coalition, The N.D. Beef Commission, N.D. State Board of Ag Research, Rural Leadership N.D. He has also been a 4-H leader for over 4 decades. Black Leg Ranch is honored to have won the National Environmental Stewardship Award, the inaugural N.D. Leopold Award, and was inducted into the N.D. Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Brendon Rockey

Rockey Farms – Center, Colorado

Brendon Rockey raises upwards of 25 varieties of certified seed and specialty fresh market potatoes on his third generation family farm in Center, Colorado. Across the farm’s 500 irrigated acres, companion crops, animals, cover crops and flowers replace synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. These management decisions have resulted in sustained yields and improved water efficiency for over a decade. Brendon’s creation of an ecosystem that encourages beneficial insects, soil microbes and carbon cycling works not only out in the field, but inside his seed potato greenhouse as well. Commitment to a living system is what makes Rockey Farms successful.

Learn about Brendon’s biotic approach and why it is founded on carbon cycling and diversity. In his presentation, he will explain how synthetic inputs and the absence of life break a farming system and, in turn, how a biotic approach heals and establishes a foundation to strengthen a farm’s overall health. He will demonstrate how he implements biotic tools and resources to successfully grow a quality seed crop in a place where seed and commercial production must coexist. Brendon will also share his economic mindset and explore the nuances of certified seed and fresh market potato production.

John Kempf

Advancing Eco Agriculture & – Ohio

John Kempf is the founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a regenerative agronomy consulting company, and, an agriculture social network.

John founded Advancing Eco Agriculture in 2006 to share the knowledge, tools, and systems that regenerate farm profitability and soil and plant health. AEA has a track record of success in delivering exceptional yield and quality improvement results on millions of acres of fruit, nut, vegetable, and broad acre crops in North America. AEA is known for developing crop nutrition management systems that increase yields and profitability while reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides.

John created KindHarvest.Ag in 2020 to make it easier for farmers to learn from each other in an online environment. Leading farmers from around the world ask questions and exchange their knowledge and experiences through forums, groups, and online classes. John is the host of the Regenerative Agriculture podcast, where he interviews leading farmers and scientists that describe cutting edge practices and science that accelerates the healing of soil, crops, livestock, and our relationship to the land.

John’s mission is to have regenerative agriculture management systems implemented on 80% of all agricultural acres globally by 2040 and is fascinated by the science of how soil and plant systems actually work, and enjoys connecting the dots that are often ignored.

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