Board and Partners
Michael Thompson - Almena, KS
Michael farms in partnership as Thompson Farm and Ranch LLC with his brother Brian and father Richard. The operation is located in Northeast Norton County near Almena, KS. They grow corn, soybeans, and wheat. They also manage a cow/calf beef herd that rotationally grazes on native range and diverse cover crops grown on farmland when there is not a cash grain crop growing. The operation is 100 percent no-till with a focus on increasing biology, soil cover, water holding capacity, and carbon levels of the soils they manage.
Brice Custer - Hays, KS
Brice Custer is the owner and operator of Custer Farms LLC in Hays, Kansas. He operates a no till farming operation that includes growing corn, wheat, milo, oats, and barley. In 2008 he started planting cover crops into the summer follow period of the crop rotation. A few years later he started to realize benefits like weed suppression and soil health improvement that the cover crops were providing. With the growing interest in cover crops the farm started growing crops like triticale, millet, winter peas, and beans. It was not long before a cover crop seed sales operation took off. Now the farm is growing, selling, and mixing cover crop seed year around.
Rock Ormiston - Kismet, KS
Rock Ormiston, his wife Stephanie of 38 years and his son, Rocky own and operate Ormiston Farms, GP out of Kismet, KS.
Rock received his BS in Agriculture Economics from Kansas State University and immediately went back to begin Farming along with other Ag Enterprises to supplement the farm. Their farm consists of irrigated corn, beans, alfalfa, and triticale. After introducing covers to their farm in 2015, they saw a need to bring livestock back to the farm to graze the covers and now operate both a Commercial and Registered Red Angus herd, while also taking on stockers for winter grazing of the cereal rye. Although mostly strip-till, their farm is quickly moving to no-till with 100% covers, while utilizing Swine and Dairy effluent as their sole source of fertilizer in order to achieve optimum soil health.
Nick Guetterman - Bucyrus, KS
Nick Guetterman is a 4th generation row crop farmer in east central Kansas. He raises no-till corn, soybeans, and wheat. Nick began using cover crops in 2011 and now have cover crops on nearly 100% of his acres.
Mary Howell - Frankfort, KS
Mary Howell has been a part of agriculture most all of her life. Growing up on a farm in west-central Kansas, she started her cow herd at a very young age with an orphan heifer calf. Adding heifers over the years, a commercial cow-calf operation was put together. Today, Mary along with her husband Dan raise cattle, have converted their northeast Kansas farm completely to grass, forages, and cover-crops to complement their native grass. They have one adult daughter, Ashley.
For the last twenty-five years, Mary has worked with Kansas Graziers Association, Kansas Rural Center, Kansas Farmers Union, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Steams, and collected data for Kansas Ag Statistics. Her work promotes improving agricultural stewardship and practices in grazing, soil health, farming, water quality, livestock handling, stockmanship, and herd health. Mary serves on the Kansas Soil Health Alliance as a producer board member. She also is a board member on the National Grazing Lands Coalition.
Mary is a service provider for farmers, ranchers, and many of the above mentioned organizations putting together educational programs, tours, and activities to bring producers together to learn ways to improve their livelihood, production, and profit. She believes that one of the very best ways to learn is to offer farmers, ranchers, as well as organizations and agency folks the opportunity to get together, take advantage of educational opportunities, share their successes and struggles to learn from each other.
Cade Rensink - Minneapolis, KS
Cade and his wife, Amanda, are raising sixth-generation Kansas ranchers in their sons, Callan and Colyer. Their family operates in western Ottawa County and northwest Saline County where they have a commercial cow herd, a backgrounding enterprise, and do custom grazing. Their resource base is primarily native tall grass prairie and crop residues. Over the years, his family has converted many cropland acres to permanent grassland.
Cade also works for K-State Research & Extension as the Director of the Central Kansas District. Prior to his administrative role, he was a Livestock Production Agent for the district where he provided technical service and educational programs to agricultural producers with a focus on grazing livestock production, natural resource stewardship and farm/ranch management. He is a graduate of Kansas State University with a B.S. degree in Animal Science & Industry and minors in Agronomy and Agricultural Economics. Cade also holds a Master’s Degree in Range Science from K-State.
To steal a term from one of his friends, Cade is a “has been.” He has been Chairman of the Ranchland Trust of Kansas, President of the Kansas Section of the Society for Range Management and the Ottawa County Farm Bureau, and a director of the Kansas Forage and Grassland Council. In addition to the Kansas Soil Health Alliance, Cade is currently a board member of the Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition. In their spare time, Cade and his family are avid outdoors people who enjoy hunting, fishing, boating, and going to sporting events.
Dr. Lucinda Stuenkel - Palmer, KS
Darin Williams - Waverly, KS
Jennifer first began learning about soil health through her coursework in Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Kansas State University. Two years after graduation, she moved to Jewell County to be with her husband, Chad, on his family's farm and ranch. They began no-tilling in 2003 and added in cover crops in 2006. Since then, they have continued to adopt all the principles of regenerative agriculture. Improving soil health is a key driver in their operation.
Jennifer has seen first-hand the value of applying soil health principles and, as coordinator of the Kansas Soil Health Alliance, is ready to organize efforts to help more growers in Kansas learn what improved soil health can do for their operations.
Outside of the farm and the Kansas Soil Health Alliance, Jennifer volunteers in many capacities in her community and church and, along with Chad, enjoys attending their three children's school and extracurricular activities.