Seeking a way to be involved in the climate change movement by investing in land for sale? Try investing in regenerative agriculture. As agriculturalists and scientists seek solutions to the growing demand for sustainable agriculture products, many look to regenerative agriculture. Regenerative agriculture is a practice that involves enhancing the natural resource base and environment, while still producing sufficient amounts of high-quality food and being financially viable and safe for farmers and their communities. Regenerative farming practices aim to rebuild organic soil matter, resulting in a variety of environmental benefits, including improved soil biodiversity and reduced climate change. Regenerative agriculture also improves the sanitation of water and has proved to be a financially sound practice for farmers worldwide. The closed-loop system is thought to reduce humans’ impact on the environment and reverse damage.
1) Improve Land & Soil Health
Many current land & farming practices damage soil quality, including the use of tillage, inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. Soil worldwide is vulnerable to a plethora of problems, including decarbonization, erosion, desertification, waterlogging, acidification, salinization, nutrient depletion, and chemical pollution. Consequently, not only is formerly arable topsoil unusable, but also the entire agroecosystem is at risk of collapsing. As the soil is depleted of essential nutrients, crop yield significantly reduces, which prompts more demanding and unsustainable agricultural practices. This cycle of soil degradation can lead to land that is no longer usable for agriculture, and becomes a financial and environmental burden.
However, in contrast to the traditional crop growing techniques that damage soil health, regenerative agriculture rebuilds soil health while improving the long-term sustainability of the agroecosystem. According to Open Access Government, regenerative agriculture techniques, including minimizing tillage, diversifying annual cropping systems, using cover crops, and changing the type of fertilizer used, can alleviate much of the stress on soil and improve its overall health. Another regenerative agriculture practice that is drastically improving the economic output and overall soil health is the reintegrating of grazing animals back into cropping systems. As livestock are left to graze in cropping areas, their movement breaks up the soil, allowing nutrients and sunlight to new plants , which expedites the building of essential organic matter. The livestock’s manure adds nutrients to the ground, reversing years of damage from unsustainable agriculture. Though livestock are typically kept in large open pastures throughout the year, then fattened in grain-based feedlots, this process can be environmentally insensitive. By integrating cropping and grazing techniques, systems work harmoniously with nature to improve the overall foundation—the soil—of the agroecosystem.
2) Maintain Biodiversity to Increase the Quality of Land
As an agroecosystem’s health improves from regenerative agriculture practices, biodiversity will also increase. Generally, the more biodiverse an ecosystem is, the more resilient it will be. As soil health improves through various regenerative practices, biodiversity increases as a wider variety of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, insects, and other invertebrates, can live in the ground. Furthermore, since crop yields increase from having a better soil foundation, more pollinators and wildlife will be present in the agroecosystem, which will continue to increase crop yield and biodiversity. Moreover, insect-eating wildlife can alleviate issues with pests and disease. Similarly, while more crop varieties and livestock on the land, the environment is less susceptible to pests and disease, and having a variety of products diversifies farmers’ sources of income. This crop variety lessens financial risks for farmers if one particular crop fails in a given year, as well as increases the natural biodiversity, giving agriculturists both financial and environmental resilience.
3) Reduce Carbon Emissions
Although current methods to reduce and reverse climate change is a start, the implementation of regenerative agriculture can further reduce the overall food chain’s carbon footprint. Agriculture contributes to 24% of greenhouse gas emissions; however, as regenerative agricultural techniques sequester carbon out of the atmosphere and put it back into the soil, this number could soon decrease. Research done by the Rodale Institute suggests regenerative agriculture practices, including cover cropping, crop rotations, and pasturing animals, releases 40% less carbon emissions and uses up to 45% less energy than traditional agriculture, with no statistically significant difference in crop yields. The solution to climate change is beneath our feet—as regenerative agriculture restores soil to its former health, it also sequesters excess carbon and puts it underground. Even livestock, which have been blamed for the large amounts of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, can reduce carbon emissions. As livestock graze, their manure enriches the soil and creates more organic matter, further sequestering carbon back into the ground while improving crop quality and quantity.
4) Eliminate Chemical Run-Off
A major practice in regenerative agriculture is cover cropping—growing beneficial plants in times of rest or adjacently with the primary crop. Cover cropping reduces soil erosion, consequently also reducing chemical run-off after a rainstorm or irrigation. Cover crops, which include wheat, barley, peas, and clovers, are also profitable and offer a dual source of income to farmers other than the primary crop.
Another aspect of regenerative agriculture, crop rotation, can further lessen the amount of chemical run-off and groundwater contamination. Crop rotation can help restore the health of soil, which can reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides. Not only does this save money for the farmer, but it also improves the health of the community. With less chemicals in use, there is less of a chance water supplies will be tainted by agricultural run-off.
Regenerative agriculture is essential to reverse damage done to the planet. Regenerative agriculture doesn’t simply sustain damaged ecosystems; the practices offer a solution to restoring the environment in a practical way. As land investors choose to invest in regenerative agriculture and involve themselves in the progress this type of land management is making, land quality will only improve therefore benefitting the investor & our planet.
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