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Regenerative Agriculture: Basic requirements and Cost Benefits

Regenerative agriculture refers to agriculture practices that aim to regenerate soils by increasing their organic content to improve their fertility.

Aarushi Chadha
Practices such as tilling, over-exploitation of land, using chemicals to increase yield and manage pest infestations, along with growing the same crop every year are making the agricultural land barren

Regenerative agriculture is an agricultural philosophy where the approach to land management is concerned with nourishing the earth along with providing food for people. This dynamic agricultural system is meant to restore soil, address gender inequity, and ensure that we live with better land and water resources for future generations.

As we all know, agriculture plays a significant role in contributing to climate change. Practices such as tilling, over-exploitation of land, using chemicals to increase yield and manage pest infestations, along with growing the same crop every year are making the agricultural land barren.

The regenerative agriculture movement hopes to make farmland and the local communities resistant to harsh weather phenomena whilst simultaneously encouraging farmers to participate in practices that can sequester more carbon in the soil. It also aims to help maintain water security during drought-like conditions, reduce reliance on fossil fuel-based fertilizers and pesticides, and reduce greenhouse emissions.

Basic Regenerative Farming Practices:

  • Agroforestry- Agroforestry is a regenerative farming practice where farmers mimic forest systems by integrating trees and shrubs into crop and animal systems.

  • No-tilling- Tilling the soil disturbs its natural structure and disperses carbon, which is meant to promote the growth and development of crops, into the air. No-tilling practices help the soil retain essential nutrients and even minimize the compaction of the soil.

  • Since the soil is less compacted, no-tilling practices allow for the better movement of water, crop roots, and soil organisms. No tilling also reduces soil erosion. It saves money on fuel and equipment and even reduces water runoff by increasing the soil’s ability to retain water.

  • Reduce dependency on chemical fertilizer and pesticides- Using chemical fertilizer is one of the biggest contributors to the pollution of land and water bodies because it creates an imbalance of microbes and organisms in the soil and water which affects the ecosystem. Using compost and animal manure is a popular regenerative farming practice. Not only does compost and manure feeds the soil and the organisms within the soil but it is also a way of waste management.

Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture on the Environment:

  • More fertile soil- Regenerative agricultural practices will result in healthier and more fertile soil. Better soil will result in higher water-holding capacity and make crops more resilient in harsh weather conditions. Regenerative agriculture practices result in a porous soil structure which reduces nutrient runoff and erosion.

  • Grows more resilient crops- Regenerative agricultural practices have led to an increase in yield because under organic systems the crops are more resilient to extreme weather. These practices are able to produce more resilient crops because the soil it is grown on is very healthy and is filled with beneficial soil microbes that suppress disease and lead to better water retention.

  • Decrease in carbon footprint- Regenerative agricultural practices aim to mitigate harmful emissions by incorporating permaculture and organic farming practices that are dynamic and holistic. These practices include- cover crops, composting, pasture cropping, conservation tillage, and crop rotation.

  • Decrease in chemical runoff and soil erosion- Regenerative agricultural practices promote healthier soil with practices such as crop rotation all year round. Not only does this practice aims at replenishing the soil of lost nutrients but also reduces water and fertilizer runoff because healthier soil is less prone to erosion.

  • Reduced costs of production- Since chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which can be very expensive, are not used in regenerative agriculture because the soil is healthier and packs more nutrients with regenerative agricultural practices. Additionally, these practices turn the farm into a more robust ecosystem that can withstand harsh weather and tolerate disturbances by invasive species.

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