Innovation Insights: Regenerative what?
Commentary by Mike McMorris, LRIC CEO, November 2020
Language is a little like fashion. Fads come and go, and it can be hard to stay current. While it may not really matter to stay current in fashion, at least not to most middle-aged men, it really does matter to stay current with language fads. The latest phrase getting a lot of buzz and attention is “regenerative agriculture”, but what does that mean and why should Ontario livestock producers care?
LRIC is preparing a series of white papers on topics of interest and importance to livestock producers. It says something that we chose regenerative agriculture as the first in the series. One goal of the white papers is to help understand language and to know why it matters. With excellent input from those that work in the field, we are defining regenerative agriculture as:
- A set of farming and grazing practices that benefit the health of agricultural land ecosystems by revitalizing soil health through a focus on organic matter which in turn generates a domino effect of positive health and environmental effects.
Notice the very deliberate inclusion of “grazing practices”. Grazing livestock, well managed, are a key component of soil health. And maybe that is the biggest difference between sustainable and regenerative. Those practicing regenerative agriculture are proactively working toward soil health.
Not everyone is on board the sustainable agriculture train yet, but another has left the station. Expect to hear more about regenerative agriculture. It presents an opportunity for livestock producers who graze their animals.