Climate Positive Leaders Program

Man Inspecting Corn

Farmers are leading the way in sustainable agriculture

Farmers around the globe are leading the way in scaling sustainable practices that can help to improve the land and environment. We’re here to highlight early adopters, and to help share those practices with others around the globe. Together, we can make climate positive agriculture productive, profitable, environmentally beneficial, and equitable.

Finding the Leaders in Climate Positive Agriculture

Corteva’s 2021 Climate Positive Leaders Program is a nomination-based recognition program designed to identify the farmers and ranchers who are early adopters in climate positive practices. Nominees were considered based upon their implementation and scale of sustainable techniques. The program will give the winners a large megaphone to broadly share their experiences advancing climate positive practices.

Meet our Winners

Here are the Leaders in Climate Positive Agriculture

Brad Clark

Brad Clark, United States

Nominated by Adam Kramer, Black Sand Granary and Growers United

“Several years ago we began formulating a transition plan to implement primary practices, secondary practices, and eventually enhancement practices. We took the approach of adjust, sustain, and enhance, understanding it was going to take some time to see the benefits. Our farm has come a long way in a few years and we have a long way to go but we are in a much better place today than we once were. Change is hard but can be good and if it benefits the environment, you can’t hardly go wrong.”

Bill Couser, United States

Bill Couser, United States

Nominated by Cora Fox, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association

“As the fourth generation of my family's farm, I've come to realize how blessed I am to continue to the legacy of caring for our land and livestock. Agriculture is my livelihood, which is why I feel we must share the good things we do each and every day as farmers and ranchers to improve soil health and water quality. Maintaining a 'seat at the table' as policy decisions are being developed is equally important; I'm proud to keep agriculture 'off the menu' so we can pursue the best solutions for all.”

Harold Grall, United States

Harold Grall, United States

Nominated by Russell French, Pioneer

“Agriculture is one of the largest producers of carbon credits, and I think we will play a large role in that. Populations are going to continue to grow…demand for food is just going to continue to grow, and the dependence on farming and good farming practices and all the technology that goes into it will be so important.”

Kristjan Hebert, Canada

Kristjan Hebert, Canada

Nominated by Jay Nauta, Corteva

“Our legacy statement that hangs on the wall in my office is that ‘We want to leave the land, the financial statements and the industry in a better state generation after generation.’”

Felix Kili, Kenya

Felix Kili, Kenya

Nominated by Kiruaye Humphrey, Pioneer

“We believe for any farmer to continue producing good quality and high yielding crops, one has to embrace climate smart farming, technology and environmentally friendly practices. Over the years, we have seen the impact of climate change firsthand through improved yields with the extra moisture we conserved.”

Charles Peeters, Brazil

Charles Peeters, Brazil

Nominated by Pedro Freitas, EMBRAPA

“Every year we face challenges to maintain the evolution of our farming and livestock activities, but we always search for ways to mature as farmers and find the best way to achieve a sustainable and climate positive agriculture.”

Abilio Pacheco, Brazil

Abilio Pacheco, Brazil

Nominated by Marcílio José Thomazini, EMBRAPA

“The Climate Positive Leaders Program provides a rich environment for the exchange of experience and contributes to a greater dissemination of climate-positive practices for rural producers engaged in this work.”

Jake Ryan, Australia

Jake Ryan, Australia

Nominated by Danielle Park, AUSVEG

“Farmers learn best from other farmers, especially when they can see the results in person. Through this program, I will help demonstrate to other farmers that regenerative practices not only will improve their land but increase productivity and lead to potential financial gains.”

Ryan Speer, United States

Ryan Speer, United States

Nominated by Gary Hill, Corteva

“I took the stance I didn’t ever want to see soil blowing or washing away again, or as little as possible, so we have made these changes because it is good for us and the environment.”

Here are the Runners Up and our Judges

The Runners Up

Berny Dirven, Canada

Nominated by Marc Maisonneuve, Corteva

“Berny has always had a big-picture approach to farming. He knew where he was going with the farm and always had an idea of crop rotations and minimizing the impact on the land and managing water.”

Chris and Ray Gaesser, United States
Nominated by Ken Moore and Marshall McDaniel, Iowa State University, and Joe Hopper, Iowa Soybean Association

“The Gaessers are instrumental in championing climate positive practices in Iowa, nationally, and globally.”

Michael Gooden, Australia
Nominated by Peter Dorsett, Nutrien

“Michael has implemented climate positive practices in his integrated crop and livestock operation and has shared his learnings with other farmers in his community and region”

Trey Hill, United States
Nominated by Tim Rosen, ShoreRivers

"Trey has been a leader in our area for implementing climate positive practices. He has and continues to share his learnings with others and will be a great participant for this program.”

Ian Kruger, Kenya
Nominated by Wilson Seroney, Corteva

“Ian is a leader for our region in helping to bring advanced technology, equipment, and technical knowledge to help many small-scale farmers in their operations.”

Shane and Sharni Radford, Australia
Nominated by Danielle Park, AUSVEG

“…involved in training the next generation of people… They are very proactive in being involved in programs each one to share what they have learned with others.”

Laura Vicentini, Brazil
Nominated by Juliana Farinelli, Agroverde Consultoria

“…dedicated to helping women farmers through her discussion groups.”


The Judges

  • Dr Ramble Ankumah, PhD, Prof of Soil Science & Assoc Dean of College of Ag at Tuskegee University
  • Julie Borlaug, President of the Borlaug Foundation, Council of Advisors for WFP
  • Maria ‘Pilu’ Giraudo, Honorable President of AAPRESID
  • Dr Nick Goeser, Current Founder & Principal of Craigson Innovation Group, Former CEO of American Society of Agronomy
  • Dr Mary Gumz, Agronomy Manager, Eastern Cornbelt at Corteva
  • Cees Jan Hollander, Global Farming Expertise Manager at Danone
  • Dr Brent Myers, Research Laureate & Environment and Ag Systems Data Science Leader at Corteva

The Complete Benefits Package

9 Winners

  • Lifetime membership in the Global Farmer Network
  • Engagement with other early adopters and Global Farmer Network leaders
  • Leadership and communications training to support farmers as they share their experiences, including:
    • Participation in an upcoming Global Farmer Network Roundtable & Leadership Training program
    • Support in development of a personal virtual farm tour to communicate their climate positive journey
  • Soil sampling, carbon sequestration measurement, and guidance from Dr. Rattan Lal and team at the CMSAC
  • Interaction with business, research, agronomy, and agriculture leaders plus the opportunity to share success across Corteva's global platform

7 Runners Up

  • Soil sampling, carbon sequestration measurement, and guidance from Dr. Rattan Lal and team at the CMSAC
  • Interaction with business, research, agronomy, and agriculture leaders plus the opportunity to share success across Corteva's global platform

There’s Even More to Come

  • Winners and runners-up announcement, and initiation to program partnership benefits, September 1 – October 31, 2021
  • Journey of Winners, end of 2021 and early 2022


“The Climate Positive Leaders Program will help me to communicate to other farmers that climate positive practices are for the betterment of agriculture and the environment.”

Jake Ryan, winner