Dr. Ross McKenzie

Understanding and Interpreting Soil Test Reports

Dr. Ross McKenzie, now retired, led the agronomy research program with Alberta Agriculture for 38 years. He specializes in soil fertility and agronomic research with dryland and irrigated crop production. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Lethbridge and has past instructed the fourth year Agricultural Soil Management and Irrigation Science courses. Ross’s education includes a B.Sc. in Agriculture with a double major in Soil Science & Plant science, and an M.Sc. in Soil Physics: Soil-Plant-Water relationships from the University of Alberta. He further, completed his Ph.D. in Soil Fertility/Soil Chemistry and Plant Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Jeff Schoenau

Precision Manure Management on the Canadian Prairies: Towards More Effective Use of a Resource

Dr. Jeff Schoenau is a professor of soil fertility and professional agrologist who works in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Saskatchewan. He holds the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Soil Nutrient Management Chair in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, and is a fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada. He was born in Saskatchewan, completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in the 1980’s in the College of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan and has worked there since. He also farms with his spouse Lynne near Central Butte, Saskatchewan. His research, teaching and extension activities deal with soil fertility and fertilizers, nutrient cycling, and soil management practices in prairie cropping systems.

Ken Greer

Precision agriculture- are we there yet?

Ken Greer, MSc, PAg, President & CEO, Western Ag Group of Companies

Ken provides strategic input and visionary support to the Western Ag Global team and the entire Western Ag Group of Companies.

Ken Greer grew up on a mixed farm near Ceylon, Saskatchewan. Along with his father, he operated this farm for many years, and still holds land in the area. Ken obtained his Bachelor of Science from the University of Saskatchewan in 1985. After two years as a research officer in crop science, he returned to school and obtained a Masters in Soil Science in 1989. Ken started a consulting business in 1990, then incorporated Western Ag Innovations Inc. in 1994 with the main goal to promote the use of the Plant Root Simulator (PRS®) technology. 

Ken takes an active involvement in teaching and educating at all levels. Agronomy, Soil Fertility and Ag Business Entrepreneurship classes regularly invite Ken to lecture.  High School and Grade school commitments to teach resource management, Junior Achievement Entrepreneurism and food traceability and accountability are important investments into our future that drive Ken.

Ken was recently recognized as a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 Awards.

Anne Verhallen

Cover Crops – An Ontario Perspective

Anne is a Soil Science graduate from the University of Guelph. She has worked for OMAFRA since 1988, starting as a Soil Conservation Advisor working in Essex and Kent. Currently Anne works in the area of horticultural soil management with projects in a wide variety of soil management areas such as erosion, compaction and water management. Promoting the use of cover crops and supporting better soil health are her passion.

Tom Goddard

Does Soil Erosion Have a Future in Alberta?

Pre-pandemic Tom was a Senior Policy Advisor with the agriculture and forestry ministry in Alberta. His background in extension, soil science and fieldwork across a range of agriculture, industry and government environments has enabled him to translate across disciplines and provide pragmatic solutions to current and strategic issues. Technically his research has focused on landscapes and scales beyond test tubes and small plots using technology, models and expert knowledge. At one point Tom was the provincial soil conservation specialist for Alberta. Now he is engaged internationally on soils, conservation, farm groups and policy development.

J.C. (Jack) Payne PAg CCA

Soil Salinity – Causes to Cures?

Jack is currently a Regional Grow Team Advisor with Federated Cooperatives Ltd. He is responsible for technical support, applied research trials, development and delivery of training for retail Grow Team Advisors. Prior to joining Federated Co-op Jack was an Operations Coordinator with Farmers Edge where he worked with farmers and agronomists on precision or variable rate agriculture practices.

Jack was an instructor with Olds College for 15 years teaching courses in weed management, soil fertility, environmental farm management, pesticide application. Previous to this he spent 12 years with Alberta Agriculture working as a District Agriculturist and Regional Soils Specialist in southern Alberta where he focused on soil salinity management. Jack grew up on a grain farm in west central Saskatchewan and received his formal education at the University of Saskatchewan.

Marla Riekman

Combatting Compaction

Marla Riekman is the Soil Management Specialist with Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Agroecology and a Master’s Degree in Soil Science, both from the University of Manitoba.  Before joining Manitoba Agriculture in 2007, Marla worked as the Farm Manager for the Manitoba Zero Tillage Research Association and also as a Soil Conservationist with the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration.  Marla’s main focus is to provide extension on dealing with problem soils and maintaining long-term productivity by managing soil health.  Marla’s passion for soil has even crept into her personal life – she is known to create jewelry with soil in her spare time!


Dr. Richard Engel

Soil Acidification: Lessons learned from croplands of semiarid Montana

Dr. Rick Engel is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at Montana State University. Rick retired as a full-time faculty member in September 2020. He received his Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Minnesota in 1983. During his career, Rick’s research interests focused on soil nutrient management and cycling in agricultural ecosystems. His research included investigations of soil acidification and aluminum toxicity of Montana soils; fertilizer management strategies for enhancing N recovery by crops using 15N enriched labeled fertilizers; urea-fertilizer induced emissions of ammonia and mitigation with Agrotain; degradation of Agrotain as affected by soil pH; soil carbon sequestration and chloride fertilization. In 2020, Rick was honored by his peers in academia and industry with the Great Plains Soil Fertility Leadership Award for timely and innovative contributions toward soil nutrient management, improved knowledge, and profitability.


• Ph.D. 1983. Univ. of Minnesota, Soil Science (Dissertation: Use of cooling tower water from electrical power plants for irrigation in Minnesota).
• M.S. 1978. North Dakota State Univ., Soil Science (Thesis: Plant analysis for appraising the nutrient status of small grains).
• B.S. 1975 Univ. of Maine, Plant and Soil Science

Scott Gillespie M.Sc. PAg CCA

Realistic Regenerative Nutrient Management

Scott is a regenerative agriculture consultant with Plants Dig Soil Consulting Ltd. where he helps individuals and companies transition from conventional to regenerative agriculture through consulting, podcasting, and a monthly newsletter. Scott has his B.Sc (Agr.) with a focus in Agronomy from the University of Guelph and his M.Sc. with a focus in Plant Science from the University of Manitoba. Along with Certified Crop Advisor status he is also registered with the Alberta Institute of Agrologists as a Professional Agrologist.

Dr. Tom Jensen

A Farmer’s Guide to Fertilizing Considering the Present State of the Fertilizer Industry

Dr. Tom Jensen’s background includes research, extension, and farm-level consulting experience in crops and soils. He comes from a mixed irrigated farm in southern Alberta, and received his scientific and agronomic training at the University of Lethbridge and the University of Alberta. His has experience in soil survey, nutrient management, conservation tillage research and extension, and soil conservation and soil remediation. He worked as a Regional Director for the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) before retiring in 2019. He now does some instruction of soil science and agronomy at the University of Lethbridge and Olds College, and private soils and agronomy consulting. 

Dr. Carlos Romero

Enhancement of manure composting by biochar: An emerging benefit to the use of engineered carbon in animal feeding

Dr. Carlos Romero is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Lethbridge and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. He holds a Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences from Montana State University. His research interests include conservation agriculture, carbon cycling, organic matter chemistry, and soil fertility. Currently, Dr. Romero is part of an interdisciplinary group of scientists investigating alternative uses of biochar in agroecosystems of southern Alberta.

Dr. Frank Larney

Feedlot manure composting: where are we at?

Dr. Frank Larney is a Research Scientist in Soil Conservation with Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada in Lethbridge, Alberta. He grew up on a mixed farm in Ireland, and holds a B.Sc. in Agriculture, and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Soil Science from University College Dublin. His research expertise includes soil health, soil erosion, soil reclamation, beef feedlot manure management, organic amendments, and dryland and irrigated cropping systems. His publication record extends to 180+ peer-reviewed journal papers, and 16 book chapters. Frank has served as President of the Canadian Society of Soil Science (2013), and Editor of the Canadian Journal of Soil Science (2006–08), and is a former Adjunct Professor of the University of Lethbridge, the University of Alberta, and the University of Manitoba. He was honoured with Fellow Awards from the Canadian Society of Soil Science (2010) and the Soil Science Society of America (2012), for his research accomplishments in soil science.

Brad Calder PAg CCA

Phosphorus Filter – Mitigation Options for Nutrient Contributions from Agricultural Run-off

Brad is an agricultural extension specialist with the County of Warner Agricultural Service Board where he helps producers with agri-business sustainability, agri-environmental concerns, and invasive species. The phosphorus filter project is one project of a larger initiative, The Milk River Ridge Reservoir Water Quality Stewardship Initiative which is a multi-faceted program to mitigate agricultural run-off and its nutrient contributions to the watershed through boundary fencing, planting of native species, and water quality sampling of the reservoir.

Please stay tuned for additional biographies.