Herd Fellowship

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Meet the 2023 Herd Fellows

Marcos Aragon

Marcos Aragon is a cattle rancher and small scale farmer from Las Vegas, NM. He has ranched his whole life and has recently began farming vegetables.

Nevi Beatty

Nevi Beatty graduated from Colorado State University where they received a bachelor in Restoration Ecology, a minor in Botany, and worked in dryland ecology and agricultural biology labs. Nevi was the field crew lead for the CSU Evangalista Lab in the summer of 2023. This provided the opportunity to engage with 7 different research projects and work in a mix of range, forest, alpine, and riparian ecosystems ecosystems throughout Colorado and Wyoming. Nevi is interested in climate-adaptation, revegetation, compost tea, resilient agriculture, conservation, public outreach, Indigenous technology, and environmental/social justice. In their free time Nevi enjoys hiking, herbalism, and animals.

Yolanda Benally

Yoland Benally is a Navajo Chapter member of RMFU. She is a Navajo Farmer and mother of 3. Raised on a farm and had a passion to empower her community. 


Jera Berens

Jera Berens is a student at New Mexico Highlands University. Her degree path is in forestry with a focus in forestry management. She is a former firefighter, farmer, and range technician with particular interest in the ways cattle interact with our watersheds. Originally from Pueblo, Colorado, she has been living in Taos, New Mexico for approximately four years with her husband and their two dogs. They’ve made Taos their home and continue to learn about the ways to best serve the community.


Asia Cornelius

Asia completed her BS in Biology, specializing in Plant Biology and minoring in Natural Resource Management, at Sul Ross State University in 2022. She is currently pursuing her MS in Range and Wildlife Management with specific focus on researching mycorrhizal abundance and diversity before and after rangeland restoration. She has always been captivated by the intricate relationships between plants and their surrounding ecosystems, particularly within the Chihuahuan Desert. Beyond her academic pursuits, she has a deep passion for the outdoors. Exploring nature through hiking has deepened her appreciation for the environment. In her free time, you can often find her tending to the garden, where she cultivates a variety of plant species. Gardening not only serves as a way for her to beautify her surroundings, but also as a mindful activity that promotes mental clarity and tranquility.

Ismael De Lara

Ismael De Lara is a sophomore at Purdue University studying Natural Resources and Environmental Science with a concentration in Environmental Quality and Restoration and a certificate in Public Policy. Ismael has experience in many different fields pertaining to agriculture being a John Deere Scholar, Agriculture Policy Summit Fellow through NASDA/MANRRS, and finished an internship this summer doing conservation work with Southwest Conservation Corps. They are very dedicated to public service and protecting natural resources through their interests in policy and environmental sciences.

Lane Franklin

Lane Franklin is a ranching apprentice at the Old Fort Lewis Ranch in Hesperus, Colorado. He has been an apprentice for 6 months. Lane helps work with the cattle, fencing, mechanical maintenance and some fire mitigation. He is an avid lover of spending his time outdoors. He has dabbled in farming, wildland fire, conservation and hunting throughout his life. Most importantly, he is constantly learning and eager to pass that knowledge on to the next generations.


Genna Fudin

Genna comes to the HERD Fellowship as a young career professional in regenerative agriculture currently serving in an AmeriCorps role working with the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District in California on Carbon Farm Plans, soil health monitoring and water resources projects. Her professional experience includes supporting carbon monitoring projects on working rangelands across various landscapes such as in California and Texas. With a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences and a focus on Regenerative Food Systems, she hopes to continue building skills in a sustainable food movement and is grateful to be invited to participate in the REGENERATE Conference in her capacity as a HERD Fellow.


Melanie Gonzales

Melanie Gonzales was an intern with Quivira in Spring 2022 and Summer 2023. She graduated Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) with an associate in applied science in Natural Resources Management degree Summer 2023 and is currently attending UNM as a biology major.

Becca Gourlay

This is Becca’s second season as the Farm Manager at Highwater Farm, a diversified vegetable operation with a job training program for teens on Colorado’s western Slope. She started farming in her hometown of Buffalo, NY and has worked on farms across the northeast. She moved to West Africa in 2017 as an Agroforestry volunteer with Peace Corps Guinea, where she worked with local farmers to strengthen local food security and household nutrition. When she isn’t farming, you can find Becca hiking, reading or getting creative in the kitchen with some fresh veggies.

Jessie Hook

Jessie Hook works with Quivira Coalition as a Sustainability Analyst Intern with the Carbon Ranch Initiative team. She will be graduating with her MBA in Sustainability in May of 2024, and is hoping to work in sectors revolving around food, waste management and circularity. When not studying and working, she loves farming with her neighbors in Taos NM, painting and spending time outside.


Etinosa Igunbor

Etinosa Igunbor is a second year master student in the environmental management program at Western Colorado University. He is currently working on implementation of technologies to boost conservation efforts. His master’s thesis focused on the use of remote sensing data in predicting and monitoring carbon sequestration. His research interest span from climate change mitigation practices, regenerative agriculture, environmental sustainability, forest protection, remote sensing, carbon pricing and environmental protection. Etinosa has show exceptional ability in his academic work and awards achievement. He has been the recipients of a large number of awards such as the MANRRS Gold scholarship recipient, NMEMC Judith F. Taggart Mentor and Inclusions Award recipient , Coalitions of Mountain Transition Scholarship recipient, Graduate professional travel award, Diversity and inclusion awards, CCL scholarship recipient and other. He is open to more opportunity that would challenge him to think creatively and apply his research skills, academic background and diverse work experience to develop strategic solution that would solve real time global issues.


Tahirah Jones

Tahirah Jones currently attends The Ohio State University, where she is pursuing a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Veterinary Public Health. She is academically interested in epidemiology, public health, access to healthcare, and fostering inclusive spaces for marginalized communities especially the youth within agriculture and related sciences. Her career aspiration is to eradicate or control zoonotic diseases in underserved communities using the One Health approach. Tahirah is currently serving as National MANRRS Region VI Graduate Student Vice President; this region focuses on the western part of the country.

Dolores Miller

Dolores Miller is part of the Miller Ranch which’s been in her family since 1886. She has worked on the ranch her entire life but plans to take on the operations in about 1 year. They currently raise sheep/lambs for meat at the ranch. She would like to see cattle added back onto the ranch as they used to be. Dolores is committed to land stewardship and adding regenerative agriculture practices.

April Parms Jones

April Parms Jones is originally from Akron, Ohio and advocates for her community as part of the food justice, water access and the food sovereignty movement. She is passionate about community gardens, farmer markets and creating a just food system. Having expertise in the role of farmers markets and in human elements of shifting the food system.She is a writer, public speaker, consultant, blogger, recipe developer, book reviewer, event planner and more. She contributes content to her blog Frolicking Americana, and to national and international magazines, Mother Earth, Country Lore, The Natural Farmer, Grit, Growing for Market, Ark Republic, Ecoparent Magazine, Growers and Co., Farmers Market Coalition writer, The Agrarian Trust, Cornucopia Institute and Farmer’s Market Coalition, and is an Emerging Leader in food and agriculture nominee.


Althea Raiford

Althea Raiford is a 6th generation farmer on Gilliard Farm, which is a centennial family farm. She is disabled military veteran and Althea believes that food security is a crucial part of the community. Farming has been a part of her life from birth, the farm that her brother Matthew and she has been in their family since 1874. Her work on Gilliard Farms is focused on helping her community improve their understanding of food security and how access to food is essential to improving health and well-being of the community as a WHOLE.


Tracy Raymond

Tracy Raymond is the Chairperson of the Navajo Nation San Juan River Farm Board. He represents the community of Nenahnezad Chapter and has been on the board for 6 years. He retired from the Bureau Indian Affairs in 2013, where his primary responsibility was working land use permits. He also owns and operates BeeSezi, Navajo Corn Products.

Guy Ritani

Guy (Ia/they/them) is a proud Takatāpui Māori Food systems specialist, systems designer, & Permaculture teacher based on Kombumerri Country. Their work is centred around building relationships, networks & systems to achieve climate justice, bio-regional food security & culturally appropriate & sovereign food systems. Guy has been engaged in innovating regenerative practices both ecologically & socially across the Asia-pacific region. They are currently delivering the VicHealth Future Healthy Foodhubs program as the food systems specialist and educate in food sovereignty & systems design across Australasia for the past 5 years. Having grown up spending much time on the family farm & local fisheries Guy is deeply passionate about food system wellbeing & seeing the equitable change needed for a well nourished Victoria.

Kristin Swoszowski-Tran

Kristin Swoszowski-Tran’s growing expertise is in produce and value-added goods. Her 35 acre farm, Ledoux Grange, is in Mora County, New Mexico, elevation 7,400 feet, and supplies the Los de Mora Grower’s Cooperative with produce and value-added/gluten-free baked goods year round. Kristin received NM Healthy Soil Grant awards for two years running, employing innovative work with biochar, no-till cover crops, intensive rotational and bale grazing, and hedgerow plantings on what was once a degraded pasture and horse racetrack. A member of the Southwest Grain Collaborative, she grows organic/landrace cover crop cultivars/varieties for dryland/ high elevation success, and hopes to be certified organic next year. Kristin also raises Tibetan yak and Scottish Highland Ponies, which are a critically endangered, multi-purpose working farm horse breed.


Sushine Tso

Sunshine Tso serves as the Youth Programs Administrative Specialist for the Intertribal Agriculture Council. She is a member of the Navajo Nation, born in Gillette, Wyoming and raised in Huerfano, New Mexico. Prior to joining IAC, she worked primarily in agricultural economic research and education. Her previous experience includes working to provide educational and professional development opportunities for Native American college students. In 2022, Sunshine received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Agricultural Business and Agricultural Economics from New Mexico State University. Currently, she is pursuing her Master of Arts degree in Agricultural Extension and Education. Sunshine is driven by a strong sense of cultural heritage and a desire to make a lasting impact on Native American communities.


Kathleen Voight

Kathleen Voight is a current Master of Environmental Science candidate at the Yale School of the Environment. Her research focuses on agricultural viability, resiliency, and drought adaptation in livestock grazing systems in southern Colorado. Kathleen believes grazing lands are essential to the western landscapes that support rural communities and healthy ecosystems. Kathleen previously worked in agriculture, raising pastured livestock and diversified vegetables, and in conservation and environmental education. In her free time, Kathleen likes to bike, hike, and ski.

Leslie Wood

After years of climbing the corporate ladder, Leslie began farming in 2020 when she moved to El Valle De Embudo where her wife’s family has farmed for over 50 years. She maintains the farm to function as a community resource by providing goods on barter. Leslie farms 6 acres, where she runs sheep, pigs, chickens and bees. She is also parciante de Acequia de Sancochada. Leslie was a 2022 Water Fellow with the National Young Farmers Coalition. She graduated from UNM with a BA in marketing. Leslie’s personal interests lie in environmental justice and farming as a form of protest against systematic oppression and cultural erasure.

About the Herd Fellowship

We recognize the critical need to support the next generation of regenerative agricultural producers and land stewards.

Quivira Coalition, Holistic Management International, and the American Grassfed Association support young people committed to life at the nexus of tradition and innovation, food and land, economy and community. We believe good agriculture is rooted in holistic thinking and a lifelong commitment to learning and teaching. The Herd Fellowship provides scholarships for beginning farmers, ranchers, land stewards, and students in related fields to attend the REGENERATE Conference.

This fellowship program is both inspired by and an extension of the Herd Fellows program started at the Grassfed Exchange. The Herd a group of foundations and family offices whose shared mission is to accelerate the transition to a regenerative agriculture system initiated this program with the goal of continuing education and connection for beginning ranchers and farmers from diverse communities. Applications are due August 18th by 5pm. 

If you would like to recommend someone for the fellowship, use this form.

Applications for the 2023 conference have closed.
You can still apply for a New Agrarian Discount or sign up to volunteer

Why Should I Apply?

The Herd Fellows Experience

The Herd Fellowship provides scholarships to attend the annual REGENERATE Conference, with the goal to connect scholarship recipients with peers and mentors, as well as support their pursuit of lives in agriculture and land stewardship.

Attending the conference provides the opportunity to learn from leaders in the field, build relationships with peers and mentors, find support for your work, and bring fresh perspectives on the future of agriculture. Further, in an effort to build our movement and create important synergy between the Herd Fellowship programs at both the Grassfed Exchange and REGENERATE, a network of all new and previous Herd Fellow cohorts has been established to bring alumni together to network, build community, and form lasting relationships.


Hear from past Herd Fellows about their experience:

“The most valuable experience I had as a Herd Fellow was getting to meet other fellows and other attendees of the conference. I can honestly say that these were some of the most talented and genuine people I have ever met. Moreover, my personal and professional trajectory in life have been permanently improved by the connections I made at the conference. I will get to participate in things that were once only dreams of mine.”

“I found the sense of community and the recognition of the scope of the regenerative ag movement to be one of the most valuable elements of the conference. As a rural environmental farmer, being constantly bombarded with the worldly woes, it is refreshing and necessary to be re inspired from time to time.”

“The most valuable part was getting outside my ‘bubble’ and realizing that this is bigger than just myself and what I do. I realized that there is a place to connect with the rest of the world of conservation and regenerative agriculture. The future of regeneration is endless and I am excited to jump in and see what will happen.”

“I greatly enjoyed meeting my generation of individuals doing phenomenal things in the agriculture community. I don’t see very many young agriculturists while attending other ag conferences. It was great to interact and listen to their stories and endeavors.”

“This program shows investment in the future… Being able to bring in more women, queer people, people of color, native people, poor people into these spaces is so crucial for the literal survival of all of us.”

How to Apply

The Herd Fellowship will be awarding REGENERATE Conference full scholarships (covers conference registration fee, travel, and lodging expenses) and tuition-only scholarships (covers conference registration fee) to ranchers, farmers, conservationists, and others in related fields who are beginning their careers. These scholarships will be prioritized to support individuals who come from historically underrepresented or economically low-resource communities and other marginalized identities in agriculture. We specifically encourage the application of Tribal, Latinx, Chicanx, Hispanic, Black/African American, Asian, Pacific Islander, and/or LGBTQ+ beginning ranchers, farmers, land stewards, and college students. However, qualified applicants from any background with a strong application will also be considered.

Our scholarship process has been developed with diversity and inclusion in mind, with a diverse team of reviewers, and acceptance of applications by phone or via the online application below. The award process will prioritize applicants from communities and backgrounds historically underrepresented, but will not exclude qualified candidates from any background with a strong application. Applicants will be evaluated on a number of attributes, including: is ranching, farming, or land stewardship their primary occupation? Have they been pursuing their ranching, farming, or land stewardship career for less than 10 years? Do they come from a community historically underrepresented? How far have they come in their journey to reach this point?

Our goal is to award seventy percent of the scholarships to individuals who come from historically underrepresented communities and who are beginning ranchers or farmers. The remaining thirty percent of the scholarships will be awarded based on need and acommitment to a career in agriculture or conservation.


Who can apply?

The fellowship targets young and beginning ranchers, farmers, land steward, or students in related fields. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Please apply if you are a:

  • Beginning agrarian or land steward who is within their first 10 years of their career and is 35 years of age or younger
  • Student pursuing a degree in agriculture, land stewardship, or a related field
  • This year we are going to offer Virtual Herd fellowships and in-person Herd fellowships. Virtual will take place entirely online, and fellows will have access to all virtual conference events. In-person fellowships will take place both online and in-person, and will be given on a more limited basis, and dependent on the distance of travel. We cannot accommodate all global applicants at this time.
  • You may select one or both options in your application
    How can I submit an application?

    We know responding in written form to a series of essay questions is not for everyone, nor does it mean you are any more or less qualified to be a stellar land steward. We are open to accepting your application in a number of ways:

    • Complete the online application (link below) – you can respond to essay questions briefly or in bulleted form. If you don’t have a response for every question, you can skip some and focus on the ones you have the most to say about.
    • Complete an interview over the phone – to schedule an interview, please write to [email protected].
    • Get creative and submit a video of yourself answering the essay questions! See the essay questions at the application link below. 


    What if I don’t receive an award or I’m looking for a reduced conference registration rate?

    If you don’t receive an award through the Herd Fellowship, don’t worry. We will offer you a reduced beginning agrarian, land steward, and student rate to our conference.

    We also offer the reduced beginning agrarian, land steward, and student rate to those who are seeking a non-competitive route. In other words, if you demonstrate you need it, we’ll give you a discount; you won’t be evaluated against anyone else. Complete the Beginning Agrarian, Land Steward, and Student Inquiry Form to receive the discounted rate. After you submit the form, a member from the REGENERATE Planning Team will communicate with you about the discounted rate within 1-3 business days.


    The 2023 REGENERATE Herd Fellowship Application will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will open with general registration.

    We recommend that you complete your application as a Word or Google doc before you begin the online submission process. You can then copy and paste your information into our online form which will not permit you to save and return to complete. You will receive a copy of the completed form after you submit it. Contact us at [email protected] with any questions.

    Applications for the 2023 conference have closed. You can still apply for a New Agrarian Discount or sign up to volunteer