The discussion about farming and regenerative agriculture on episode 1395 was infuriating to me. The producer who wrote in about regenerative agriculture sounds like a typical "conventional" farmer in mass formation with the chemical ag lobby. Regenerative Agriculture is a complex and diverse set of practices and principles--far from "using more glyphosate to plant into a sword of grass". See below for a litany of resources that cover some important bases.
Gabe Brown is probably the leader in proving that you can outproduce conventional producers using a no-till, cover crop and low to no herbicide or nutrient input system.
This fellow Russell Hedrick in NC is doing incredible work regenerating beat up hill farms and becoming a millionaire in the process by growing grains and legumes: https://youtu.be/RARFGkX3HBI
Ray Archuleta is a firebrand soil consultant and shows how degrading conventional tillage, herbicide and industrial chemical farming are, and works with hundreds of producers across the country to help them reduce tillage, increase soil carbon content, increase yield and reduce inputs.
Joel Salatin is surely the face of diverse family farms and regenerative agriculture. He integrates many species into a harmonious farm system that outprpduces conventional ag on a per acre basis both in food and profit.
Greg Judy has proven you can both regenerate cheap or free leased land AND make a profit with multiple grazing species, no tractor, and cheap solar electrified fencing.
Nicole Masters is a world renowned consultant who does incredible work on large farms and ranches, again, helping them both increase production and reduce inputs while increasing the bottom line.
I'll add an anecdote from our farm in central VA. The average soil organic matter on land in the county is 1-2%. Here we average 5-7%. What's the difference? Management intensive grazing. Where the average farm will continuously over-graze one or multiple large paddocks, we move hundreds of head of cattle(or sheep) in tight groupings where they spend anywhere from 12-48hrs grazing a single smaller paddock.
After 13 years of this after transitioning from a feedlot style operation, pastures are not lush, diverse and insanely productive. Many people will start feeding hay in May or June with the slightest span without rain (we average over 40inches annually, mind you) and continue all summer and winter. Here, hay is bought from neighbors and stored for inclement weather or to bed down areas with poorer soil. Less inputs, better outcomes.
@Misterm Very interesting. Haven't watched the whole thing, but reminds me of a no-tilling technique a Japanese farmer/researcher practiced and proposed many years ago. (Read about him decades ago, so cant remember his name).
@inscius yes, Masonobu Fukuoaka. In reality what is now referred to as "regenerative agriculture" are practices and principles that have been in play for millenia. It's only when we break away from sensible management of ecosystems that we get the dysfunction and decline of society and civilization--no matter what scapegoats are blamed.
The book Farmers of Forty Centuries is a fascinating study of time honored practices from the farming cultures of the far east.
@Misterm Thanks for the name. I do recognise he advocated "seed balls", which i thought was ingenious, without knowing much about farming tbf :). I never read about if from anyone else since then.
@Misterm thanks for posting this. I'm a huge Salatin fan even if I'm not in agreement on man made climate change. Salatin's practices along with others like Alan Savory seem to be more than worthwhile and zero inputs are certainly not on the agenda of big ag players.
@AplhaJuliet you're welcome. Having been in this world for 12 years, you will find opinions on climate change span the gambit. Salatin, for one, will be first in line to debate the man-made climate change narrative.
@Misterm the native inhabitants of mesoamerica grew dozens on complementary plants in single plots called milpas, some of which are still tended today, a thousand years after they were planted.
sepp holzer is kind of a dick, but he's done great work bringing permaculture to the public's attention.
@black6_ ha! Having met Sepp in Detroit (of all places!) years ago, I would describe him more as a curmudgeonly yet brilliant excavator operator and farmer. Buy yes, there are so many examples to point to. The simplification of the topic is a pet peeve of mine.
@Misterm this is such an important point! I’m out in CA, and we are always having drought problems. But if farmers focused on increasing organic matter, their land would actually hold water! Every 1% increase leads to around 10,000 to 20,000 gallons more water retention PER ACRE! and I have friends who study environmental policy and work in Water Management and Redistribution who have never heard of this! We are so dry because of deep till, mono-crop, fertilizers, and weed killers.
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