Farmers play an indispensable part in our everyday lives— they grow the food that the rest of us require to live. Farming practices have changed over time, and certain research suggests that changing to regenerative agriculture practices can help battle climate change. The techniques employ sustainable food production methods to reduce or maybe even eliminate the global socio-environmental impacts.
The science underlying regenerative agriculture implies that this promising practice could have a significant impact on climate change, improve farmers' lives, and strengthen overall sustainable growth and development.
Let’s find out—
What Is Regenerative Agriculture & How Does It Work?
Regenerative agriculture is a collection of methods focused on ethical, organic farming and distribution that capitalizes on natural affinities throughout farming activities to boost productivity while remaining ecologically and socially responsible. The goal is to improve or regenerate resources that are generally diminished as a result of more frequent industrial farming practices. Minimizing soil compaction, preserving the topsoil surface covered, nurturing living roots in the soil, cultivating multiple crops, and rearing grazing livestock are all examples of regenerative agriculture. These methods are primarily concerned with soil health, to boost biodiversity and natural organic matter in the soil for better-nourished crops. Healthy soil results in higher yields and more nutrient-dense crops— and quality crops means higher resilience against environmental calamities like floods, droughts, and storms, all of which have become increasingly prevalent with the worsening crisis of climate change. The use of lesser chemical pesticides and fertilizers also saves the water bodies from infiltrations, resulting in cleaner, better quality water for both drinking and agriculture purposes.
How Does Regenerative Agriculture Benefit The Farmers?
The social fairness pillar of ROC (Regenerative Organic Certified) advocates for fair payments to farmers, good working conditions, and living wages. Given the heightened awareness, more than ever before, of treating everyone with dignity and respect, regenerative agriculture stands as a vital essential for uplifting the farming community.
Regenerative agricultural approaches are primarily concerned with lowering carbon emissions through soil regeneration and protection. But there is also a concern with the ethical treatment of those associated with it. The labor considerations of the regenerative agriculture system facilitate increased wages and benefits that serve in strengthening the lives of the farmers. It is no shocking news that the critical players who ensure our food is harvested and processed, the H-2A workers, operate in situations that are deemed as modern slavery. Regenerative agriculture, on the other hand, allows the workers a safe, productive environment free of chemical, physical, or mental toxicity. It helps boost worker health and happiness by limiting the working hours or having enough staff where employees can take time off when needed.
- Environmental Advantages
Regenerative agriculture enhances soil biodiversity which also improves the land, water, and air biodiversity— healthier and more diversified flora and fauna return to the farm and ranches— a reflection of ecosystem recovery. In addition, the minimal chemical and pesticide input on regenerative farmlands ensures less chemical contamination in ground and surface water, preventing the growth of dangerous toxic bacterial plants and drinking water contamination. It contributes to increased soil moisture retention, groundwater flow, better water conservation on the farm/ ranch, and improved flood & droughts resistance.
Crop rotation technique helps to conserve and rejuvenate the soil. Subsistence farming permits the crops, during their lifespan, to extract and discharge various nutrients and organic matter into the soil. Furthermore, choosing crops that are native to a given region reduces water consumption and promotes abundant crop production. All of these ecological advantages, in return, benefit the farmers who depend on agriculture activities for their livelihood.
- Financial Advantages
Reduced usage of chemicals, such as fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides, and antibiotics, results in increased profitability for farmlands and ranches. Regenerative agriculture encourages cautious financial practices such as lowered input costs, end market, etc., which results in lower credit loans and financial vulnerability— a positive change to the farmers’ economic freedom and overall profitability. Studies reveal a 78% more profitability for farms that practice regenerative agriculture methods over conventional methods. Farmers benefit from higher-value products while not generating the same amount of harvest yield as convention farms.
Regenerative economies extend beyond the farm and cover the greater food supply chain— it has the potential to foster rural prosperity at the macro level. The goal of regenerative agriculture is to create life and prosperity by connecting the webs of food processing, infrastructural facilities, distribution, and supplies. It gives farmers more control by ensuring that they get a greater percentage of the dollars received via selling the products.
While the agricultural economy still has monumental challenges when it comes to farmers receiving a fair return on their efforts, regenerative agriculture practices help in shaving portions of the challenges.
- Mental & Physical Health Advantages
Regenerative agriculture is working closely with nature. Studies show nature helps elicit a wide range of pleasant emotions, including relaxation, happiness, and creativity. It is also linked to better mental health, including lowered levels of anxiety and despair— regenerative agriculture helps in promoting a peaceful mind which, in turn, flourishes physical health. It also benefits the important ecosystem pollinators by allowing them to return to their natural habitat. As the farmers sever ties with the agrochemical business, the flora and fauna begin to thrive— adding to the prosperity of both the environment and farming community.
Regenerative agriculture has the potential to boost farmland profitability, which can benefit not just the lives of the farmers but also boost the investors' farming investment returns. Additionally, it encourages more migration from conventional farming systems towards sustainable farming practices, which is very crucial for mitigating climate change.
Climate change is the result of human activities that are in a parasitic relationship with the world we inhabit, and the agriculture system is one of them. By trapping carbon deep underground, regenerative agriculture practices can aid in balancing out the terrible climate change effects.
If regenerative agriculture can help improve lives and contribute to saving our dying planet, why not take it for the home run? The president of the United States believes so too.