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April 11, 2024 - Written By Geswein Farm and Land - Kristen A. Schmitt

#WomeninAg Profile: Liz Haney, Soil Scientist

When Liz Haney graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in wildlife and fisheries science, the only job she could find was counting frogs in the Grand Canyon. While appealing to some, it wasn’t what Liz had in mind, so she opted to keep looking and eventually found a job at a soils lab in College Station, Texas, where she helped test golf course greens. That sidestep eventually propelled her into the soil science field and she now has a PhD in Ecosystem and Soil Management. You might recognize her name since she’s a co-founder of the Haney Test (along with her husband, USDA scientist Rick Haney) and she can often be found at the forefront of soil health practices, working with landowners, land managers and farmers on regenerative agriculture and conservation management practices.

 

Currently, she’s co-owner of Soil Regen, a regenerative agriculture and soil health education and consulting business and spearheading Big Soil Health Events across the United States. Fortunately, she was able to take a few minutes out of her busy day to chat with Land Values.

 

Land Values: Tell us about your company, Soil Regen.

 

Liz Haney: We work with a large group of consultants because there are so many leaders in the regenerative ag space. We provide general education about regenerative agriculture and put on events like the Big Soil Health Event in Iowa. Wee also put boots on the ground and consult with farmers directly. We have consultants that range from hemp production to row crop farming to organic to regenerative and work with experts from all over the United States and even in Canada. We also help agriculture companies with messaging, teaching them how to talk with farmers. It’s a different language.

 

LV: What’s your day-to-day like? What do you do in your current role?

 

LH: Right now, we’re assisting with the PrairieFood Forum & Soil Health Workshop in Kansas [note: this happened Nov. 15-16, 2021] and we had a very successful Big Soil Health Event in December [note: this occurred Dec. 6 & 7, 2021]. We’re also always partnering with other companies to teach their farmers about regenerative agriculture. So, my day to day is coordinating the events, dealing with marketing, social media, etc. Soil Regen is just three of us right now: me, Sarah Varble and Russell Hedrick. We all wear many different hats on a day-to-day basis from farmer communications all the way to dealing with the accounting and marketing and everything.

 

LV: Do all of your ventures complement each other, or do they offer different things?

 

LH: Regen Mills is a mobile mill that we’ve built to take to regenerative farmers’ farms to mill heritage and non-GMO grains into flour, cornmeal and grits. The other company, Heritage Ground, helps farmers with their marketing. Farmers are excellent at farming, but not all of them are good at marketing or they don’t have the time to do it well. So, we’re there to help them with that. All three companies were a way for us to be 100 percent dedicated to farmer profitability. It goes all the way from education to the actual on-the-farm and farm-to-consumer connection to the marketing and to doing all of those different things with our farmers so they can be more profitable. It’s a community effort.

 

 

 

LV: You’ve had a very different path, going from point A to B to where you are now. If someone was interested in following a career path into the soil health and soil science fields, do you have any advice for them?

 

LH: My advice is to figure out what you are passionate about and try and make that your daily life whether that’s commodities or soil health or farming or whatever it is. For me, I look at soil health as the key to my children’s future. We have climate change, water quality issues, massive flooding events, weather anomalies, and it’s really fortunate to me that I get to work in an industry that I’m super passionate about. So, you know, try to really jump out and take that first step and make it happen for you.

 

“My advice is to figure out what you are passionate about and try and make that your daily life whether that’s commodities or soil health or farming or whatever it is. For me, I look at soil health as the key to my children’s future.”

Contact Johnny Klemme

Advisor & Broker