Healing the landscape with Nicole Masters

Nicole Masters is an independent agroecologist, systems thinker, author and educator. She has a formal background in ecology, soil science and organizational learning studies from Otago and Auckland Universities, in her home country of New Zealand. 

She has been a leader in agricultural consulting and extension services in Regenerative Agriculture since 2003, and she’s the Director of Integrity Soils. Together with her team of soil coaches, Masters works alongside producers in the U.S., Canada and across Australasia.

Supporting large and small-scale producers to take their operations to the next level in nutrient density, profitability and environmental outcomes. She is one of a growing number of people who are facilitating the rapidly expanding world of quality food production and biological economies.

Nicole spoke with WLA’s Women in Ranching program director Amber Smith at Art of the Cowgirl in Bozeman, Montana in June 2021.


Topics Discussed

2:40 – Nicole talks about her relationship with the land

4:26 – How we can change the way we view ourselves and the land

5:10 – Letting go of self-judgment and the importance of the Women in Ranching program

5:43 – Working in a male-dominated space as a female

6:05 – Acknowledging trauma

6:34 – Nicole explores her views on hope

6:41 – Mentions her book, For the Love of Soil

6:44 – Stephen Jenkinson, “To have hope means we’re mortgaging the future.”

7:30 – “We have to shift our relationship with the land.”

7:49 – Amber and Nicole discuss stewardship

8:49 – How shifting perspective shifts what is possible

9:26 – Nicole describes the language of the machine as the language of colonization

10:58 – The culture of agriculture

Links from this episode

Nicole’s Book: For the Love of Soil

2014 Ted Talk

Integrity Soils

WLA’s Women in Ranching Program

Art of the Cowgirl

Big thanks to Art of the Cowgirl for hosting a wonderful event.

Thank you to Molly Manthei, whose art is featured in the opening of the video. Check her out on Instagram!

On Land is a production of Western Landowners Alliance, a non-profit that advances policies and practices that sustain working lands, connected landscapes and native species. Learn more about WLA’s Women in Ranching program here.

Hosted by Amber Smith

Produced by Zach Altman

Theme music by Jason Shaw

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Amber Smith has been living and working in rural America since 2004, beginning at The Home Ranch in Colorado, where she worked as a wrangler. She and her husband are currently raising their two children and working to steward a 53,000-acre ranch in Cohagen, Montana. She is the director of the Women in Ranching program of the Western Landowners Alliance.