Russ Conser – Birds, beef, soil, science and regeneration

A check-in interview with Russ Conser of Standard Soil about Blue Nest Beef, Standard Soil, where the industry is going, the science of regeneration, seeing the soil and plants breathe, measuring carbon and water flows and why Russ is still very optimistic about the potential of regeneration. So much has happened in the last three years since our first conversation with Russ.



Russ tells us that the type of wholesale products they’re developing is largely simple products. There’s no need for excellent packaging and fabrication, or labelling. It is much easier. Many more options become available as they develop these opportunities with wholesale.

“The same thinking then translates into going into wholesale, which is: rather than shipping a small number of boxes around the country, how do we ship a regular schedule of large containers of meat that carry the same attributes, that have the same production practices associated with them” – Russ Conser

”But I’m much more interested in creating a wholesale supply chain for somebody else’s branded product than my own branded product. […] I’d rather than have McDonald’s introduce a regenerative Big Mac, I’d rather make sure that the Big Mac has more and more regenerative beef content in it over time. And so that kind of thinking is the way we think about developing the wholesale business.” – Russ Conser


Russ is involved in a number of leading science projects that are out there measuring things. Russ together with Peter Byck completed a project in the southeast United States comparing regenerative and non-regenerative ranches. They saw systematic improvements in the regenerative ranches versus the conventional ones.

”We have to get out of this mode of telling nice, romantic stories with anecdotal success cases if we’re going to have an impact at scale and penetrate wholesale businesses and transform an industry. We’ve got to bring rigour and systems and processes and robustness […] I think, coupled with modern technology for tracing, etc., that credibility can translate value further back to the farmers and producers in the system.” – Russ Conser

‘’And so now we have, I don’t know, half a dozen or more papers, there’s one more paper that I’m still waiting on to get through the peer review process that has to do with birds, which is, of course, a key interest of my own […] but for all the things we go out and measure, water infiltration, carbon sequestration, even some of this advanced technology that I’m involved with […] The thing that’s the most obviously different that you just like night and day is bird population and diversity. It’s just really remarkable. The birds are a wonderful index.” – Russ Conser

”A flux tower is based on a scientific field called Eddy covariance. And basically, think of it like an electricity meter that would be on your house, counting things moving in and out in real-time, but instead of counting electrons, it’s counting carbon and water.” – Russ Conser


According to Russ, evolution tries to get better and better at capturing solar energy and cycling it in life every day. That’s why he thinks regeneration is inevitable.

”We, arrogant Homo Sapiens, thought we were clever enough to conquer nature, control it. And nature bites back. And so, what I think regenerative farmers are learning every day is when they learn how to see and understand and adapt to nature. […] Regeneration is not a recipe, it’s not a three-step program that you go out and implement and you’re done. It’s a way of thinking and interacting with landscapes and ecosystems that can change how we grow food and fibre.” – Russ Conser

”So, I do think it’s inevitable. And I think we’ll either get good at working with nature or nature put us on unemployment or replace us with other species that help serve its functional goals of capturing more and more solar energy. Because that’s those forces are so overwhelmingly powerful compared to anything we humans touch that I really think it’s our choice.” – Russ Conser


Koen and Russ also talked about:

  • The roller coaster in the supply chain.
  • The importance of water cycles
  • We need to get good at working with nature.
  • Nutrient density and where we are at




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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

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