American Grassfed Association’s 2017 Conference
Grassfed: The Way Forward
February 8-9, 2017
The Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
Pocantico Hills, NY
Please join AGA for our 2017 conference at the iconic Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY. Since 2004, Stone Barns has been a leader in educating young farmers about sustainable agriculture, increasing public awareness, and demonstrating the connection between sustainably raised food and excellence in its preparation. The conference will include two days of educational workshops, inspiring speakers, and of course, delicious food prepared by the chefs of Blue Hill at Stone Barns under the leadership of Chef Dan Barber.
Wednesday, February 8
8am – Registration
9am — Managing for Success: How Animals Thrive on Grass
Chris Kerston, Savory Institute
10:30am — Soil Health = Farmer Wealth: Case Studies from the Fields
Peter Byck, filmmaker and professor, Arizona State University
Noon — Lunch with Keynote Speaker Judith Schwartz, author of Cows Save the Planet
1pm — Stone Barns Tour
3pm — AGA’s New Dairy Standard
Don Davis, rancher and AGA certification committee chair; Dr Meg Cattell, bovine specialist; Dr. Arden Nelson, bovine specialist.
5pm — Dinner at Blue Hill (optional)
Thursday, February 9
8:30am — Registration
9am — We are What We Eat: Healthy Land, Healthy Animals, Healthy People
Dr. Meg Cattell and Dr. Arden Nelson
10:30am — What’s In a Label: Deciphering Label Claims
Alan Lewis, Natural Grocers; Urvashi Rangan, consultant and food advocate, formerly of Consumers Union
Noon — Lunch with Keynote Speaker Mary Berry, Keeping Rural America Alive: The Berry Family Story
1pm — Food Policy: Supporting Good Food and Good Farming
Lisa Stoke, Food Democracy Now!; Sara Eckhouse, former USDA official; Ferd Hoefner, food policy advocate and founder of National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; Elanor Starmer, Administrator, USDA AMS
2:15pm — Eating Animals: Old Cows, Heritage Pork, and Getting the Best Cut
Bob Perry, chef and professor, University of Kentucky; Bryan Mayer, Director of Butchery Education, Fleishers Craft Butchery; Kari Underly, butcher, author, and educator
In 2010, Judith Schwartz heard a statement that sent her writing career on a whole new trajectory. Which was: Over time, more CO2 has gone into the atmosphere from the soil compared to the burning of fossil fuels. This launched her on a quest that led to her book “Cows Save the Planet and Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth”. The book looks at soil as a hub for our many environmental, economic and social challenges—and for solutions.
“Cows Save the Planet” gave Schwartz the chance to travel and speak to audiences about soil’s connection to climate change, biodiversity loss, floods, droughts and wildfires, and human health. One topic from the book—the role of the water cycle—kept tugging at her, and so she ventured to write “Water In Plain Sight”.
Schwartz lives in southern Vermont with her husband, writer and photographer Tony Eprile, and their son Brendan, a singer/songwriter and a student at Oberlin College. She has a B.A. from Brown University, an M.S.J. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern.
Mary Berry is the founder and executive director of The Berry Center, a foundation established to put her father Wendell Berry’s writings to work by advocating for farmers, land conserving communities, and healthy regional economies. The Berry Center’s vision is grounded in the lives of three men: John M. Berry, Sr., a lawyer and farmer, devoted his life to rural Kentucky and its farmers. His sons, John M. Berry, Jr. and Wendell Berry, followed in his footsteps: John as a farmer and lawyer, and Wendell as a farmer and writer. Following these three farmers’ examples, The Berry Center focuses on issues confronting small farming families in Kentucky and around the country. By collecting and archiving the papers of the Berry family, The Berry Center will give people the opportunity to study and to learn from the past in order to shape the future. We will bring into focus issues of land use, farm policy, local food infrastructure, urban education about farming, and farmer education that is lacking in Kentucky and the country as a whole.
Peter Byck is the director, producer and writer of the film carbon nation and is faculty at Arizona State University, in both the School of Sustainability and the Cronkite School of Journalism. Byck is now focusing on soil health – in both his new films, Soil Carbon Cowboys and One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts, and in helping to form a large, whole systems science project comparing regenerative grazing to conventional — measuring a whole suite of data, from water retention to soil carbon to animal well-being and much more. Byck has appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher and NPR’s Science Friday. He has presented carbon nation at the House of Commons, U.S. Embassies in London, Berlin and Vienna; Boeing, Nike, Google, Microsoft, Shell, Walmart.com and at many universities and community screenings worldwide.
Drs. Meg Cattell and Arden Nelson are board certified dairy veterinarians and proponents of grass feeding and keeping cows healthy through nutrition and management. Their farm, Windsor Dairy, was certified organic in 2002 and switched to grass feeding in 2007. During its direct marketing phase, the farm produced raw milk, cheese, eggs, pork, lamb, and beef for up to 1,200 CSA members and the public. As consulting veterinarians and educators they have worked with many sizes and types of dairies throughout the United States and lectured around the world. As a researcher, Dr. Cattell has tested many treatments including natural remedies on farms as a contract research organization and for her own education. She has studied plant source, pre- and probiotics, micro-algae, and other natural compounds for health maintenance and disease treatment. Their family produces and consumes traditional foods and relies on natural remedies for their health needs. Dr. Cattell and Dr. Nelson played key roles in developing AGA’s new dairy standard.
Bryan Mayer brings more than a decade of butchering and teaching experience to his position as the Director of Butchery Education at Fleishers Craft Butchery in New York. At Fleishers, he is responsible for educating professional butchers, restaurant chefs, and recreational home cooks. He also works to expand the company’s chef education initiatives, professional development programs, and career opportunities.
He writes an ongoing column, “Ask Your Butcher,”about butchery techniques and recipes for Food Republic. In addition, Bryan has consulted, taught, and lectured at Swarthmore College, Culinary Institute of America, Drexel University, Smuckers Meats, Philly Cow Share, Swarthmore Food Coop, Wyebrook Farm, Double Brook Farm, and Brick Farm Market.
Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., recently completed a 17-year career at Consumers Union, which culminated in her appointment as the Executive Director, Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center, in 2011. Throughout her tenure, Dr. Rangan continued to decode the meaning of eco-labels for consumers and advocates for credible labeling in the marketplace including influencing government policy decisions at the state and federal level. She currently consults for a global client base on food, labeling and advocacy issues.
Alan Lewis directs government affairs and food and agriculture policy for Natural Grocers, a 62-year-old health food store chain with over 130 stores in 20 states. A Colorado native, Alan also assists small local producers gain traction within the regional food system. Alan is active in several trade and advocacy organizations, and sits on the board of the Organic and Natural Health Association, a strong supporter of the AGA Grassfed seal. Long a student of political activism, his focus is on communicating with policy makers and stakeholders at the federal, state, and local level using frameworks that are non-confrontational and inclusive.
Lisa Stoke is co-founder of Food Democracy Now!, an Iowa-based grassroots community of more than 650,000 members that advocates for federal, state and regional policies to benefit sustainable food and agriculture. Lisa’s early motivation – to provide healthy organic food for her four children in Iowa – broadened to national advocacy to build food systems based on organic and regenerative practices that ensure fair treatment for independent family farmers.
In 2010, Lisa was honored to be named a “Woman Making a Difference” by Shape Magazine. Lisa has shared her experience in organizing at events across the U.S., as well as throughout Europe in France, England and Wales. She also serves on the board of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. Raised in northern Iowa, she now resides near Boulder, Colorado.
For the last year, Sara Eckhouse served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, focusing on local and regional food systems and related issues. From 2012 to 2016, Sara was Chief of Staff at USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which facilitates the competitive and efficient marketing of agricultural products in domestic and international markets. In that role, Sara advised the Administrator on the full range of agency activities, with an emphasis on policies and strategies that support USDA and AMS priorities related to organic agriculture, local and regional food systems, and access to healthy food. From 2010 to 2012, Sara worked as a Legislative Assistant and Assistant to the Senate Liaison at the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. Prior to that, she was a Special Assistant at USDA for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Sara’s interest in agriculture and food systems grew after her parents founded La Quercia, which works with sustainable producers to make prosciutto and other cured pork products in Norwalk, Iowa. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College.
Ferd Hoefner is a founding staff member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and has been a leader in the sustainable agriculture community for more than 30 years. He led NSAC’s federal policy work from 1988 through 2016 and now serves in a mentoring and advisory role to the coalition. Prior to his work with NSAC, for nearly a decade he represented Interfaith Action for Economic Justice and its predecessor, the Interreligious Taskforce on U.S. Food Policy, on federal farm, food, and development policy. He has consulted with many NGOs and has served on numerous USDA advisory committees.
Chris Kerston managed ranches and farms for nearly 15 years before joining the Savory Institute. With a longstanding passion for regenerative agricultural and better food distribution systems, Chris has dedicated his life to helping connect ranchers with consumers in ways that create synergistic value for both sides. With formal training and instinctive talent, Chris utilizes media in concert with traditional marketing techniques to help ranchers share their stories and build long lasting relationships with partners based upon common goals.
Tier One includes all conference workshops, two gourmet lunches featuring products from AGA certified producers, and a four-course dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns with wine parings and open bar. $395
Tier Two includes all conference workshops and two gourmet lunches featuring products from AGA certified producers. $220
Dinner Only for spouses and guests $195
The Sheraton Tarrytown Hotel is a short drive from Stone Barns. Use this convenient link to book your room at the special conference rate of $129.00 per night. Please note — rooms must be booked by January 24 to receive the AGA conference room rate.
The hotel and conference center are about 25 miles from New York City, and nearby Westchester County Airport (HPN) is served by American, United, Delta, and JetBlue. It’s about a 20-minute drive from HPN to Tarrytown.
From NYC (Newark or LaGuardia) — Take public transportation from either airport to Grand Central, then take the Metro North train to Tarrytown, about a 30-minute ride.