Riani “Ray” Lourens

Ray Lourens is a farmer with practical experience in implementing the principles of soil health on her family’s farm, which is located in East Central Saskatchewan. Leaving their multi-generation farm when they immigrated from South Africa to Canada, Ray and her family had to adjust to farming in a completely different climate and business environment.
Starting over with degraded soils, Ray and her family were looking for ways to improve production and profitability.
To do this, they made use of multi-species cover crops, intercropping, adaptive grazing methods and custom-made foliar programs in their operation. Having attended various courses on holistic management, soil health, plant nutrient uptake and studying high calcium/magnesium soils, Ray finds ways to combine the knowledge she has of soil chemistry with what she knows about soil biology.
With her secondary education in business management and an ever-growing interest in agriculture, Ray plays an active role in the decision making, physical implementation and planning within their business.
In the last few years, my paradigm of what agriculture should look like has completely changed. Growing up on a diverse grain and livestock farm, and now farming myself, I have personally experienced the rat race called conventional agriculture. Having your bins full of grain and knowing you have to sell most of it to cover the fertilizer bill is not the way to go. Coming to this realization was a huge eyeopener and ultimately what led my family and me to regenerative agriculture.
Initially focused on the potential financial benefits, I started researching and attending events/courses related to regenerative agriculture. Since then, I discovered way more than just the financial benefits. From the biology in the soil, to the symbiotic relationships between plants and microbes, to ecosystems above and below ground, to the connection it all had with human health—everything leads back to the soil.
My granddad once told me that if I found myself in a difficult situation, I should look up to the sky and know where my help comes from. By God’s grace, we’ve been able to improve our farmland using regenerative principles and will continue to do so in the future.
My goal is to work with farmers to strategically plan their transition from conventional operations to regenerative systems. The focus is to increase profit per acre by focusing on long-term soil health. This approach combines financial requirements/needs along with regenerative goals as the basis for decision making, and then finding ways to implement the soil health principles—within context—to each individual operation.

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