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Regenerative Agriculture

The vision of Australian Food & Farming is to, over the longer term, develop biodiverse landscapes, biologically enriched soil, healthy food through ecologically and ethically driven farming processes.

By better managing our soil, water, vegetation, biodiversity and ecological systems through improved knowledge and a capacity to mimic, as far as possible, Australia’s highly effective natural processes, Australian Food & Farming aims to regenerate our landscape and ensure healthy, profitable farming.

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

The loss of the world’s fertile soil and biodiversity, along with the loss of indigenous seeds and knowledge, pose a significant threat to our future. According to soil scientists, at current rates of soil destruction (i.e. decarbonization, erosion, desertification, chemical pollution), within 50 years we will increasingly face damage to public healthdue to a qualitatively degraded food supply. This will be characterized by diminished nutrition and loss of important trace minerals, requiring reliance on dietary supplements.

More alarming though is the fact that we may no longer have enough arable topsoil to support the world’s population. Without protecting and regenerating the soil on our 4 billion acres of cultivated farmland, 8 billion acres of pastureland, and 10 billion acres of forest land, it will be impossible to feed the world, contain global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, or halt the loss of biodiversity.

Regenerative agricultural practices reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, and provide optimal humane treatment and welfare for animals through managed pasture grazing programs. At Australian Food & Farming, we are committed to being producers who see themselves as stewards of the land and recognise this very important interrelationship between soil, plants, animals, the environment and humans.

Global Shift to Regenerative Agriculture

-- Decrease GHG emissions. A new food system could be a key driver of solutions to climate change. The current industrial food system is responsible for 44% to 57% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Science suggests that pastures, managed properly, can absorb significant amounts of carbon.

-- Improve yields. In cases of extreme weather and climate change, yields on organic farms have been shown to be higher than conventional farms.

-- Create drought-resistant soil. The addition of organic matter to the soil increases the water holding capacity of the soil. Regenerative organic agriculture builds soil organic matter.

-- Support biodiversity. Biodiversity is fundamental to agricultural production and food security, as well as a valuable ingredient of environmental conservation.

-- Restore grasslands. One third of the earth’s surface is grasslands, 70% of which have been degraded. We can restore them using holistic planned grazing.

-- Improve nutrition. Nutritionists now increasingly insist on the need for more diverse agroecosystems, in order to ensure a more diversified nutrient output of the farming systems.

Focus on Sustainability

The demand for healthy, locally produced food and healthy ecosystems has never been greater. More consumers, producers and government programs are engaged in producing cleaner, safer food. The world recognises the importance of changing our approach to feeding the global population, and holistic management offers a highly sustainable solution to this.

Agriculture focused on regenerative practices is by definition a system focused on improving soil health through increased soil carbon and life in the soil. While industrial agriculture has been mining the soil of minerals, fertility, and life for the last 50+ years in Australia, regenerative agriculture is about growing and feeding soil life, thus resulting in sustainable growth and more efficient production.

Building Soil Health

Regenerative agricultural practices that focus on soil health are critical to a healthy land base that is more resilient against the volatility of weather, such as drought or floods. They are also critical for the longterm sustainability of agricultural businesses because they are less dependent on fossil fuel inputs that will only continue to rise in cost.

Key Regenerative Agriculture Points

1. Comparable or better yields with increased production resilience.
2. Lower operating costs because of less reliance on external inputs like fertiliser or chemicals.
3. Enhanced natural capital, with the opportunity to increase asset values by regenerating degraded land.
4. Climatic resilience because healthy soils cope better with droughts and floods.
5. The ability to sell to higher value markets such as consumers of organic or grass-fed products.
6. Higher profitability with less volatility as holistic farms are more adaptive, and are able to respond better to climatic and biological variability.

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