Site icon RegenAg In Action

Is Biological Farming the Same as Regenerative Ag?

I prefer the the term Biological Farming to Regenerative Agriculture. Biological farming accurately describes what Regen Iowa is doing in the area of Regen Ag. It encourages us to think about the transition from mechanical farming, to chemical farming to the next stage of food production – using biology to meet human needs. Regenerative agriculture is a new term, and despite the buzz associated with regenerative, sustainable, natural – and our conviction that each is good and necessary – I often encounter people who are not exactly sure what it means.

Images associated with RegenAg are a bit like the blind men describing the elephant. In the children’s story, each blind man likened the part of the elephant he could feel, to something more familiar. Since each was touching a different part, there were 5 distinctly different perspectives. RegenAg is the culmination of multiple approaches, each bringing history and context that impacts their interpretation of the meaning of the term.  

Artist: G Renee Guzlas – From A Short Story about Perspective

As the consumer product brand managers start using the term Regenerative Agriculture (or RegenAg), in marketing natural products, the term will increasingly be in the public consciousness. This is positive, as it will increase the conversation around soil health, soil based carbon sequestration, clean water and air and environmental improvement more generally.

RegenAg offers a powerful tool for addressing multiple problems confronting humanity: food security, mitigating climate change, improving nutrient density in food, reducing irrigation needs by agriculture and improving profitability for farmers.

5 Sources of RegenAg

We thing there 5 major perspectives on RegenAg, each that brings validity and value:

Scientists now know that soil-based carbon sequestration is driven by the existence and growth of fungi. The fungal hyphae are coated in bacterial slime, glomalin, which creates what humans recognize as healthy soil. These hyphae, and the attendant glomalin glue, are the reason no-till farming is effective. Tilling, like chemical fertilizers and fungicides kill fungal hyphae.

We also now know that plant nutrient cycling is managed by the soil microbes, which are “farmed” and fed by the plants. The success of permaculture and regenerative ranching is improving the soil microbial ecosystem. But waiting for the restoration usually takes years. We wouldn’t farm without seeds, and yet the organic, permaculture and holistic approach presume we should wait for nature to restore the ecosystem.

SymSoil’s approach is to reseed these microbes. Find and grow the regionally specific microbes, reseed them and let the plant extrudates feed and grow them in the soil. This approach to regenerative agriculture reduces farmers costs, speeds up soil-based carbon sequestration, thereby mitigating climate change, while increasing flavor and nutrient density of food.

Reseeding the soil microbiome is an approach to RegenAg that draws on inspiration from other lineages and insights from biotechnology, but with a focus on what works for growers – bottom line profits through increased soil health.

This type of Regenerative Agriculture bypasses preconceived ideas and costs associated with organic certification, while helping growers deliver better quality food to consumers with significantly less agrichemicals (decreasing farmer inputs) and improving soil through restoring the soil microbe biome.

Exit mobile version