2016 Quivira Conference

LIGHTS, SOIL, ACTION! Thanks to more than three decades of innovation and on-the-ground beta-testing we have an amazing toolbox of regenerative, profitable and potentially scalable solutions to a wide variety of twenty-first century challenges, including drought and food scarcity. However, most of these solutions have not reached their potential, despite their benefits. Quivira’s 15th conference will tackle the urgent question: How can we transform our world by getting regenerative solutions implemented widely and quickly? What are the obstacles? The opportunities? What are we doing wrong? Right? Speakers will offer their answers from diverse perspectives, including agriculture, conservation, policy, science, and advocacy, emphasizing leaders who are making a difference and real-world projects that are scaling up to effective levels. In the wake of the Paris Agreement on climate, the need for action is real and immediate. Please join us at this important event.

2015 Quivira Conference

Plentiful, ample, bountiful, generous, fertile, rich, replete–these are words that describe both the attitude and the goals of the next wave of agrarians. A social movement is like an ocean wave. It arises at a certain period of time, gathers strength, grows and works toward a defined goal, becoming an effective agent of change for a while. Eventually, a new wave with fresh ideas and energy heads toward shore, building on the earlier wave’s success. Today, the goal is to put the now large and diverse regenerative toolbox to work cultivating abundance for all. In this conference, we will hear from ranchers, farmers, scientists, activists and others who are leading this next wave. We’ll look down the road with them and share their thoughts on how to flourish amidst the emerging conditions and challenges of the twenty-first century.

2014 Quivira Conference

Back to the Future: Celebrating the International Year of Family Farming and Ranching. In this conference we focused on concepts and practices that are “old and yet new”–while having fun doing it! “Back to the future” is part of the burgeoning regenerative agriculture movement, whose aim is to restore soil, land, ourselves and our communities to health and happiness via naturally renewing processes. In some cases, this means reviving or expanding time-tested practices; in others it means adopting new technologies and ideas appropriate for regenerative goals. We are linking arms with the larger global celebration of the International Year of Family Farming and have tasked ourselves with the goal of helping to raise the profile of family farmers (and ranchers) and the significant role they play in alleviating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, and protecting the environment. We have selected speakers for our conference who represent the diversity of the regenerative agriculture movement around the globe.

There were three days of inspiring presentations and conversations, including two workshops on day one; wetlands restoration in working landscapes, featuring Bill Zeedyk, and how to build soil through planned grazing, taught by Gabe Brown and his son Paul.

2013 Quivira Conference

Inspiring Adaptation. From prehistoric times to the present, human societies have successfully adapted to the challenges of a changing West, including periods of severe drought, limitations created by scarce resources and shifting cultural and economic pressures. Now, the American West is entering an era of unprecedented change brought on by new climate realities, which will test our capacity for adaptation as well as challenge the resilience of the region’s native flora and fauna. It is therefore paramount that we find and share inspiring ideas and practical strategies that help all of the region’s inhabitants adapt to a rapidly changing world.

We heard from scientists, ranchers, farmers, conservationists, urban planners and others who have bright ideas and important tools to share from their adaptation toolbox. The amazing line-up of speakers included a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, winners of a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, a Pew Fellow in Conservation and Environment, a winner of the Stewart L. Udall Award for Conservation, a Guggenheim Fellow, two Society for Range Management Award winners, and six Clarence Burch and Radical Center Award winners from the Quivira Coalition! Featured speakers were Gary Snyder and Jack Loeffler.

2012 Quivira Conference

How to Feed Nine Billion People From the Ground Up: Soil, Seeds, Water, Plants, Livestock, Forests, Organics, and People. Global human population is projected to reach nine billion by 2050, which means food production will need to expand by 70% to keep up. Fulfilling this demand will place unprecedented pressure on ecosystems, including the planet’s grasslands, especially as competition grows for scarce natural resources. Working together to meet this daunting challenge while ensuring the health of land, water, wildlife and people will be one of the great tasks of the 21st century. In this conference, we will explore a variety of innovative practices that are already successfully intensifying food production while preserving, maintaining, and restoring the natural world. Speakers will share their hands-on experience and ideas for feeding all life – from the ground up.

2011 Quivira Conference

New Agrarians: How the next generation of leaders tackle 21st century challenges. Across the nation, a new agrarian movement, centered on food and land health, is growing into a dynamic force. Led by youth (including the young-at-heart) and their mentors, this burgeoning movement is tackling some of the most daunting challenges of our time: food security, land restoration, conservation, climate adaptation, and sustainable prosperity. In the process, they are overturning traditional paradigms of conservation and agriculture. In this Conference we heard from a wide variety of new farm, ranch and conservation leaders and their innovative, hands-on ideas and practices that are changing the way we look at the land, our water, and ourselves.

2010 Quivira Conference

The Carbon Ranch: Using Food and Stewardship to Build Soil and Fight Climate Change. Climate change is the most pressing issue confronting humanity. It is also a tremendous opportunity. Right now, the only possibility of large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is through plant photosynthesis and other land-based carbon sequestration activities. Strategies include: enriching soil carbon, farming with perennials, employing climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, and producing local food. Over the past decade, many of these strategies have been demonstrated to be both practical and profitable. A carbon ranch bundles them into an economic whole with the aim of creating climate-friendly landscapes that are both healthy ecologically and the source of healthy food. In this conference we explored this exciting new frontier and learn from `carbon pioneers’ from around the world.

2009 Quivira Conference

Living Leopold: The Land Ethic and a New Agrarianism: “The only progress that counts is on the actual landscape of the back forty.” – Aldo Leopold. In 2009, we celebrated the centennial of the arrival of the great American conservationist Aldo Leopold in the Southwest as a ranger with the fledgling U.S. Forest Service. Over the course of a remarkable and influential career, Leopold eloquently advocated a variety of critical conservation concepts, including wilderness protection, sustainable agriculture, wildlife research, ecological restoration, environmental education, land health, erosion control, biological holism, public welfare, private initiative, and, of course, a land ethic.

In this `practitioners’ Conference, we featured farmers, ranchers, scientists and conservationists who are “living Leopold” today – people who are implementing his vision of a land ethic on the back forty. The event incorporated six themes: (1) Land Health; (2) Conservation; (3) Sustainable Agriculture; (4) Wildlife and Restoration; (5) Beauty; and (6) the Land Ethic. Each theme was motivated by a Leopold quote and each speaker discussed the land ethic in their lives and how a new agrarianism works.

2008 Quivira Conference

Building Resilience: Creating Hope in an Age of Consequences. This Conference featured stories of resilience and hope. Speakers explored the challenges we face in an Age of Consequences, the principles of adaptation, coexistence, and renewal, as well as, instructive examples of endurance.

2007 Quivira Conference

Fresh Eyes on the Land: Innovation and The Next Generation. The focus of this conference is the Next Generation – the ‘fresh’ ideas, practices, and relationships that help young people stay connected to the land.

Excerpt from Welcome by Courtney White:
“On behalf of The Quivira Coalition, welcome to our Sixth Annual Conference. The focus this year is on the Next Generation – the `fresh’ ideas, practices, and relationships that help young people stay connected to the land. I think of this event as a ‘how’, not a ‘why’ Conference. We all know why it is important to keep the Next Generation on the land – the real issue is how exactly to do it.”

2006 Quivira Conference

Bridging the Urban-Rural Divide: Reconnecting People to the Land and Each Other. The Fifth Annual Conference drew 500 people from 18 states. Speakers came from Vermont, Wisconsin, California, Oregon, Utah, as well as the Southwest region and Mexico.
The official goal of the Conference was this:

“To many the widening divide between urban and rural populations in the West threatens the region’s long-term economic and ecological health. Whether it is food, water, policy or politics, the connection between urban and rural, once strong, has become a chasm. Overcoming this great divide will require new thinking, new dialogue, and new understanding of a rapidly changing world. This Conference will explore emerging ideas and innovative strategies that reconnect land and people.”

The Keynote Speaker, Richard Louv, children’s advocate and author of ‘Last Child in The Wood’s‘ gave a rousing call-to-arms about the challenge of reconnecting children to nature. The Range School, taught by Dr. Fred Provenza of Utah State University, drew 180 participants, nearly all of whom were ranchers. And a Special Symposium on the Clean Water Act drew nearly 100 people.

2005 Quivira Conference

Half Public, Half Private, One West: Innovation and Opportunity Across Boundaries. Over five hundred people attended to learn, listen, and shake hands. Divided in thirds between ranchers, conservationists, and state and federal land managers, attendees came from places as distant as California, Washington, Montana, even Canada.Topics ranged from goats to birds, to a history of private property, to getting along with predators, to making a profit in the cattle business, to the Buddha. We were honored to have Allan Nation as our keynote speaker. Nation, a widely sought-after lecturer and teacher, publishes the Stockman Grass Farmer, which focuses on management-intensive grassland enterprises around the world.

The Conference included two all-day symposiums. One was a Range School and the other was an in-depth exploration of the idea of ‘water-banking’ – storing water in streambanks (where it would be naturally) instead of in reservoirs. Conference sessions included: Keeping the Family in Ranching, Working with Predators, Managing Landscapes Collaboratively, Safe Harbor Agreements, Virtual Fencing, Ranching from Scratch, How to Start a Watershed Group, and more.

2004 Quivira Conference

Ranching in Nature‚Äôs Image: Fostering Social and Environmental Health in the West. Our Third Annual Conference, held over Martin Luther King weekend in 2004, drew over 430 people. Attendees came from every western state, representing a diverse cross-section of the ‘radical center.’ Dignitaries included Lt. Governor Diane Denish, and NM State Land Commissioner, Patrick Lyons. Over forty speakers rounded out the busy schedule, which was changed this year to accommodate concurrent sessions on Friday and Saturday afternoons. Evaluations and on-site feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Many told us it was one of the best events they had been to in many years, and they encouraged us to keep up the good work. Many said it gave them hope for the future.

2003 Quivira Conference

Ranching at the Crossroads: Forging a West that Works. Speakers included Gary Nabhan, Dan Kemmis, Duke Phillips, Tweeti Blancett, Rick Knight, and Lt. Governor Diane Denish. Topics ranged from goats to beavers to farmer’s markets to mine reclamation. The Conference received good press coverage and the Proceedings were published in 2004. The Conference was a major success in every way. The chance to network among groups that normally don’t rub elbows alone makes this a unique and important event.

2002 Quivira Conference

The New Ranch At Work. The First Annual Conference drew over 300 ranchers, environmentalists, scientists, public land managers, and others to Albuquerque. These diverse groups came together to explore the possibility of a common future. Hope was the main topic of discussion in the halls and on the conference agenda. This conference was successfully initiated in order to create a ‘neutral ground’ where diverse interests could meet to listen and learn from one another.