Regenerative Agriculture – Farming, Principles, Benefits

Regenerative Agriculture – Farming, Principles, Benefits

Introduction to Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative agriculture is a combination of several agricultural practices whose main objective is to naturally enhance soil quality. Moreover, to restore the fertility of diseased or exhausted soils. These practices are mainly depending on natural and ancient farming traditions around the world, but also modern research and innovations in sustainable agriculture.

Regenerative agriculture is mostly useful in arid places where the soil was subject to excessive conventional agriculture.  It also plays an important role in the fight against global warming as it helps to hold and sequestrate CO2. Regenerative agriculture practices help us fight the climate crisis by taking carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the ground. This system uses grazing and farming practices that can reverse climate change by biologically-diverse, building healthy and mineral-rich soils, all the while sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Global soils comprise 2 to 3 times more carbon than the atmosphere. It is estimated that nearly 50% of the carbon in the earth’s soil has been released into the atmosphere in the past few centuries, somewhat due to destructive agricultural practices. In this article we also discuss the below topics;

  • What does Regenerative agriculture mean?
  • How do I start Regenerative agriculture?
  • How does Regenerative agriculture work
  • Is Regenerative farming profitable?
  • Why is Regenerative agriculture important
  • Different Regenerative farming practices

A Step By Step Guide to Regenerative Agriculture Farming System

Regenerative Agriculture Farming System

Regenerative agriculture comprises the use of comprehensive soil fertility management, biodiversity, composting, water management seed collection, and crop protection and crop rotation. All these practices help to revive the local ecosystem through carbon sequestration and improved soil and water conditions, finally impacting the health of our global ecosystem. This system mainly defines grazing and farming practices that mainly focus on the regenerating topsoil, permitting farmers to maintain crop yields, improve water retention and increase farm profitability, plant uptake and finally support biosequestration, among other benefits.

Regenerative agriculture’s backbone is a focus on strengthening the vitality and health of farm soil. The important point is that Regenerative agriculture “does no harm” to the land, and improves it, by using technologies to build soil health like recycling waste, limited-to-no-tillage, compost, among other practices. Farms with regenerative agriculture practices were 78% more profitable than those with only conventional practices. Regenerative farmers can give up some yield if it means making more profits, which it makes possible by growing higher-margin crops and reducing costly inputs.

Why Regenerative Agriculture Farming Important?

The damage of the fertile soil and biodiversity, along with the loss of knowledge and indigenous seeds, pose a mortal threat to our future survival. According to soil scientists’ studies, at present rates of soil destruction, within 50 years we will not only suffer serious damage to public health due to a qualitatively degraded food supply characterized by loss of important trace minerals and reduced nutrition, but we will no longer have sufficient arable topsoil to feed ourselves. Without protecting and regenerating the soil on our 10 billion acres of forest land, 8 billion acres of pastureland and 4 billion acres of cultivated farmland, it will be impossible to feed the world, maintain global warming below 2°C, or halt the loss of biodiversity.

How Regenerative Agriculture Farming Works?

The Regenerative farming practice mainly focuses on restoring soils that have been degraded by the agricultural, industrial system. In this method promote healthier ecosystems by rebuilding soil organic matter through grazing techniques and holistic farming. It is a system of farming, practices and principles that seeks to rehabilitate and improve the complete ecosystem of the farm by placing a heavy premium on soil health with attention also paid to fertilizer use, water management and more.

The main important to Regenerative agriculture system is that it not only “does no harm” to the land but improves it, by using new technologies that regenerate and revitalize the environment and the soil. It has the capability of producing high quality leads to healthy soil, nutrient-dense food while simultaneously improving, instead of degrading land. Eventually leading to productive farms and healthy economies and communities, Regenerative agriculture system is a dynamic and holistic, incorporating permaculture and organic farming practices, including crop rotation, composting, mobile animal shelters, conservation tillage, cover crops and pasture cropping, to increase farmers’ income, food production and exclusively, topsoil.

Regenerative Organic Agriculture

Regenerative organic agriculture goes beyond the standards of organic certification. We treat each farm as a unique organism. Regenerative Agriculture comprises the use of comprehensive soil fertility management, composting, seed collection, water management along with crop protection and crop rotation.

It states to working with nature to utilize healthy soil microbiology and photosynthesis to draw down greenhouse gases. Using compost, reduced tillage, crop rotation, and cover crops, we can sequester more carbon than is currently emitted from the atmosphere, tipping the needle past 100% to reverse climate change.

The regenerative agriculture system also aims to return to the olden practices by following the rhythms of nature, such as harvesting and planting according to the moon cycle. Soil organic matter is an animal or plant tissue in the process of decay. While most soils are only 2% to 10% soil organic matter, this plays a dynamic role in soil health.

Every one-percent increase of soil organic matter helps soil retain 20,000 gallons more water per acre of land. And heightened water holding capacity means crops are stronger through times of heavy rain or drought. By properly maintaining surface residues, soil structure, and roots with better aggregation and pores, soil organic matter decreases nutrient runoff and erosion, as well. When plants have sufficient nutrients and roots systems they need to thrive, they build compounds to help defend against disease and insects. There is also a growing indication that a healthy soil microbiome full of necessary fungi, bacteria, and nematodes is more likely to produce nutrient-dense food, promoting better human health.

Organic Farming Practices;

  • There’s a lot of discussion between people about what does and doesn’t count as organic farming.
  • But generally, people associate it with farming without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers for crops, or antibiotics and growth hormones for livestock.
  • As well as keep away from the use of genetically modified organisms.
  • There tends to also be a lot of overlap between Regenerative agriculture and organic farming.
  • Most organic farmers also strive to decrease pollution, protect the environment, reduce soil erosion and degradation, and other similar goals.

Principles of Regenerative Agriculture Farming

The main principles of Regenerative agriculture system are;

  • It increases soil fertility.
  • Work with whole systems, not isolated parts, to make changes to specific parts.
  • It improves complete agro-ecosystems (water, soil, and biodiversity).
  • It Connects the farm to its larger agro-ecosystem and region.
  • Make holistic choices that express the value of farm contributors.
  • Each farm and person are significant.
  • Take care all stakeholders have equitable and reciprocal relationships.
  • Payment can be spiritual, financial, social, or environmental capital. Relationships can be “non-linear”: if you do not get paid, in the future you can be given other “capital” by unrelated parties.
  • Repeatedly grow and evolve individuals, farms, and communities.
  • Continuously evolve the agro-ecology.
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Different Types of Regenerative Agriculture Practices

Below are the examples of Regenerative agriculture practices are;

Regenerative farming practices offerings an incredible opportunity to restore both climate and the carbon balance. Because the agriculture system is the one sector that can transform from emitting CO2 to sequestering CO2. Sequestering carbon is important to halt the warming of our planet. Even In case emissions dropped to zero the planet would continue to warm because of all the greenhouse gasses already present in our atmosphere. Stopping emissions is not sufficient. Working on cultivable land by respecting the soil’s original structure, by using adapted no-till techniques to defend micro-organisms and other earthworms, and trying as much as possible to keep soils covered to avoid erosion.

Regenerative farming uses organic matter and compost of local origin, along with hummus, to improve the land’s fertility and to control the atmosphere’s humidity. Regenerative agriculture uses organic phytosanitary inputs that are exclusively biodegradable and natural, as little as possible. It also introduces the environment to balancing species to permit a greater ecological balance and offers well protection against pests.

Different Types of Regenerative Farming Practices are;

  1. Erosion control

Regenerative agriculture system uses filter dikes, hedgerows and micro-dams to manage groundwater and rainwater maintenance.

  1. Composting

Building soil organic is more important for rebuilding depleted soils. Composted biological materials such as food waste, crop residue and animal waste to build soil organic matter are critical in the Regenerative agriculture system. These materials comprise carbon, that when incorporated into soils breaks down gradually, building stable organic matter.  The conversion into stable organic matter takes much time. Compositing can accelerate the decomposition of these materials, creating compost products that can be more directly available for soil microbes and plants to utilize. Composting procedures can be driven by fungi, earthworms, bacteria, nematodes, and other organisms.  Along with adding organic/carbon matter back into soils, composts provide good fertilizer value to your soils and crops in forms that are available over more extended periods compared to conventional fertilizers.

  1. Rotation and cover crops

Left exposed to the elements, the soil will erode and the nutrients those necessary for plant growth will completely dry out or quite wash away. Simultaneously, planting in the same location with the same plants can lead to a buildup of some nutrients and a lack of others. But by rotating crops and deploying cover crops strategically, gardens and farms can infuse soils with more and more (and more diverse) soil organic matter, frequently while avoiding pest and disease problems naturally. Always keep in mind, bare soil is bad soil.

Regenerative farms frequently rotate several crops in a given year, rather than alternating crops every year as many conventional farms do. This practice acts as a form of crop insurance through diversification, while helping to avoid fungi and pests. Intercropping, the practice of growing two or more crops simultaneously in the proximity of one another, improves nutrient content and soil fertility.

  1. Integrating livestock

As animals move, their hooves break up the soil, compacting inedible plants and permitting nutrients and sunlight to new plants speeding up the building of soil organic matter, with stalks and crushed leaves creating natural mulch. This well equips the soil for germinating seeds. And the livestock’s ordure adds nutrients to the ground, moreover improving water retention.

  1. No-till

Tilling is a common agricultural practice that contains ploughing the land to expose the soil underneath while spreading fertilizer and destroying weeds. Historically, tilling was considered effective in the process of farmland preparing for planting and enhancing soil productivity. When a field is tilled, though, carbon is directly released into the atmosphere, beneficial microbial life is removed or damaged, and water in the soil evaporates, finally making the soil less nutrient-rich and less productive. Simply by selecting not to till their fields, farmers can improve their crop yields and improve the health of their land.

No-till means that the farmer has left the prior crop’s remainder or/and the mass of plants on the soil surface, along with the roots still in the ground, and planted the new crop into the soil without tilling.

  • Protects mycorrhizal fungi and the complete soil ecosystem
  • Protects and increases soil aggregates
  • Increases water infiltration and retention
  • Decreases erosion
  • Feeds microbial life and communities in the soil
  • Permits more carbon to stay in the soil through reduced
  1. Conservation tillage

Tillage and ploughing dramatically erode soil and directly release huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They similarly can result in the kind of bare or compacted soil that produces a hostile environment for important soil microbes. By choosing No or low-till practices, farmers decrease the physical disturbance of the soil, and over time increase levels of soil organic matter, creating healthier, more resilient environments for plants to thrive, in addition to keeping more and more carbon where it belongs.

  1. Diversity

Different plants release different types of carbohydrates through their roots, and various microbes feed on these carbs and return all sorts of different nutrients to the soil or the plant. By improving the plant diversity of their fields, farmers help create the rich, varied, and nutrient-dense soils that lead to more productive yields.

  1. Holistic management

Several aspects of the Regenerative agriculture system tend to have a common theme of holistic management. This means that decisions are made depends on what’s best for the overall system, rather than focusing on yield or productivity at the cost of making other negative tradeoffs. If you want farming practices to be sustainable, you have to consider all of the possible financial, environmental, and social implications of your practices.

  1. Permaculture design

Permaculture is a design science, along with a philosophy and a complete way of life. It’s about observing natural ecosystems, whole systems thinking and using or simulating them, and other principles.

Mostly, it’s a landscape design that also takes ecology into account, rather than specifically doing what is best for agriculture. As a result, permaculture systems tend to end up being more productive and efficient compared to other conventional farms, but also have better ecosystems and water cycles, and are more sustainable.

  1. No synthetic fertilizers or pesticides

Both synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, although effective when seeking immediate results, actually reduce the fertility of the soil in the long run by decreasing the amount of organic matter and frequently increasing the nitrogen content. Chemicals in these substances can also be harmful to both animal and human health when overused.

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Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture System

  • Regenerative agriculture system fights against climate change by returning carbon to long-term, stable storage in the soil.
  • Regenerative agriculture improves the water cycle by increasing water retention in the soil, which decreases the impact of both droughts and floods.
  • Regenerative agriculture uses low input methods that increase profits and decrease costs.
  • Get Well Yields – In the face of extreme weather and climate change, Regenerative farms tend to have better yields compared to conventional farms. Small farms today are already presently feeding the world on less than a quarter of all available farmland. If you can crop the same amount of food and profits, but do it in a more supportable way, it seems like a no-brainer.
  • Improves Biodiversity – It practices can help improve the biodiversity of an ecosystem. Usually, the more biodiversity you can have in an area and the closer it mimics nature, the more resilient it will be. Crop varieties, wildlife, and livestock on a farm, you create an environment that’s less susceptible to disease, pests, and climate change. Pollinators help to increase crop yield. Having insect-eating wildlife living in the ecosystem helps decrease disease and pests. And having a large crop variety means a more diversified source of income, and a low risk of financial problems if incase one particular crop fails to perform in a given year.

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