HERD Fellowship Recipients 2019

Congratulations to our 2019 REGENERATE HERD Fellows!

Tomas Arguello

Espinosa Consulting Services

San Luis, CO

Tomas Arguello is a Geospatial Analyst for Espinosa Consulting Services in La Jara, CO. Mr. Arguello is also the lead Toyotomi heater mechanic at Casey’s Enterprises located in San Pablo, CO. Mr. Arguello is currently finishing a BS in Geosciences and Conservation Biology at Adams State University. This is his last semester and is planning to graduate in December. Recently, Tomas finished an appointment with the U.S. Forest Service as a Wildland Firefighter in the Rio Grande National Forest. Mr. Arguello is from San Luis, CO and he currently resides in San Luis, CO.

Leiloni Begaye

First Nations Development Institute

Albuquerque, NM

​Leiloni Begaye is a Diné woman from Dinétah, the homelands of the Diné people, an Indigenous women who is a farmer and rancher. She is from the Coyote Pass- Jemez clan, born for the Water Flow Together clan, her maternal grandfather is from the Red Running into the Water clan, and her paternal grandfather is from the Red Bottom clan. Leiloni has a background in Natural Resources (Wildlife, Forestry and Rangeland Management), and Agriculture with an emphasis in Rangeland Management, and pursuing her Master of Arts degree in Native American Studies. Leiloni’s family has empowered her to lead her family’s farm and ranch and a true definition of Indigenous Women in Agriculture. Leiloni is one of the original Uplifters that seeks to empower and unite young leaders to address climate change on the Colorado Plateau. She is a apart of the First Nations Development Institute staff, and a co-founder for Tribal Entities Connect. She is actively engaged in community and is apart of the New Mexico Farm to School Alliance, New Mexico Food & Ag Policy Council Governing Board, advisor for Uplift, Albuquerque Public School District School Health Advisory Council (SHAC), 2018 HERD Fellow and a Student Conservation Association Alumni. Leiloni supports Indigenous communities to be stewards of the land, becoming sustainable through reclaiming food resiliency and to take ownership of our health.

Tierra Blacksheep

Red Point Farms

Ganado, AZ

Tierra is a third generation farmer of Red Point Farms in Ganado, Arizona. She is the mother to two amazing children. McKennon who is 11 years old, and Jewels who is 2 years old. Tierra grew up raising and caring for livestock in Ganado, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. She learned to plant and grow food from her grandmother, Gladys. The crops they planted were corn, squash, melons, and pumpkins in her grandmothers corn field. Tierra is an active member on the Ganado Farm Board. She has an 8 acre plot which she restored this past spring.

Helena Brunn

Colorado State University

Penrose, CO

Helena Brunn was raised on a small cattle ranch in south-central Colorado and she was active in 4-H for many years as a child. She currently still takes a large role in the family ranch, working with her mother to manage the cattle herd and the land. Her experiences on the ranch sparked her interest in rangeland and ranch management. This led her to enroll as an undergraduate transfer student at Colorado State University in the Warner College of Natural Resources department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship. Her goal is to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in that field and eventually attain a Master’s degree in Ranch Management.

Lana Buckner

Abbey of Regina Laudis (formerly)

Redwood City, CA

Lana is a cheesemaker, hand-milker, and student of cows. She enjoys hucking haybales and mixing earthen plaster. She participated in a construction internship, building two straw bale houses from foundation to finish. She learned dairying, farming, haying, and shepherding from a contemplative community of Benedictine nuns who live sustainably on 750 acres. Her dream is to steward an integrated beef and dairy herd to supply nourishment and restorative justice to the land and people. Lana completed her Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability at Arizona State University.

Camilio Calabaza

Santo Domingo Grazing Association

Santo Domingo Pueblo, NM

Profile coming soon!

Josefina Lara Chavez

Community Alliance with Family Farmers

Soledad, CA

Josefina Lara Chavez is a young farmer, from the Salinas Valley and is at the genesis of getting her farm off the ground. She recently completed the Programa Educativo para Pequeños Agricultores (PEPA), is a fellow for the National Farmers Union, and is the Farm to Market Specialist, at Community Alliance with Family Farmers. Her background is in international development, policy, education and agriculture. Josefina is passionate about food justice, equity and the environment. She hopes to incorporate those values into her farm by providing local, high quality, culturally appropriate and environmentally responsibly grown food for the underserved in her community.

Kirsten Couevas

Sublime Pastures

Los Lunas, NM

Kirsten C, first-time farmer just recently got the opportunity to take over grandparents property in Tomé, NM. She is learning as she goes on journey to change to regenerative farming. She has a small herd of American Aberdeen cattle, KuneKune pigs and chickens.

Danielle Denipah

Tewa Women United

Espanola, NM

Danielle Denipah, is from Ohkay Owinegh and Santa Clara Pueblo. She has been interested in Wildlife Forestry. In her senior year at Santa Fe Indian School, she did a restoration project with Santa Clara Forestry and Santa Clara community Day school, During the Summer she took Traditional Native American Farmers Association Sustainable Food System Design Course. Danielle is very passionate and determined to learn more about helping mother earth.

Navona Gallegos

Quay Ranch

Santa Fe, NM

Navona Gallegos is a manager of her family farm, Quay Ranch, in Tucumcari, NM. Navona studied ecology at the University of Virginia and then studied permaculture design at Golden Rabbit Ranch in Northern CA before coming home to New Mexico to work as a soil consultant and grow hemp.

Joseph Gazing-Wolf

University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Standing Rock Reservation

Joseph Gazing-Wolf is a PhD student in the Biodiversity Lab of Dr. Sally Koerner in the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Wolf’s research focuses on herbivore-plant-soil interactions and feedbacks under different abiotic gradients (e.g., precipitation, fire regime, nutrients). He hopes to continue working towards both the restoration and conservation of native grassland communities, especially the reintroduction of animal populations that are culturally significant to tribal communities (e.g., Bison, Prairie Dogs) in the Northern Great Plains and beyond. Wolf also hopes to integrate traditional ecological knowledge into quantitative research design and recruit/mentor underrepresented students into STEM fields.

Ariana Gloria-Martinez

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO

Ariana Gloria-Martinez has just started a Master’s program in Rangeland Ecosystem Science at Colorado State University. Her research project is centered around rancher adoption of new monitoring technologies, specifically the LandPKS app. With this project, most importantly, Ariana aspires to work with Chicanx and Latinx ranching communities of the western U.S. to bring their voices, traditional knowledge, and lived experiences to the forefront of range literature, science and management. Previously, Ariana has worked as a Chicago Botanic Garden Conservation and Land Management intern with the BLM in Burns, OR (2014), an ecological restoration technician with a private consulting firm in metro areas of Colorado (2015), a Collaborative Rangeland Monitoring Program Research Specialist for University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in Kingman, AZ (2016-2018) and a rangeland technician/cow-hand for the USDA-ARS Central Plains Experimental Range in Nunn, CO (2018-2019).

Patrick Clay Goetsch

Cherry Valley Farms

Watrous NM

Patrick Clay Goetsch is a graduate student studying a maize/bean/squash intercropping system for his Master’s thesis at NMHU. He was raised on the family farm ~25 miles NE of Las Vegas NM, which he now operates. He is passionate about many things including agriculture, conservation, social change, sustainability, and nature in general. He enjoys the small town life of Las Vegas and hopes to help it grow to its full potential over the next few decades, using his family’s farm as a means to support and educate folks in his community, while still maintaining it’s ecological and economic health.

Emily Heizer Hall

Razzbourne Farms

Lexington, VA

Technically a fourth-generation farmer, Emily Heizer Hall never thought she would actually farm. After receiving her Bachelors in Graphic Design the world was at her fingertips, literally. After starting a family of her own things changed. In 2014, Emily and her husband CJ started Razzbourne Farms, a micro goat dairy and creamery. They started their idea on family land and then moved everything to their own property in 2017. CJ’s knowledge of land improvement from being a HotShot Firefighter and his successful tree business gave the young couple confidence to take over 30 acres of overgrown pine stand and pasture. Emily is a self-taught cheeesmaker and has produced fresh, ripened, and aged goat cheese for five years. She hopes to launch her non-profit, Rockbridge Artisan Producers, in 2020 to promote local products while homeschooling her children. With help from the goats attacking the underbrush, the dream is to rotational graze goats and cattle on silvopasture.

Erica Hellen

Free Union Grass Farm

Free Union, VA

Erica is the co-owner of Free Union Grass Farm, a diversified livestock operation in central Virginia raising beef, chicken, pork, duck, and eggs. She and her partner began the farm in 2010 on just 12 acres and slowly expanded to nearly 300 acres by collaborating with neighbors and conscientious landowners. Erica participates in all aspects of production including season planning, daily animal care, poultry slaughter, direct sales, marketing, and communications.

Darciea Houston

Junk Yard Farms

Grand Prairie, TX

Darciea Houston has a passion for wholistic health & wellness, family empowerment, nutrition, farming, horticulture therapy and permaculture. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Paul Quinn College. Her BA is in health and wellness. Ms. Houston has certifications in conversation coaching, horticulture, food handlers and an international resilience training for permaculture that was obtained in Cuba.

Darciea’s mission is to “Inspire Healthy Habits” as a: health coach, motivational speaker, panelist, farmer, curriculum creator, teacher and manager of a few local farm-to-table markets. Her vision is to wholistically empower individuals, encourage neighborhoods as they transform into communities.”

Ellen Kerchner

Ellen’s Flowers

Colorado Springs, CO

Ellen Kerchner has worked in regenerative agriculture, from sheep ranching in California to market garden vegetable farming in Colorado, over the past five years. She currently owns and operates a small organic cut flower farm in Colorado Springs. She also sources ingredients for farm to table dinners, ensuring meals consist of as close to 100% local food as possible. She brings her degree in conservation biology and experience in sustainable agriculture to educate guests about the importance of farming for conservation and familiarize them with their local farming community.

Aaron Kern

Kern Family Farm

North Fork, CA

Aaron Kern is the 3rd generation homesteader, farmer, rancher at Kern Family Farm outside the small mountain town of North Fork in the Sierra Nevada mountains. In addition to growing food for our local community, Kern Family Farm gives the full immersion educational experience to up and coming agrarians from all over the world, as well as hosts a school garden weekly at the towns elementary school campus.

Matthew Koster

Future Pastured Pork Enterprise

Colorado Springs, CO

Growing up in a major city Matthew Koster never thought that one day a goal of his would be to become the world’s most famous pig farmer. His interest in agriculture came from a passion for nutrition and an appreciation of good food. In the last 6 years he has dabbled with vegetable production, orchards, but has spent the bulk of his time in multi-species ranching selling direct to consumer. Matthew’s skills in animal production, land management, marketing, and sales will serve him well as he starts his new pastured pork venture in 2020 with a mentor/business partner.

Lydia Kyle

Indian Head Ranch

Las Vegas, NM

Lydia Kyle is a wife, mother, and 4th generation rancher. She was raised in the Great Basin of Oregon & graduated with honors from Texas Christian University. Lydia is now a freelance journalist working for publications such as Progressive Cattle, The Stockman Grass Farmer, and RANGE Magazine. Lydia and her husband recently relocated and are now co-managers of the 20,000 acre Indian Head Ranch in New Mexico.

Raven Lukehart

Gopher Glen Orchard & Avila Valley Barn

San Luis Obispo, CA

Raven Lukehart is in her sixth year as co-operator of Gopher Glen Orchard and Avila Valley Barn in San Luis Obispo, California, her husband’s family farms. Prior she worked and volunteered for other land management organizations such as California State Parks, Land Conservancy, and Ag Commissioner Office. She earned her bachelors and masters from California Polytechnic State University, SLO where she is currently a part-time lecturer of Holistic Management and an adviser or Swanton Stocker Enterprise. She is currently a Holistic Management certified educator in training.

Brady Lux

Warren Wilson College Farm

Swannanoa, NC

Brady Lux is the interim assistant farm manager at Warren Wilson college farm in Swannaoa North Carolina . He developed a passion for land management at an early age growing up the son of two foresters in northern Idaho. While pursuing a degree in sustainable agriculture and ecological forestry at Warren Wilson college Brady worked as a student employee on the colleges’ 275acre mixed crop and livestock farm. After working on the farm for two years and achieving a leadership position on the crew, he was hired on as interim assistant manager upon his graduation from college.

Mackenize Martinez

Intertribal Agriculture Council

Zwolle, LA

Mackenize Martinez is a native of Zwolle, LA and current undergraduate animal science student at McNeese State University. She is currently the Intertribal Agriculture Council Partnership Communications Intern with National Farm to School Network. She also works as a research assistant for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas. Mackenize has experience working in the areas of Native American agriculture and food sovereignty.

Alex Michel

Swanton Pacific Ranch

San Luis Obispo, CA

Alex grew up in urban Los Angeles with no agricultural background. She was exposed to agriculture and ranching through a college roommate, who took an enterprise class at Cal Poly’s Swanton Pacific Ranch, which provided hands-on training and learning opportunities. Fascinated, Alex decided that if she was designing landscapes behind computers, she wanted to learn how they worked, in real life. Knowing class credits wouldn’t count towards her major, she immersed herself in the agricultural world, making multidisciplinary connections between architecture and agriculture. Alex ultimately developed a passion for soils and responsible land management, sharing it with those around her.

Santana Nez

Consultant / Rancher

Dilkon, AZ

Santana Nez is from the Navajo Nation where she developed her agriculture development consulting business and also works on her family’s ranch. Most of her consulting is with Arizona tribal farmers and ranchers, traveling across the state to disseminate her education and experience while building partnerships with tribal entities and non-tribal entities. Some of the services include educational presentations on animal husbandry, facilitation of conservation planning sessions, traditional ecological knowledge preservation, tribal youth empowerment, and organizing rangeland data into storage systems.

Reuben Preut

Bernalillo County Grow The Growers

Albuquerque, NM

Reuben Preut is currently in his second year of the Grow The Growers program, a farm business incubation program sponsored by Agracultura network, BernCO and NMSU. Reuben is managing his farm on county land earned through the program and stewarding a native plant seed saving project with the Institute of Applied Ecology. He also works as a site manager and assistant trainer for new program trainees.

Anita Rodriguez

New Mexico State University

Las Cruces, NM

Anita G. Rodriguez is an Interdisciplinary PhD Student in Marketing/Plant & Environmental Sciences, Minor: Communications at NMSU. She aspires to graduate in May 2020. She is a third generation farmer, raised on her parents’ small farm. She has lived and worked in various locations throughout the US, and internationally in Mexico City. Anita loves teaching, collaborating with community, spending time with family/friends, farming, learning about other cultures, and traveling. Anita returned to pursue her dream of creating “Utopia”, a social entrepreneurship business revolving around agriculture- farming/sustainability, consulting, teaching culinary and other arts- including creating value-added food products, painting and jewelry-making.

Mark Russo

Freelance Farmer / Hudson Mohawk Magazine

Troy, NY

Mark Russo is a farmer, organizer, & freelancer transplanted in Troy, NY. A co-founder of The Basswood living co-op, Mark also serves on the board of the Mount Ida Preservation Association, is a co-steward of the Poestenkill Community Forest, produces segments for the Hudson Mohawk Radio Magazine, serves on the Troy City Environmental Conservation Commission & has a hand in a variety of food-related community projects. He works part-time on Laughing Earth Farm, helping to manage pastured hogs, hens, broilers, & turkeys, while building his capacity to start a cooperative regenerative farm in NY’s Capital Region.

Nicole Villegas

New Mexico State University

Las Cruces, NM

Nicole is an Undergraduate studying soil science and environmental management at New Mexico State University. Born and raised in the South West she has recognized the need to implement innovative practices in order to protect the regions most valuable resources. Nicole is interested in soil health through regenerative agricultural and biological farming. She has worked with various natural resource agencies and is currently a research member of the Arid project promoting agricultural resilience in times of drought.