Program, Speakers & Abstracts


Program Summary


Monday 23 March — Pre-Conference

15.00-17.30 Farmer Support Groups Venue and low cost registration to be advised
17.30-19.00 Welcome Reception
Albury City Council Civic Welcome
Sam Johnson, Boxgum Grazing Paddock to Plate Business using Holistic Management

Tuesday 24 March — Conference

08.30-10.30
Session 1: The Big Picture — Why Farms Matter
Jenny Bell Jenny Bell, Earth Canvas

Jenny was born into a farming family in southern NSW. In the 1980’s she studied at the National Art School and received her degree from Sydney College of the Arts. Although from an early age she had an accord with nature and an affinity with farm life she assumed that life drawing classes in Darlinghurst and the challenges of her art education would lead to pastures well beyond the farm gate.

In a twist of fate she found the reverse was true. The skills of observing, rendering, noticing and persisting acquired during her training were anchored, when after a decade away - she returned. Over time unexpected parallels between the art of farming and visual art revealed themselves. The adoption of holistic management principles and the processes involved in the regeneration of a farm sparked a deepening of these symmetries. The EarthCanvas project, where Jenny was the artist matched with farmers Anna and Michael Coghlan, was a catalyst for her to examine, understand and articulate the meeting of these worlds. Jenny will share her insights into this creative convergence.

Artists and Regenerative Agriculture
Allan Savory Allan Savory, Savory Institute

Allan Savory, born in Zimbabwe and educated in South Africa (University of Natal, BS in Zoology and Botany) pursued an early career as a research biologist and game ranger in the British Colonial Service of what was then Northern Rhodesia (today Zambia) and later as a farmer and game rancher in Zimbabwe. In the 1960s he made a significant breakthrough in understanding what was causing the degradation and desertification of the world’s grassland ecosystems and, as a resource management consultant, worked with numerous managers on four continents to develop sustainable solutions.

He served as a Member of Parliament in the latter days of Zimbabwe’s civil war and became the leader of the opposition to the ruling party headed by Ian Smith. Exiled in 1979 as a result of his opposition, he immigrated to the United States, where he continued to work with land managers through his consulting business. The growth of that business, a desire to assist many more people and the need for furthering his work led him to continue its development in the nonprofit world. In 1992 Savory and his wife, Jody Butterfield, formed a non-profit organization in Zimbabwe, the Africa Centre for Holistic Management, donating a ranch that would serve as a learning site for people all over Africa. In 2009 Savory, Butterfield, and a group of colleagues co-founded the Savory Institute in Boulder, Colorado to serve the world through an international network of entrepreneurial innovators and leaders committed to serving their regions with the highest standards of Holistic Management training and implementation support. The Africa Centre became the first of the Savory Institute’s locally led and managed “hubs.”

Savory’s book, Holistic Management: A Commonsense Revolution to Restore Our Environment, Third Edition (Island Press, 2016), describes his effort to find workable solutions ordinary people could implement to overcome many of the problems besetting communities and businesses today.

In 2003, Allan Savory received Australia’s International Banksia Award “for the person or organization doing the most for the environment on a global scale,” and in 2010 Savory (and the Africa Centre) received the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s Challenge award for work that has “significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.” A TED talk Savory gave in 2013 has received close to 7 million views and in 2014 was voted one of the 50 most intriguing TED talks of all time. In 2015 he received the Mary G. Enig Integrity in Science Award from The Weston A. Price Foundation.

Reductionist Thinking, Holistic Management and Regenerative Agriculture
David Farley David Farley, Matrix Commodities

David Farley is an accomplished Executive Leader, Chairman and CEO with a life-long, global career in agribusiness. David achieved a portfolio of success leading publicly listed and private organisations with revenues in the hundreds of millions through significant growth, transformation and change. Leveraging a broad knowledge base of soft commodity trading, international investment, distribution network design and optimisation and co-operative sales and marketing structures David is a passionate agricultural policy advocate and global markets, technology and innovation enthusiast, a recognised thought leader, David holds strong networks and relationships with institutional agricultural fund investors (USA, UK and Australia), government stakeholders, and capital markets and across the global agribusiness sector.

Regenerative Agriculture, Better Food and Health
Anna Rose, Farmers for Climate Action Engaging Courageously in Confronting the Climate Challenge
Lyn Sykes Lyn Sykes

Lyn has been a leader in the traditionally male world of agriculture. For more than three decades she has made a significant contribution by raising awareness of and improving the skills relating to communication and succession. Lyn is recognised as the pioneer of a family-focused approach to succession planning, centered on a facilitated family meeting clarifying the visions and goals of each member in order to develop a shared way forward. She has worked to develop a cooperative approach to the sensitive area of succession, including cooperation between family members and their professional advisors. At the height of this work she was facilitating in excess of 100 family meetings a year in all states.

Lyn has also had a long-time involvement chairing other sensitive topics and was the independent chair of the Environmental Flows Group in the Macquarie River from its inception until 2013. She has had considerable involvement in many leadership, communication and conflict resolution workshops. She believes when groups work cooperatively and harness the strengths of these differences great things are possible. Lyn is a sought-after speaker as her humor, challenging style and long experience are a great asset to training leadership development or conferences.

Social Consequences – Why Farms Matter
Daniela Ibarra-Howell, Savory Institute Holistic Management as the Foundation for Regenerative Agriculture
10.30-11.00 Morning Tea
11.00-13.00
Session 2: Building Natural Capital — Farm Performance Options
Terry McCosker, Resource Consulting Services [Topic to be confirmed]
Peter Richardson, MAIA Technology Data & Benefits of Planned Grazing
Brian Wehlburg Brian Wehlburg, Inside Outside Management

No-one is more passionate or has done more to educate people about Holistic Management and Regenerative Ag' in Australia. From Zimbabwe, Brian Wehlburg migrated to Australia in 2001. His initial experience as an educator was gained as an instructor with the Army Parachute School. Following this he obtained an agricultural diploma and, in 1981, after two years as a farm manager started his own agricultural enterprise, growing crops for export, breeding cattle and operating a safari/wildlife conservancy.

An introductory Holistic Management course in 1995 with Allan inspired Brian to implement his new knowledge, using grazing as a tool to improve the environment with resulting significant pasture improvement and regeneration of water seeps. In 1998 he completed the Holistic Management Educator’s course and started teaching Allan’s work. Since arriving in Australia Brian broadened this hands-on experience, working for a pastoral enterprise in SW Queensland as a pasture/cattle manager, a grazing consultant, and managing a grazing property in New South Wales. He enjoys sharing his passion for environmental improvement and grazing management.

Holistic Management Approaches to Regenerative Agriculture
Walter Jehne Walter Jehne, Regenerate Earth

Walter Jehne is an internationally recognized soil microbiologist and innovation strategist. He has immense field and research experience in soils, grasslands, agriculture and forests at local, national (CSIRO and Science Adviser to Australia’s National Soil Advocate), international (UN) level. Walter has a remarkable ability to explain complex science and economic paths forward in easy to understand ways. This comes in part because he has also worked extensively beyond science at Federal Government level, leading transformation in industry and policy.

It is this rounded out diversity of experience that has given Walter a unique and exceptional capacity to devise solutions – turning challenges into opportunities. His specialisation is the role of soil microbes’ symbiotic processes in the ecology of diseases, plant health, nutrient and waste cycling, soil pedogenesis and the regeneration of bio-systems. Decades of research have made him expert in plant root ecology, mycorrhizal fungi, glomalin, and soil carbon formation. He also has world on biology's enormous influences in hydrological cycles, weather patterns, regional and global cooling, and cloud formation and rain precipitation.

Walter’s initial extensive research work was on the roles of these microbial ecologies in forests, agriculture and the rehydration and regeneration of degraded lands. Recent work this past decade and a half since retirement, with Healthy Soils Australia and now Regenerate Earth, has focused on commercializing leading bio-innovations. These will urgently help restore agro-ecosystems and urban agriculture and ecologies so as to help meet our water, food, habitat, carbon draw down, rehydration imperative. He is determined in advancing the practical verification, application and extension of these innovations, including for cities and their safe secure supply chains to sustain the current 8 and projected 10 billion people by mid-century.

Grazing Ecologies in Regenerating Australia’s Natural Capital and Safe Future
Charles Massy Dr Charles Massy OAM, Monaro Woolgrower & Author

Charles Massy gained a Bachelor of Science (Zoology; Human Ecology) at 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 services 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 and wool industry. The widely acclaimed Breaking the Sheep's Back (UQP 2011) was short-listed for the Prime Minister's Australian Literary Awards in Australian History in 2012. Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture, A New Earth is Charles's fourth book; it has attained best-seller status, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Queensland Literary Awards — Non-Fiction Book Award, the 2018 Waverley Library Award and the 2018 ABIA Book Awards — Small Publishers' Adult Book of the Year.

Australia’s Anthropocene Crisis and Regenerative Solutions
Rowan Reid Rowan Reid, Bambra Agroforestry Farm

Rowan (B.For.Sci. and M.For.Sci.) is a forester amongst farmers. His latest book is "Heartwood - the art and science of growing trees for conservation and profit". Rowan won the Australian Eureka Prize for his farmer course (The Australian Master TreeGrower), which he continues to deliver around Australia and internationally (Africa, Timor Leste, Indonesia etc.). Rowan has lectured a subject in agroforestry at Melbourne University since 1991 and is now the managing director 
of the Australian Agroforestry Foundation. Most importantly, Rowan is also a farmer and tree grower in his own right, with a family farm in the Otway Ranges of southern Victoria and a founder of one of Australia’s most successful Landcare groups, the Otway Agroforestry Network. More than 12,000 visitors have toured his Bambra Agroforestry Farm, which is set up as a 42-hectare outdoor classroom for farmers, scientists, students and tree lovers, and a living laboratory for his own learning.

Fitting Trees into the Family Farming Landscape
13.00-14.00 Lunch — Young Farmer Highlights, Local Foodies
13.30-15.00
Session 3 - Investment in Regenerative Agriculture — New Farm Business and Investment
Harry Youngman, Tiverton Investment Investment in Regenerative Agriculture
Chris Balazs Chris Balazs, Provenir

Chris Balazs is the CEO and Co-Founder of Provenir, one of the leaders pioneering true paddock to plate produce, through on-farm mobile abattoir technology. Chris’s innovative and adaptive approach to an emerging sector of the food industry has seen Provenir achieve great growth over the last year, and has bought a whole new disruptive technology to the red meat industry that will improve animal welfare standards whilst increasing farmers slice of the value chain A scientist by profession Chris has had the opportunity to work on global technology transfer projects and complete his MBA. He recently transitioned from this successful 20yr corporate career to focusing full time on ag-tech innovation. Previously a scientist by profession, now a farmer by choice, his combination of scientific knowledge, farming practicality and business acumen has enabled the dream of on-farm livestock processing to become a reality in Australia.

Developing a Viable Market for Regeneratively Produced Agricultural Products
Helen McCosker, Carbon8 Crowd Funding of Regenerative Agriculture
Louisa Kiely, Carbon Farmers of Australia Carbon Farming and the Challenges Associated Therewith
Gary Nairn, The Mulloon Institute Regenerative Agriculture Initiatives
Jody Butterfield Jody Butterfield, Savory Institute

Jody is a Savory Institute co-founder who has worked over the last 30 years to communicate the story of Holistic Management, initially as a free-lance writer and then as a collaborator with husband Allan Savory on books, articles and papers, including the basic texts still in use today. Over those years she has been a keen observer of the many thousands of farmers and pastoralists struggling to adopt the new ideas underpinning the success of regenerative agriculture, noting what worked, what didn’t and why. She’ll share some of those observations with us as well as recent research that shows the difference a Holistic Management mindset, practice and community can make in transitioning successfully from a conventional to a regenerative operation.

'Free Up the Natural Capital' of our Farming Mindset
15.30-16.00 Afternoon Tea
16.00-17.30
Session 4 - Farmers and Their Own Approaches
Chris Henggeler, Kachana WA Natural Capitalism and an Economy Driven by Sunshine
Hugh Jellie, ATA, New Zealand Overcoming Farm Viability Challenges
Tes Herbert, RMAC Beef Sustainability Framework Chair Beef Sustainability Framework
Tony Hill, Land to Market Australia Ecological Outcome Verification as a Fundamental Part of Regenerative Agriculture
18.30-21.30 Conference Dinner
Peter Lewis, formerly ABC Landline In Conversation with Allan Savory and Jody Butterfield