Growing soil: Regenerative research at McGinley Ranch

In September 2022, four university students from around the country, along with Frank Sesno and Dr. Imani Cheers, traveled to McGinley Ranch in the Sandhills of northern Nebraska to study and report on the unique features of this expansive project. 

The nearly 80,000 acre property is the inaugural project of the Ted Turner Institute of Ecoagriculture and is a leading site of regenerative agriculture and sustainable bison ranching. Armed with notepads and cameras, the four Planet Forward students spent three days exploring and learning from McGinley's experts, ranchers, and scientists. They participated in a low-stress approach to herding bison, inspected local stream health, studied the digestive processes of grass-fed bison, and more.

Scroll down and you will find an amazing breadth of storytelling from four talented writers and videographers, each capturing the incredible vastness of this space and the inspiring advancements in regenerative agriculture.

Editor's Note: This expedition was made possible thanks to the generous support from the Turner Foundation, Laura Seydel, and Berl Brechner. All editorial content is created independently. Thank you to these amazing sponsors for making this project possible.

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Hub Content

Planet Forward Correspondent | George Washington University
In this video, bison ranchers at McGinley Ranch in the Sandhills of northern Nebraska discuss building soil health as the key to healing the land and generating a profit. 
SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry
Can eating meat save the planet? In this short documentary, ranchers and scientists at McGinley Ranch discuss regenerative ranching practices and ecological economics. 

Tyrell McClain holds up a clump of soil on McGinley Ranch while discussing the high biodiversity under the surface of the ground on September 17, 2022. (Dr. Imani Cheers/Planet Forward)

Planet Forward Correspondent | George Washington University
An interview with Vice President of Ranch Operations at Turner Enterprises, Mark Kossler, about the benefits, challenges, and future of sustainable agriculture.
A bison walks in a prairie under a blue sky.

Several bison wander the prairie lands of McGinley Ranch on September 18, 2022. (Frank Sesno/Planet Forward)

University of Missouri
Declining rangeland and rising temperatures have livestock ranchers searching for solutions. To South Dakota State University research assistant Anlly Fresno Rueda, a bison’s gut is as good of a place to start looking as any.

(From left to right) Eva Kotobuki Sideris, Frank Sesno, Hannah Krantz, Adam Goldberg, Vidya Muthupillai, and Dr. Imani Cheers.

Founding Director, Planet Forward
A select group of students from several universities recently traveled to McGinley Ranch in Nebraska to study and report on regenerative agriculture, land management practices, and sustainable bison ranching.