Our Team

The Pasture Project is a team of teams.  We are an initiative of the Wallace Center at Winrock International and operate as part of that team. We have a core team of Wallace Center staff and consultants that coordinate the Pasture Project, and we create or participate in dozens of teams of partners around individual approaches.

The Pasture Project and the Wallace Center

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The Wallace Center at Winrock International is a national leader in sustainable and equitable food systems development. The Center’s work supports entrepreneurs and communities as they build a new, 21st century food system that is healthier for people, the environment, and the economy. The Center both builds and strengthens the links in the emerging chain of business and civic efforts focused on making good food—that is, healthy, green, fair, and affordable food—an everyday reality in every community.  The Wallace Center is a unit within the Agriculture and Enterprise Group of Winrock International. The Wallace Center works primarily in the United States and works nationally and regionally, often times in partnership with local organizations.

Members of the Core Team

The Pasture Project Core Team coordinates approaches and engages with our many partners.  The team brings a mix of deep experience and diversity of knowledge and perspective.

Warrren King

Warren is the President of Wellspring Management and co-manages the Pasture Project. He brings 30 years of consulting and industry experience, including serving as Assistant Vice-President of Cargill, Inc. and General Manager of Goodness Greenness. Warren and his wife, Kate, are the founders of WellSpring, a company that promotes the stewardship of natural resources, particularly our land and water. Warren’s passion for the land is rooted in his northern California upbringing and his work on the farm as a young man. He possesses an MBA in Marketing from DePaul University and is a graduate of UC-Davis with degrees in economics and international relations. Warren also serves on the boards of Kidz Express, The Food Commons, Ujamaa Community Land Trust and is a former chairman of Family Farmed. Today his work centers on developing the capacity and resiliency of regional and urban food systems to deliver products and services that will protect and enhance the health of people and the planet.  He is an avid bicyclist and never says no to a great craft beer.

Dr. Allen Williams

Allen Williams is the Pasture Project’s grazing guru and a core team member.  A sixth generation family farmer, he owns a grassfed beef farm in Mississippi and is a leading expert in forage and grazing management, grass-fed genetics and re-production, marketing, and the grassfed market. Allen pioneered many of the early grassfed protocols and forage finishing techniques and has spent the last 15 years refining those.  He has consulted with more than 3,500 farmers and ranchers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and South America on operations ranging from a few acres to over 1 million acres.  He is a “recovering academic” having served 15 years on the faculty at Louisiana Tech University and Mississippi State University.  He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Animal Science from Clemson University and a Ph.D. in Genetics & Reproductive Physiology from LSU.  He has authored more than 400 scientific and popular press articles and is an invited speaker at regional, national, and international conferences and symposia.  With Teddy Gentry, Allen wrote the book, Before You Have A Cow and has written for GRAZE, Organic Broadcaster, Stockman GrassFarmer, and many other publications.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Grass Fed Exchange and the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network, and is a co-investigator for Team SoilCarbon.  When he is not traveling to ranches or speaking engagements across the hemisphere, Allen serves as an officer in the Starkville Civitan Club and is active in his local church.

Rod Ofte

Rod Ofte leads the Pasture Project’s work in the Kickapoo Watershed and is a member of the core team.  He is a fourth generation farmer who operates a rotational grazing beef operation near Coon Valley, WI.  He grew up on a diverse, small dairy operation.  Unfortunately with the decline of agriculture in rural economies in the 80’s, continuing on the farm was not promising.  Ofte left home and went to the United States Military Academy at West Point.  From there he entered into military service including deployments to Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.  After the military he received an MBA from Boston University.  Ofte has over 25 years of experience in the food industry, including time working in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.   In 2007, he went back to his farming roots and purchased a ranch near his homestead in Coon Valley, WI.  He is currently President of Norse Group Consulting.   He markets his finished cattle directly to consumers and via the Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative.  Rod is a fisherman, hunter and dad to two girls.

Liz Ruiz

Liz Ruiz is a Program Associate for the Wallace Center’s Pasture Project. Before joining the Pasture Project in 2015, Liz worked for a nonprofit advocating for media and telecommunications policies benefiting people of color and low-income consumers. She has lobbied for Net Neutrality, worked in coalitions to bridge the digital divide, and campaigned against hate speech. She received her J.D. from UNC School of Law in 2012 and graduated with honors from the University of South Carolina in 2006. During law school, she was selected as a Google Policy Fellow and interned for Commissioner Clyburn at the Federal Communications Commission. Before law school, Liz worked as a newspaper staff writer where she had a personal finance column in the business section and wrote about happenings around town.

Growing up in Alaska fostered her strong appreciation for preserving our landscapes and natural resources. She has long been interested in facilitating access to healthy foods. Liz currently serves on the Arlington Food Assistance Center’s Young Professional Board and volunteers at Men Who Cook, a fundraiser for a senior center’s nutrition program. On weekends, you can find her selling kohlrabi (and other produce) and eating ground cherries by the handful at the DuPont Farmer’s Market in Washington, DC.

Our Partners

Cedar Tree Foundation
Green Lands, Blue Waters
Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, Illinois
Kickapoo Grazing Initiative
The Land Stewardship Project
McKnight Foundation
Midwest Fishers and Farmers
Mississippi Valley Conservancy
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Northeast Iowa RC&D
Practical Farmers of Iowa
Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota

The 11th Hour Fund
The Leopold Center, Iowa State University
Trout Unlimited
Turkey River Watershed Authority
United States Department of Agriculture –

Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA-AMS)
Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS)

Valley Stewardship Network
Walton Family Foundation
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources