Stories on pasture

Hear from grassland leaders and explore what grasslands can do for us.

A key goal of Grassland 2.0 is to inspire agricultural stakeholders and create pathways for sustainable agriculture that works for all of us. As a part of this work, the Grassland 2.0 is sharing the stories of grassland leaders near and far. From farmers in southwestern Wisconsin to researchers in South Africa, everyone has a story to tell. Here are some of their stories.

Bert Paris

Bert Paris’s family operates Paris Family Farm, a grass-based dairy near Belleville, Wisconsin. After farming conventionally as a beginning farmer in the late ‘80s, Bert made contact with the growing network of dairy graziers in the state and fully transitioned his farm to a grazing-based operation. Three decades later, Bert says this was the best decision he could have made not just in terms of profitability, but in terms of his quality of life.

Learn more about Bert, his operation, and how it works for him and his family in this video produced by the Grassland 2.0 team.

David LeZaks

David LeZaks is a senior fellow at the Croatan Institute, an independent nonprofit research institute whose mission is to harness the power of investment for social good and ecological resilience by working at the nexus of sustainability, finance, and economic development. In this “parkside chat” with Randy Jackson, LeZaks discusses “soil wealth”, transitioning capital to support sustainability, and why investors are paying attention to regenerative agriculture.

This video is one in a series of fireside chats the Grassland 2.0 team is doing with grassland leaders.

Edgar Navarro

Edgar Navarro is a farmworker who moved to the US from Mexico at 13 to join his mother and stepfather on their small conventional dairy farm outside Dodgeville, Wisconsin. Edgar has worked at Green Dairy & Uplands Cheese since 2015.

Hear Edgar’s story, the challenges he faced working on conventional dairy farms, and why he has found the work at a grazing operation much more manageable in this episode of the GrassCast podcast. This episode is also available in Spanish.

Serge Koenig

Serge Koenig has served for more than 25 years as a Conservation Technician for Sauk County in Wisconsin. He is passionate about his work–helping land owners think about how to best preserve the natural resources (especially water and soil!) that they steward. In recent years, Serge has turned to promoting grassland-based systems as a way to get to the root of the conservation problems that Sauk County faces. And, in our conversation, he shares his approach, as well as the obstacles and opportunities that he’s seen when helping farmers transition to grazing.

Greg Galbraith

Greg Galbraith is a former grazier and dairyman turned columnist and contributor for the farming publication Agri-View. He studied Dairy Science at the University of Illinois and, after graduating in 1981, went on to work as the Assistant Manager on two farms. Eventually, Greg bought his own farm in eastern Marathon County Wisconsin, where his ancestors began farming in 1890. Together with his family, they ran the 120-cow grazing-based dairy operation for more than two decades.

Listen to this episode of GrassCast, the Grassland 2.0 podcast, to hear Greg describe the many hardships he and his family have faced, and how the transition to grazing transformed his operation and the ways he interacted with the land.

Paul Schaller & Marie Raboin

Paul Schaller is a dairy grazier in Dane County, Wisconsin. Marie Raboin is a Conservation Specialist for Dane County. In this conversation with Randy Jackson, Paul and Marie discuss what got Paul interested in grazing, how the two of them worked together to find the best fit for his farm, and how they made the shift “from the known to the unknown” by learning to manage the farm in a different way.

Jon Lee

Jon Lee is proud to be the fifth generation stewarding the 150 acres outside Coon Valley that his ancestors started farming more than a century ago. Today, he raises beef at Lee Farms, which he sells through the Wisconsin Grassfed Beef Cooperative. Jon is also an educator with more than two decade experience teaching locally and abroad AND a talented artist. In our conversation, Jon shares about his experience balancing many different jobs to keep the farm afloat.

Listen to this episode of GrassCast, the Grassland 2.0 podcast, to learn more about Jon, his farm, or his photography & ceramics businesses.

Lois and Sandi Schwert

Lois and Sandi Schwert are the mother-daughter duo behind The Sand Farm—a new mixed vegetable and grassfed beef farm in the Driftless region of Wisconsin. They come from a long line of dairy farmers and have spent decades involved in their family’s conventional dairy operation, Schwert Farms. They are also the innovators transitioning some family land away from dairy and into new enterprises.

Listen to this episode of GrassCast, the Grassland 2.0 podcast, to hear Lois and Sandi share the sometimes subversive way they’ve gone about making changes to Schwert Farms, as well as the excitement and frustration that comes with new beginnings.

Jacob Marty

Jacob Marty is a young farmer based in Monticello, Wisconsin. He’s spent the last 5 years converting his family’s 150+ year-old dairy operation into Green Fire Farm, where he now raises pastured beef cattle, poultry, and pigs, and is planting fruit & nut trees.

In this episode of GrassCast, the Grassland 2.0 podcast, Jacob shares about why he decided to return to the home farm, what it’s been like working with his father, and the challenges of re-entering a community.

Jeff Endres

Jeff Endres co-owns and operates Endres Berryridge Farms near Waunakee, Wisconsin. In this “fireside chat” with Randy Jackson, Endres reflects on how agriculture has changed during his family’s tenure on the farm, the role for conservation in farming, and the obstacles he sees to expanding grassland agriculture in Wisconsin.

This video is one in a series of fireside chats the Grassland 2.0 team is doing with grassland leaders.

We are continuing working on expanding our stories of grassland leaders so be sure to check back as we continue to add content. Also, if you’d like to share your story, we would love to hear from you!