Groundswell - 28th and 29th June 2017
See below some of the speakers who are lined up to speak at Groundswell 2017, in no particular order:
Dr Christine Jones (Australia)
To the pressing worldwide challenge of restoring topsoil, soil ecologist Dr Christine Jones offers an accessible, inspiring perspective. Over several decades, Christine has worked with innovative farmers and graziers implementing regenerative land management practices that enhance biodiversity, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, productivity, water quality and community and catchment health. Following a highly respected career in public sector R&D, she founded 'Amazing Carbon' and organised a series of ‘Managing the Carbon Cycle’ forums to promote the benefits of soil carbon. Christine received a Community Fellowship Award from Land and Water Australia for ‘mobilising the community to better manage land, water and vegetation.’ In recent years she has gained international recognition as a speaker, presenting on ‘The Fundamentals of Soil’ at workshops, field days, seminars and conferences throughout Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Western Europe, Central America, USA and Canada.
Graeme Sait (Australia)
Graeme is founder & CEO of Nutri-Tech solutions. Over the last 21 years NTS has pioneered many popular approaches to soil and plant nutrition in Australia. It has trained tens of thousands of farmers and consultants across four continents. The Nutrition Farming® approach involves an emphasis on achieving maximum health and resilience for soil, plants, livestock, people and the planet, with the goal of sustainable production of nutrient-dense food for the protection and sustenance of all who consume it. It is also designed to maximise profit for food producers
Tom Chapman (UK)
Tom currently manages a herd of 135 native-breed suckler cows (Sussex and Hereford) under a mob-grazing regime in Hertfordshire. He introduced this system of grazing into his arable rotation in 2009 and completed a Nuffield Farming Scholarship on the subject in 2011, which you can read here.
His goals for the herd are to extend the grazing season to reduce the winter feeding period, as far as is possible on heavy clay. This allows him to minimise the use of purchased inputs including fertiliser and fossil fuel, and ultimately to produce 100% forage-fed beef.
Tom also wants to share his experience and knowledge with arable farmers, helping them to improve their soils through the use of mob-grazed cattle.
Joel Williams (UK)
Joel is founder of Biolife Ag, an independent crop and soil health consultancy. He has worked on conventional and organic farms in UK and Australia on improving farming practices, investigating biological farming principles and providing soil chemical and biological assessments to primary producers throughout Europe.
Amir Kassam (UK)
Amir Kassam is the Moderator of the Global Platform for No-Till Conservation Agriculture Community of Practice (CA-CoP) hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. He is the Chairman of the International Conservation Agriculture Advisory Panel for Africa (ICAAP-Africa) of the African Conservation Tillage (ACT) Network. Amir is Visiting Professor in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, UK. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Honours List in 2005 for services to tropical agriculture and to rural development.
Amir’s work is focused on globalizing the development of No-Till Conservation Agriculture systems for sustainable agriculture intensification and land management. During his career, Amir has worked with a number of national and international agricultural development and research institutions, including several CGIAR centers, UN agencies and NGOs. His former positions include: Deputy Director General of WARDA (the Africa Rice Centre); Interim Executive Secretary of the CGIAR Science Council; Chairman of: the Aga Khan Foundation (UK); Chairman of Focus Humanitarian Assistance Europe Foundation; and Chairman of Tropical Agriculture Association, UK.
Tim May (UK)
In 2012, Tim May’s Nuffield Scholarship findings led the 2,500-acre Kingsclere Estate he manages to re-think its arable cropping. “After 10 years of an ‘all arable’ farming business, it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain yields,” says Tim. “It was clear that the soil, the foundation of any farming system, was becoming lifeless and a new approach was required.” Farming alternatives with complementary synergies were investigated and the decision taken to move to a more diverse, mixed farming system. Just under half of the farm area was taken out of arable production and put into four-year mixed herbal and red clover leys. To further aid soil improvement and maintain the economic output from these leys, a 1,700-strong flock of breeding ewes and a 150-head beef herd were also introduced.
Jamie Stotzka (UK)
Jamie has recently completed a BSc in Commercial Horticulture with a dissertation in the effects of fungicides on mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) populations. Joining PlantWorks from East Malling Research (EMR) in 2014, Jamie now heads up R&D activities and has become well versed in the use, benefits and application of AMF and Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) into Agriculture and Horticulture, a growing knowledge that Jamie enjoys sharing with Growers and Farmers who have a particular interest in adopting more biologically active production systems and no-till cultivation methods.
Dr Jackie Stroud (UK)
Jackie is a soil scientist who has just been awarded a NERC Soil Security Fellowship with her project ‘Ploughing on regardless?’, focussed on earthworm management in agriculture. She has published over 30 scientific articles and worked with farmers in both the UK and Australia. She is establishing tillage experiments at Rothamsted Research (Harpenden) to understand the impacts and enhance the benefits of alternative cultivation methods in UK agroclimate conditions. Jackie will be sharing her knowledge of managing earthworm populations (Instagram: @wormhunters2015) and will provide you with an opportunity to have your say on which areas of agricultural scientific research that would have the biggest impact on/enhance your management practices.
John and Paul Cherry (UK)
John and Paul are brothers and 5th generation farmers at the Groundswell host farm. The last six years they have been in continous no-till and will be sharing some of the trials and tribulations from their journey.
Dr Jacqueline Hannam
Jack is a soil scientist and has been a research scientist at Cranfield University for over 10 years. Her passion is understanding how soils change at field and landscape scales and how we can use this to apply effective soil management strategies. She also uses environmental data and novel technologies to better understand soil systems to enhance soil health and sustainable soil management at the farm level. She is a council member of the British Society of Soil Science and is the chair of the South East England Regional Group and the Education Committee. She is also a committee member of the Soil System Sciences division of the European Geoscience Union, Europe’s largest gathering of geoscientists. She likes getting her hands dirty and has extensive field experience in soil mapping in the UK and Europe. You can find her tweeting about soil and the environment @Dirt_Science.
Alex is a researcher and Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) at Cranfield University. Her main area of research is soil erosion mitigation and the use of materials that can reduce phosphorus inputs to watercourses. She is on the council of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE), and is a regional representative and teacher for the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS).
Alex will be talking about a citizen science project which allows growers to undertake low cost scientific experiments within their own kitchen. The Freezing Point Depression (FPD) method allows growers to accurately establish the moisture release curve of their soil. This provides essential information regarding soil health, irrigation requirements, and compaction levels. This aids better soil management, reduced crop stress, and increased yields.
David Montgomery and Anne Biklé (USA)
David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. Author of three award-winning popular-science books, he has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on TV and radio programs, including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered. When not writing or doing geology, he plays guitar in the band Big Dirt.
Anne Biklé is a biologist whose wide-ranging interests have led her into watershed restoration, environmental planning, and public health. An engaging speaker on public health and the built and natural environments, she has also worked extensively with community groups and nonprofit organizations on environmental stewardship and urban livability projects. The Hidden Half of Nature is her first book. She spends her free time out in the garden with her hands on plants and dirt.
Rick Bieber (USA)
Rick Bieber is a "Soil Care Taker" from the heart of the North American continent. He farms in a 425mm rainfall zone on 5000 acres of cropland and also has 5000 acres of native rangeland for a 500 head cow/calf operation.
He has been in a continuous low disturbance no-till system for 30 years, using cover crops for the past 18 years. His main crops are Hard Red
Spring Wheat, Corn, Sunflowers, Chickpeas, Buckwheat, Millet and Lucerne.
Rick is a strong advocate of diverse crop rotations and profitability for successful no-till systems approach to soil care. He has been a popular speaker at a number of no-till conferences throughout the Northern Great
Plains and the Pacific Northwest of the United States over the last 20 years.
He will share his learning experiences from the soils that have been in his family for the last 100 years. Including cost of productions and water and nutrient use efficiencies with the implementation of low disturbance no-till and multi-species cover crops. He will also summarise how no-till and cover crops have
affected the soils of the world where Rick has travelled.
Keith Thompson (USA)
Keith Thompson farms with his son, Ben and brother, Doug, near Osage City, Kansas, USA. Their farm has been in a continuous no-till system since 1991. The system has evolved to include growing more species of cash crops, plus adding cover crops and livestock to benefit the environment and society in the way it mimics Mother Nature. Crops produced on their farm include corn, grain sorghum, soybeans, wheat and sunflowers, plus cover crops and forage crops. The Thompsons believe in no-till’s environmentally friendly practices and the practice has improved profitability on their farm. Keith has recently starred in a film and book called Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman that documents some of the inspiring regeneration that his family have done to their farm.
Andrew Howard (UK)
Andrew is a no-till farmer from Ashford, Kent. He is a Nuffield scholar and will talk about the potential for companion cropping and intercropping on UK arable farms You can download his fascinating Nuffield report here.
His interest in regenerative agriculture was sparked by reading Graeme Sait’s book called “Nutrition Rules” and he has since been experimenting with methods of soil improvement and nutrient balance to help improve farm performance, with relative success.
Dr Sarah Beynon (UK)
Sarah is a scientist and ‘bug farmer’. She has spent her career working with farmers and conservation organisations to deliver advice on habitat management for invertebrates. Her specialism and the subject of her talk at Groundswell is the importance of dung beetles in the soil cycle and the valuable unsung contribution they make to the agricultural sector.
George "Bud" Davis (USA)
George “Bud” Davis, retired Kansas State Conservsation Agronomist for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has 40 years of experience in natural resource management systems. In 2008 he received the No-Till Farmer’s Research and Education Innovator’s Award and No-till on the Plains awarded him in 2016 for “Innovative Contributions to Education and Promotion of No-till Agriculture Systems Worldwide”.
Mike Harrington (UK)
Mike has been advising farmers for over 30 years. He initially trained as a chemical specialist, however soon realised that the problems with chemical fertilisers and the increasing resistance to herbicides, fungicides and insecticides would not be solved with current methods. 11 years ago he founded the company Edaphos, an agronomy firm dedicated to improving soil and soil biology, to
harness its full potential and create a well-balanced system. His work has taken him to many countries including the US, China and Italy from which he has taken valuable knowledge of different farming methods.
More people are moving towards a no-till system, and each farm will have its own starting point and its own problems to face. Mike will be discussing the potential limitations and how we can recognise and manage them to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Phil Jarvis (UK)
Manager at the Allerton Project, Loddington Estate, which has been researching farm ecosystems and the effects of different farming methods on wildlife and the environment for over 20 years.
Nathan Norris (UK)
Nathan Norris studied for a PhD in Plant Sciences at the University of Reading looking at establishing arable crops in UK cereal stubbles using strip tillage. Nathan now works at NIAB as the Farming Systems and Soils Specialist. Particular interests and expertise include developing farming systems to improve soil structure and stability whist maintaining crop productivity and understanding nutrient dynamics for efficient crop production. Wider interest in identifying crop ideotypes with improved performance under non-inversion tillage approaches that would provide more stable yields and potentially offer improved drought or disease tolerance within production systems. Nathan has published a number of papers on farming and tillage systems including a review paper on the adoption of non-inversion tillage that was published in Soil and Tillage Research. Nathan is a full member of The British Society of Soil Science and the International Fertiliser Society and holds full Fertiliser Advisors Certification (FACTS).
Dr Lynda Deeks
Lynda is an experienced soil scientist with interests in the causes and controls of soil compaction and mitigation of soil erosion. Currently she is also a NERC Horticulture Knowledge Exchange Fellow. Within her Fellowship role Lynda is helping to encourage stronger collaboration between the horticulture, potato and science sectors in order to improve sector relevant science and its dissemination.
Tom is a 2nd year research student at Cranfield University working under the supervision of Dr Jacqueline Hannam and Dr Rob Simmons. Tom is sponsored by G’s Growers to investigate the effect of cover crops within a wheat, maize and lettuce rotation.
As part of this work Tom has distributed a survey to UK growers to gather information on soil management practices, in particular the use and management of cover crops. Groundswell Agriculture will be the first chance to report back to the growers and industry on some of the findings from the survey.