Regenerative Farming for Better Soil, Farms and a Climate Change Solution

Gabe Brown has super healthy soil on his farm and his farm is more productive. Tests show soil on Brown’s farm had 7 times as much nitrogen, 5 times as much phosphorus, 8 times as much potassium, and 4 times as much organic carbon and organic matter percent as the nearby farms. His soil infiltrates 30 inches of water per hour compared to half an inch per hour and less on the other farms.

187 Billion Tons of CO2 Per Year From Various Healthy Soil Plans

Over the last 90 years, modern petroleum-fueled agriculture has BEAM (Biologically Enhanced Agricultural Management), is a process developed by Dr. David Johnson of New Mexico State University, that uses compost with a high diversity of soil microorganisms. BEAM has achieved very high levels of sequestration. A 4.5 year agricultural field study promoted annual average capture and storage of 10.27 metric tons soil C per hectare per year. If BEAM was extrapolated globally across agricultural lands it would sequester 184 billion tons of CO2/yr.

If regenerative grazing practices were implemented on the world’s grazing lands they would sequester 98.5 billion tons CO2 per year.

Just transitioning 10 percent of agricultural production to best practice regenerative systems will sequester enough CO2 to reverse climate change and restore the global climate.

Regenerative Farming

Brown dropped the use of most of the herbicides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilizers that are a standard part of conventional agriculture. He switched to no-till planting, started planting diverse cover with a mix of 70 plants and changed his grazing practices. He transformed a degraded farm ecosystem into one full of life—starting with the soil and working his way up, one plant and one animal at a time.

Brown’s Ranch model, developed over twenty years of experimentation and refinement, focuses on regenerating resources by continuously enhancing the living biology in the soil. Using regenerative agricultural principles, Brown’s Ranch has grown several inches of new topsoil in only twenty years. Most scientists have believed it takes 1000 years to grow one inch of topsoil.

He farms by the five principles of soil health. Those principles:

* Limit disturbance: Protect soil structure by using no-till techniques and avoiding all use of pesticides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilizers.
* Armor: Keep the soil covered at all times.
* Diversity: Strive for a healthy mix of plant and animal species.
* Living Roots: Maintain living roots in the soil as long as possible throughout the year.
* Integrate Animals: Manage livestock using regenerative strategies like adaptive multi-paddock grazing.

The current farm bill supports industrial farming and does not support regenerative agriculture. It promotes monocultures. Farm insurance also only supports industrial farming with tilling, monocultures and fertilizer.

SOURCES- Brown’s Ranch, farm progress, ecofarming daily
Written By Brian Wang.