The Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture on Food Production

Fertoz is a proud supporter of regenerative agriculture and is committed to promoting practices that work to build and maintain soil organic matter and improving overall soil health. Regenerative agriculture includes practices designed to build up overall soil health can be in the form of using minimal/reduced tillage, cover crops, and a diverse crop rotation etc. Healthy soils are more resistant to drought, erosion, leaching, and can retain greater amounts of nutrients needed for plant growth. This in turn can reduce input costs such as fertilizer application, which saves the producer money and can ultimately lower the carbon footprint of a farm operation.  

Recent research has suggested that regenerative agricultural production practices are able to produce more nutritionally robust food when compared to food produced under conventional methods. As part of our goal at Fertoz to promote regenerative agricultural practices, we have put together a synopsis of a recent article describing the benefits of regenerative agriculture.

A study by Montgomery et al., 2022 compared the nutritional content of food crops grown using conventional practices and crops grown from regenerative practises. Ten regenerative farms agreed to grow 1 acre (0.4 hectares) each of peas, sorghum, corn, or soybeans to compare results with the same crop grown on a neighboring conventional farm.

The results showed that food grown on the regenerative farms:

  • Contained, on average, more magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc; more vitamins (including B1, B12, C, E and K), and more phytochemicals.
  • Were lower in elements that can be detrimental to human health, including sodium, cadmium, and nickel.
  • Regenerative practices imbue our crops with more anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants.
  • The regenerative farms had overall healthier soil with more carbon, as measured by their organic matter and soil nutrient test.
  • Beef and pork raised on one of the regenerative farms had higher levels of omega-3 fats and a more health-beneficial ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats than meat from local supermarkets.

Additionally, soil health appears to influence phytochemical levels in crops indicating regenerative agricultural production practices can enhance dietary levels of compounds known to reduce risk of various chronic diseases.

In an interview with Dale Strickler (Kimbrough, 2021), author/consultant on regenerative agriculture, Dale describes practices such as tillage are common among many agricultural operations and by breaking soil particles apart, promotes nutrient release into the soil. However, over time tillage can degrade the soil by depleting the soil organic matter content. This reduces the soils’ ability to absorb rainfall which impedes roots and prevents oxygen movement and gas exchange.

Regenerative agricultural practices such as no-till, cover copping and diverse crop rotations promote and foster healthy soils. Healthy soils are loaded with diverse microbial communities of bacteria and fungi which help increase beneficial compounds such as micronutrients and phytochemicals important for human health.

“We were thinking about the word ‘diet’ and asking, ‘What is the food eating? … If you think of a crop as having a diet, that’s really what you feed the soil … how you fertilize, how you treat the land and so forth,” – Anne Biklé, co-author of “What Your Food Ate” and “The Hidden Half of Nature”

With Fertoz, producers can utilize the many soil benefits of regenerative agriculture while also generating carbon credits which are then sold for a profit for the producer.

References:

Link to original article: https://news.mongabay.com/2022/06/study-regenerative-farming-boosts-soil-health-yielding-more-nutritious-crops/

Liz Kimbrough. 2022. Study: Regenerative farming boosts soil health, yielding more nutritious crops. Mongabay. URL:https://news.mongabay.com/2022/06/study-regenerative-farming-boosts-soil-health-yielding-more-nutritious-crops/

Montgomery, D. R., Biklé, A., Archuleta, R., Brown, P., & Jordan, J. (2022). Soil health and nutrient density: Preliminary comparison of regenerative and conventional farming. PeerJ, 10, e12848. doi:10.7717/peerj.12848

Liz Kimbrough. 2021. The complete guide to restoring your soil: Q&A with soil expert Dale Strickler. Mongabay. URL:https://news.mongabay.com/2021/11/the-complete-guide-to-restoring-your-soil-qa-with-soil-expert-dale-strickler/

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