Well, Regenerative agriculture farmers are excellent innovators, constantly adopting and adapting new ideas and technologies. One of the newest ideas that have emerged in recent years and have the most positive impact on the ecosystem is regenerative agriculture.
What is regenerative agriculture?
Unlike organic farming, which has clear standards for defining a product as organic, regenerative agriculture does not have a single definition or agreed-upon description?
Ask hundreds of farmers what regenerative agriculture is, and you will get many different answers.
A quick internet search will reveal that regenerative agriculture is basically farming that aims to protect and restore the soil.
Often described as a farming approach or philosophy based on soil health.
The goal is to improve structure by increasing organic matter and soil biology.
The idea is that soil with good structure, plenty of organic matter, and healthy organisms can retain water, store carbon, and resist erosion.
We’ve narrowed it down to various key points that underpin the movement towards farming that works with the environment, not against it.
We care about the soil
When in regenerative agriculture, they talk about soil, everything connected with the earth, from no-till methods (where the soil is built up instead of constantly being dug up) to growing ground cover crops that return nutrients to the soil. Restorative farming is about taking care of the soil.
We use low-cost methods
Moreover, instead of relying on synthetic nitrogen fertilizers to boost yields, you can plant plants that naturally add nitrogen to the soil, such as clover or other legumes. Instead of spraying pesticides, they can plant a companion plant that naturally repels unwanted insects. Not only does this prevent harmful chemicals from entering our watercourses and our food; it also means our farms are less dependent on expensive inputs that have to be transported thousands of miles from the farm.
We see the system as a whole
Further, the soil on which the grass grows, the animals that eat it, the water that flows through the farm: regenerative agriculture considers it all part of a single system. Maintaining a balance in the system means paying attention to how our actions in one area are reflected in the entire system and not forgetting that what we consider “waste” can greatly benefit (for example, compost).
Increasingly, farmers are choosing to use regenerative approaches. These benefits are enormous, from increased food production to clean watercourses, sequestering carbon in the soil, and reviving entire ecosystems.
On the contrary, the way of farming that currently dominates is based on high demand methods, using heaps of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and imported feeds to grow monocultures (of the same plant or animal species) over a large area. These practices have a huge impact on water quality, greenhouse gas emissions and animal health.
What gives the transition to regenerative agriculture?
When you switch to regenerative farming, you witness amazing transformations in your land. Sometimes they come very quickly, after taking the first steps towards recovery within one season. Soil health and fertility improves, as evidenced by healthier plants and higher yields. You notice that your soil has become looser and has more moisture in it. Soil tests and visual cues such as earthworms reveal vital microbial communities in the soil – the basis of soil water, nutrient and carbon cycles. Improved biodiversity in the soil is followed by biodiversity in land, air and water. Populations of birds, bees and other beneficial insects are growing.
Restorative farming improves the quality and increases the amount of water available. The absence of chemicals and pesticides in regenerative farms means no chemical pollution affecting ground and surface water; as well as a reduction in harmful algal blooms and contamination of drinking water. Increased water use efficiency through improved soil conditions leads to better soil water holding capacity and groundwater recharge, increased on-farm water savings, and greater resilience to floods and droughts.
With the power of photosynthesis and the help of powerful microbes, our soil is the largest carbon sink on earth and; if appropriately managed, can reverse the effects of climate change. In addition, regenerative agriculture is resilient and adaptable to climate change. As floods, droughts and other extreme weather events become more frequent, we are preparing our lands to withstand the effects of climate change. By better managing land, we can absorb more water during floods, maintain water availability during droughts, and prevent wildfires.
Most followers of regenerative farming are motivated by the environmental, community and personal values; with the economic benefits of regenerative farming being a major motivator and outcome for many others. Besides, due in part to improved soil health, they found that their crops’ overall health and yield improved due to their regenerative farming practices.
Reducing costs by reducing chemicals, including fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics, has positively impacted farm profitability.
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For many, the result of their financial performance has been a reduction in debt and risk and an overall benefit to financial independence and bottom line. We don’t want to give the impression that success is easy; on the contrary, farming is a difficult activity even for regenerative farmers. Many of them have struggled to break even. Yet we think it’s fair to say that the values and practices of regenerative farming have economic benefits.
At the macro level, regenerative agriculture can stimulate the economic development of rural areas. There is a concept of a regenerative economy that goes beyond the farm to include a wider food supply chain. One of the ideas of regenerative farming is to generate wealth, including processing, infrastructure and distribution of food. We have seen examples of manufacturers investing in processing plants. It’s not easy, and there are many things in our agrarian economy that farmers will have to change to get a fair reward for their work, but regenerative farmers seem to be on the right track to their goal.
Stronger relationships with your customers and a community of fellow manufacturers are just a few of the benefits. Increasingly, there are stories about how neighbors helped fix broken infrastructure or equipment; how fellow farmers help during fires or floods; how farmers turn to their more experienced colleagues with questions about specific practices. Informal communities are emerging that support those involved in regenerative agriculture. They invited budding and established growers to share information, learn from each other, and build communities. Sometimes in the form of cooperatives; that help smallholders come together to increase their market power and get the most of the profits from their sales.
Hosting guests on the farm helps farmers establish closer relationships with families, children of their visitors and get new customers. In turn, these visitors will learn about regenerative farming. The children are encouraged to share their observations on how the farm has changed since the last visit helping them feel part of the system. And the children of farmers are showing renewed interest in farming. After their parents shifted to a more regenerative mindset, and some even returned to continue the family business!
Overall, raising a new generation of farmers, expanding existing farming communities. And, encouraging children to return to family businesses all point to a movement investing in a stronger rural workforce and revitalizing the local economy.
Fortunately, more and more farmers are turning to regenerative agriculture. Right now, you have an excellent opportunity to give impetus to regenerative farming! Be with regenerative agriculture consulting!