Dr. Lucinda Hardesty Stuenkel, Ph.D.
Lucinda has been owner/manager of Sunny Day Farms and Stuenkel Farms near Palmer, Kansas since her husband and his brother/farm partner were killed in a vehicle accident in 2010. The farm is 1400 acres of rolling hills (a discontinuous portion of the Kansas Flint Hills). The native grassland is managed rotational grazing for cow/calf and grass-fed/grass-finished beef, lamb, goat, and pastured chicken for 8 livestock owners, and custom calving for 7 cow owners. Row crops on the flatter land and deeper topsoil include wheat, corn, milo, soybeans, alfalfa, brome, and prairie hay. Cover crops are planted between and after each row crop to improve the soil health and fertility, encourage beneficial pollinator insects, and provide supplemental grazing for the livestock and flowers for honey bees. Several small fields are dedicated to a series of 3 or 4 consecutive cover crop mixes each year for grazing and flowers for honey bees. By-products from the grazing livestock return additional fertility to the soil. Two nephews and three neighbors plant and harvest the crops and cover crops, and regularly check and move the cattle. Dr. Stuenkel has a B.S. and M.S. from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from Kansas State University. Lucinda has taught at Bluffton University, Iowa State University, and the S.A.V.E. (Servicemember Agricultural Vocation Education) program, and has been an Extension Specialist at Kansas State University. She is a favorite speaker at No-Till on the Plains, Bottomline Conference, and Soil Health University on topics of improving soil health, utilizing weeds for grazing, cover crops for grazing and soil health, low-stress livestock care, and farming more efficiently and regeneratively. Her friends call her a “cow whisperer.” Lucinda is married to her new husband, Dean Denner has 8 adult children/step-children and 6 grandchildren/step-grandchildren.