In the last decade, regenerative agriculture has moved from a fringe idea to the mainstream. With a focus on soil health, it aims to restore balance in ecological systems through a whole-of-farm approach.
Regenerative agriculture encourages farmers to use livestock to manage the land and to work with the environment rather than battle against it. Or as Charlie Arnott put it in our panel on this topic, “one thing to consider is that nature is your most valuable business partner.”
Every farmer will have a different approach to regenerative agriculture – there is no one-size-fits-all model. Lorraine Gordon, the founder of the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, finds that whenever she lists the practices, farmers realise, “Oh my god, I’m actually doing some of those things already.”
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The hardest thing about moving towards regenerative agriculture can be the shift in mindset – changing what Charlie Arnott calls “the paddock between ears”. The good thing is, there is no need to go all-in. Sometimes it’s better to make small, consistent changes.
As Sam Trethewey told us, if you’re running a 5,000-acre property, you don’t have to overhaul your whole operation. You can adjust your practices across two or three paddocks. “Trial it for a couple of years, do whatever you feel comfortable with, and you’ll start to notice Mother Nature and the environment and the farm behave in a different way.”
Regenerative agriculture calls for a holistic management style, but you do need to start somewhere. What can you change with minimal cost outlay and effort, to start making the transition to regenerative agriculture? We’ve compiled a checklist to help you on your way!