According to the Organic Consumers Association, humans will need to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent or more to offset the effects of global warming. The best way to do this is by rethinking the way different industries operate. The agricultural industry is a hub of debate for reform, as it accounts for about one-quarter of the planet's carbon emissions, as reported by the World Resources Institute. Many farmers, agricultural organizations and concerned country living Texans are seeking systems of farming and ranching that can create positive outcomes for the economy, the environment, farmers, farm workers and consumers.
The main issue regarding regenerative practices is that many farmers, ranchers and policymakers do not know what regenerative agriculture entails and how it can benefit their farms and societies. Understanding this process and its benefits is crucial in creating farms and ranches that can benefit the environment and human society.
Defining regenerative agriculture
The United Nations estimates that there will be 9.8 billion humans on Earth in 2050. This is a substantial increase from the planet's current population of approximately 7 billion. In order to maintain the needs of the Earth's increased inhabitants, the agriculture industry will need to make changes to increase production without producing adverse effects on the environment or global economy.
The system of regenerative agriculture involves farming practices that can enrich soils, increase biodiversity and reduce costs. Its principles involve detaining carbon in the plants and soil, therefore reducing the excess amount of this element in the atmosphere. It can also decrease the amount of nitrogen emissions caused by fertilizer runoffs. Its advantages can be monumental, making an impact on a communal and global level.
The benefits of regenerative agriculture
Regenerative agriculture encourages plant photosynthesis, which reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Although plants would release oxygen, they absorb carbon in their roots and soil to create energy for themselves, therefore releasing less damaging emissions. Unlike air with excess CO2, carbon-rich soil is beneficial for the earth, as it produces healthier soil that retains more water and is therefore more resilient to droughts.
In addition, farmers utilizing regenerative techniques have the ability to save money and resources. By forgoing the use of nitrogen-based synthetic fertilizers, less fertilizer runoff will lead to less adverse effects to the environment and public health. With less chemicals needed to cultivate crops, the grown products may be more rich in nutrients. As a result, biodiversity can prosper, allowing for an influx of beneficial organisms that can pollinate and fertilize plants, while causing the number of pests to decrease. Civilizations relying on these farms can also reap the benefits, as food production and the amount of environmental careers can increase. These positive outcomes prove that regenerative agriculture can benefit all parties, from the farmers and their communities to the natural environment.
The "Healthy Farm"
The Union of Concerned Scientists have a vision for the future of regenerative agriculture, known as the Healthy Farm. This model farm uses more sustainable practices than many farms do presently. Some of the sustainability efforts of the Healthy Farm include:
- Using less chemical fertilizers when possible to make the farm less susceptible to drought and erosion.
- Using fewer pesticides to reduce air and water pollution.
- Making better use of underutilized land.
- Cultivating a broad range of plant species to create a better habitat for organisms that can benefit and pollinate the land.
The Healthy Farm is a model that farmers seeking regenerative agriculture practices can use to improve their farms' carbon footprints and quality of materials. Making small changes on your farm or ranch can make a big difference on the land and the environment, and perhaps intrigue environmentally conscious individuals looking to buy land in Texas.