Kirsten Holland RobertsonPelzer, SC

Kirsten Robertson

Greenville Soil and Water Conservation District

Pelzer, S.C.

Kirsten Robertson and her husband John live in Pelzer, S.C., where they raised their two sons, Dillard and Hans. Robertson is currently the engineer and manager of the Greenville Soil and Water Conservation District. She and her husband have also been farming for almost 30 years.

Pecan Dale Farmstead is a 10-acre farm where the Robertsons farm sheep for meat, goats for milk and chickens for eggs. In addition, their farmstead includes a pecan orchard and 300 native fruit and nut trees.

Some of their soil health practices include on-contour swales and berms, adaptive grazing with minimum one-day moves, cover crops, perennials to increase soil fungi, and pollinator plots located under their pecan trees. Robertson learned about soil health through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and decided to give it a try as she had become frustrated with the way they were farming. Six years later, the Robertsons are still on their soil health journey.

Since incorporating soil health practices into their operation, Robertson says the biggest change she has experienced is that farming has now become a joy. She had become so frustrated with the endless mud, deworming activities, filthy animals and barnyard smells that she was about ready to sell the farm. Both she and her husband were working full time and the chores had become a real burden.

After hearing about soil health, Robertson spent long nights researching and creating a community to help her learn and encourage her. Learning and trying new things has given Robertson a new lease on life. “Moving the animals is the best part of the day for me now,” Robertson said. The mud is completely gone, they no longer have to deworm, and the wildlife on the farm has expanded unbelievably because of their new soil health management system. Through this journey, Robertson has made hundreds of new friends and has found the journey to healthy soil to be, what she considers, the most fulfilling challenge she’s ever accepted.

The biggest hurdle Robertson faced was the fact that no one in her area was rotating small ruminants. There wasn’t much information on the internet at the time, either, so she had to blaze her own trail. Robertson started a small Facebook group for two other friends that had small ruminants in 2015. The group, now known as reGenerative Grazing Group in 2019, has over 11,000 members from all over the world, grazing all kinds of animals and learning together how to regenerate their soil health.

Robertson’s zeal for helping and providing grazing support to others has taken her all the way to her current position as president of the South Carolina Forage and Grazing Lands Coalition, whose mission is to spread knowledge about soil health.

Updated March 2020.

Latest News

Calendar of Events

Find your Local District

Accessibility Toolbar