Regenerative Agriculture is the Sustainable Future

Regenerative Agriculture means upgraded farming and grazing practices for rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil. As a result, carbon drawdown and the water cycle could be improved. 

Certainly, Regenerative Agriculture is a comprehensive soil management practice that supports the photosynthesis phenomenon in plants to close the carbon cycle and improve soil health, crop strength, and nutrient density. The ground soil stores much more amount of carbon as the atmosphere can be defined as a natural “carbon sink.” In contrast, soil carbon amount has been declining due to some factors such as overgrazing and conversion of native landscapes to croplands.

Importance of Regenerative Agriculture

The loss of the world’s fertile soil and biodiversity, along with the loss of indigenous seeds and knowledge, pose a mortal threat to our future survival. According to soil scientists, the rate of soil destruction nowadays including decarbonization, erosion, desertification, and chemical pollution clearly indicates that within 50 years we might suffer serious damage to public health due to degraded food supply and quality. It’s impossible to protect the world from loss of biodiversity and global warming without protecting and regenerating the soil on our cultivated farmland and forests.

How does Regenerative agriculture work?

Basically, Regenerative agriculture practices include some strategies to improve soil quality:

  • Avoiding frequent plowing of soil and drilling seeds into the soil, 
  • Use of cover crops that are plants grown to cover the soil after harvesting the main crop. It helps to control the carbon level in the soil. 
  • Other practices include diverse crop rotations, such as planting three or more crops in rotation over several years
  • Rotating crops with livestock grazing. Less use of fertilizer or pesticide contributes to regenerative Agriculture.

Principles of Regenerative farming

Following the basic principle of Regenerative farming, farmers can Stewart the soil in a better way:

1. The minimum amount of soil disturbance

Regenerative farming focuses on building or rebuilding the soil without any disturbance. Farming should minimize or eliminate tillage. Farmers should continue to do the least amount of mechanical disturbance possible.

2. Protect the Soil

Cover the soil as much as possible after harvesting the main crop, preferably green growing cover to keep living roots in the soil.  Keep the soil covered with a green cover to eliminate erosion. It is important because you can’t build soil while it is blowing or washing away.

3. Keep rotating the crops

Growing something in the field is very important. Do not let the field empty for a longer period because the solid needs micro-organisms and it’s the plants that feed the soil micro-organisms. Keep crops on rotation according to seasons and demand so that solid does not get dead.

4. Increase Biodiversity 

The next principle is to increase the biodiversity of plants in crops. There are a lot of plants and crops for agriculture. Crop rotation and biodiversity are the basics of sustainable agriculture and when markets and cropping seasons allow, they should be used. “Diversity in root ecology means more diversity in soil ecology, and as a result, more carbon produced

5. Integration of Livestock

The last principle of regenerative farming practice is to move livestock around fields more frequently in smaller paddocks. It is known as animal impact. Grazing livestock adds diversity to the products produced on the farm, adds value to cover crops (really annual forage crops), and recycles nutrients through manure. It gives the soil and grasses more time to recover.

Is Regenerative Agriculture profitable?

  • Achieving the transition from conventional to regenerative agriculture will require a major shift in the strategy and behavior of farmers. For a farmer, farming for healthy soils, ecosystems, communities, and climate conflicts at many points with conventional agriculture practice.
  • Wider success comes only from the cumulative impact of individual farmers changing their on-farm practices and resetting how they keep data, manage expenses, sell, and borrow. 
  • Fortunately, the business case for regenerative farming is gaining clarity. Investors in regenerative agriculture and food companies buying regeneratively-produced crops already know the link from farmers to more sustainable and profitable outcomes
  • Meanwhile, the transition to regenerative agriculture, the cost (or perceived cost) remains a commonly cited obstacle amongst farmers and organizations serving farmers following by in this series like additional financial barriers facing regenerative farmers after the farm gate, including the inaccessible expense of farmland, the lack of attractive markets for regeneratively produced products, and the perverse incentives of crop insurance. 

Can regenerative agriculture reverse climate change?

  • Basically, regenerative agriculture processes draw carbon out of the atmosphere and capture it into the soil or sequestering carbon within the soil. Regenerative agricultural practices, not only improved the standard of soil but even have led to the land becoming a carbon sink. there’s much possibility of decreasing heating to some extent.
  • In addition, the principles embedded in regenerative agriculture support farmworkers and communities. As a result, improve health conditions by reducing harmful inputs like synthetic pesticides and antibiotics.
  • These practices also increase rainfall infiltration to assist prevent storm flooding and limit erosion, while enhancing soil moisture retention and protecting the land against drought.
  • Reduced tillage and mulching increase the soils’ ability to sequester carbon and reduces greenhouse emission emissions coming from the soil, farm vehicles, and therefore the factories that produce synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

References:

  1. News posted by Healthy Food Team on September 8, 2020. “The Dirt on Climate Change: Regenerative Agriculture and Health Care.” Health Care Without Harm, 28 Jan. 2021, URL 
  2. Murphy@jamiesonmurph, Jamieson. “The Five Principles of Regenerative Farming and How to Apply Them.” Stock & Land, 22 Dec. 2020, URL
  3. Wozniacka, Gosia, and Civil Eats. “Can Regenerative Agriculture Reverse Climate Change? Big Food Is Banking on It.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 29 Oct. 2019, URL 
  4. Ranganathan, Janet, et al. “Regenerative Agriculture: Good for Soil Health, but Limited Potential to Mitigate Climate Change.” World Resources Institute, 11 Feb. 2021, URL
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