Why implement regenerative agriculture practices to promote soil health and sequester carbon
As our population grows, soil health and carbon sequestering are on the minds of everyone in the agriculture industry. Everything related to producing food for our growing population circles back to the health of the world’s soil. With one-third of the world’s soil already degraded, soil health is of utmost importance to farmers and consumers. Initiatives from agriculture experts are promoting new technologies to aid in soil health, and regenerative farming practices are being implemented around the world. The goal is to reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere and allow it to be stored in the soil for use. Let’s discuss the importance of regenerative practices and their role in healthy soil below.
Soil is considered healthy when it regulates water, filters pollutants, cycles nutrients, and successfully supports plant roots. Regenerative practices work with nature to restore degraded soils and make them healthier. Soil restored through regenerative farming methods has the ability to better store carbon thus decreasing the impacts of climate change.
Once soil has been restored and is healthy, it is better equipped to manage water. Whether soil experiences drought or flooding, healthy soil will release and retain water more efficiently, which reduces the impact of such events on farmland. While the threat of weather disasters cannot be prevented, managing them with healthy soil is key to being climate resistant.
Reduce Synthetic Inputs
Regenerative practices and biological products allow farmers to reduce the amount of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Specifically, utilizing cover crops builds soil organic matter, and they collect nutrients for the crops to use. As soil requires fewer synthetic inputs, human health risks decrease, pollution is significantly reduced, and farmers profitability is increased.
While regenerative practices work to restore degraded soil and sequester carbon, increased production is expected. The world population is estimated to grow to 9.8 billion people by 2050, which will increase the amount of food the agricultural industry needs to provide in order to keep up with demand. Regenerative practices are playing a major role in increasing production.
Preserve Agricultural Land
Another crisis facing the industry is farmer debt and bankruptcy. As a result, farmland is being sold and developed. American Farmland Trust reports 2,000 acres of farmland being lost to developers every day. When regenerative practices are supported and implemented, soil health is increased, and farmland can be saved.
As one of the greatest natural resources, soil is vital to our future. Initiatives by agricultural experts seek to provide solutions to improve soil productivity for greater crop yields. Regenerative farming practices must be implemented by growers to increase water retention, soil organic matter, and nutrient availability. These practices will increase carbon sequestering and decrease our carbon footprint as a result. With a growing population and demand for food on the rise, soil health is essential to our future.