HOLTON – A Kansas farmer says regenerative agriculture has changed his soil, his profits and his future — all for the better. Now he wants to share that experience to help his farming colleagues do the same.
Shane New, 50, farms 1,100 acres just north of Holton. The family farm includes a cow/calf back-grounding and grass-finishing operation, as well as several direct-marketing enterprises and will be the site of a three-day Soil Health Academy school Sept. 17-19.
Soil Health Academy schools feature instruction by Ray Archuleta, Dave Brandt, Gabe Brown, Allen Williams, Ph.D., and other technical consultants, including New. All of the instructors are widely considered to be among the most preeminent pioneers, innovators and advocates in today’s soil health and regenerative agricultural movement.
“Shane walks the talk,” said Ray Archuleta, a co-founder of the Soil Health Academy. “School attendees will see, first-hand, how he has increased profits, improved water infiltration and improved the health of his soil, wildlife and livestock.”
In addition to managing his farming operation, New is a consultant and principal in Understanding Ag, LLC, a consulting company that specializes in helping farmers and ranchers restore, repair, rebuild, and regenerate their farming and ranching ecosystems.
For New, hosting the SHA school represents an opportunity to share his experiences and help other farmers make the transition to a more profitable and fulfilling farming business model. He is especially cognizant of the dire circumstances many family farms currently face. According to New, not since the Great Depression have farms and farmers been under such pressure due to extreme weather, uncertain markets and increasing input costs.
“The current industrial agriculture model isn’t working for family farms,” New said. “What farmers will learn at this school is a better model that uses regenerative agricultural principles to regenerate their soil, reduce their input costs and restore their futures.”
Specifically, New said, he wants attendees to leave the school with two critical tools for regenerative agricultural success: confidence and knowledge.
“We’re hosting the school to show how regenerative ag practices have changed our operation,” he said. “We know from experience that implementing regenerative ag principles will work. On our farm, we are reducing costs, stacking enterprises and loving what we do. I also call it freedom.”
To learn more about this Soil Health Academy School, as well as available scholarships, visit www.soilhealthacademy.org or call (256) 996-3142.