The term regenerative standards do sound like a heavy word and it quite literally is. The reason behind it is the fact that the term which represents regenerative agriculture cannot be defined by a single definition. It is more than just a word; it is a social movement that involves not only smart farming practices but also aims at catering to some real issues that the world is facing at large.
This is why we have taken this opportunity to discuss everything regarding this phenomenon which is finally gaining the attention of the public and making it visible why it is significant to have at least the basic knowledge of how to do regenerative farming!
But Really, what is Regenerative Standards?
If you want to understand what is meant by regenerative standards, you will have to go in depth and understand what this term encompasses. One of the most crucial facts that you should know before moving forward is that the agricultural industry is one of the biggest carbon-emitting industries around the globe. The greenhouse gases that you hear about almost every other day have a large chunk of it coming from the agriculture department.
This might sound a bit shocking to those who certainly had no idea about it, but, indeed, the amount of carbon being released in the environment through these set standard practices is much more dangerous than it is represented. One of the first things that come to mind after dealing with this is the fact that agriculture is necessary for living so how do we cater to this issue? If you are thinking about this, you are going on the right track, and it took a lot of research for environmental scientists as well to come up with a solution.
This solution is the one that is being presented here and is by far the only one that actually has evidence of being extremely beneficent for the cause. Yes, we are talking about regenerative agriculture. Although the term is not that common around the globe as of yet, it is gaining recognition because of the kind of impact it has had on the lands that it was used on. There are several practices that are incorporated in farming through which one can make sure to follow regenerative standards which we will be talking about in detail now.
However, before jumping directly into that, let us first understand what exactly happens due to which the carbon emission is to that extent so that we can better understand the use of these practices. The main product that is the source of this process is the soil. The reason why these emissions take place is that the soil is degrading, and so even heavy rainfalls are of no use. Due to this, desertification is increasing and there is nothing one can do about it except to follow regenerative practices.
According to the stats presented by the UN in 2019, almost one-third of the soil has already been degraded acutely. This means that if we continue at the same pace, we just have 60 years left until the soil is completely degraded. The reason why regenerative standards need to be followed is not only because the will stop carbon emission that is taking place due to industrial farming practices but also because the practices give back to the soil and make it even more healthy. So, the process is completely reversed, and this is why we need to implement these practices!
There are quite a number of ways through which one can practice regenerative agriculture, and then off course, once you add smart farming techniques, the results can get much better but there are still ways of doing so without actually needing to use technology at all and now we will take a look at what these methods are:
This first option is by far the most important way through which one can implement regenerative practices. What we mean by livestock here is the practice that was a part of the culture in the past. Large herds of animals would move together to be safe from the predator because moving in large groups would mean increased safety for individuals and they also had to keep moving. Hence, due to this natural process, the crops on which they would move would break the soil, and then the excretes of these animals along with the mulch would make the soil more organic and healthier.
Another phenomenon that is a part of this process is that the seasonal decay of the plants when they go in the dry season should happen organically before the next growing season. The rationale behind it is that if they do not decay biologically, the grassland and the soil will die which leads to the process of oxidation that leads to woody vegetation and bare soil which releases carbon. This whole process, in turn, takes you to the only option left which is to put these woods on fire to get rid of them. Now this fire is way more dangerous in terms of the number of emissions it produces as compared to vehicles.
Being able to mimic the similar natural predator situation for livestock and increasing their quantity in the farms will help in getting that movement for the soil along with the dunk and wastes of these animals which will help in fertilizing the soil naturally.
2. Reduction in the Use of Tillage
When we talk about industrial farming and its disadvantages, not being able to achieve no-till farming comes on top. We have now been so accustomed to disturbing the soil by using tillage in the process that the idea sounds like a big step. However, it is necessary to have no-till farming if we do take regenerative agriculture seriously.
3. Cover Crops
In the above point, we just saw how bare soil emits carbon and so one of the major steps taken through regenerative practices is to use cover crops. Cover crops are plants that are used to cover the soil to prevent them from access emissions. There are other benefits of having cover crops as well which as a whole contributes towards making the soil healthier. Some of this may include but are not limited to being able to feed the microorganisms within the soil through these, lowering the temperature of the soil and to protect the soil from water and wind erosion.
Another way of covering the soil apart from using cover crops is to have plants residue. This is the process that was explained in the above pointer. When the livestock helps in decaying the plants naturally, they leave plant residue on the soil which also serves toward covering it naturally.
4. Crop Rotation
This term, crop rotation could be simply defined as the process of growing a series of different crops in the same area throughout different seasons. There are multiple benefits of this process and in that list, the one that tops it all is that through this process, you can prevent the soil from being exhausted. Having the same kind of crop for the same field for this long also means that you are making it accustomed to that only which can also create resistance.
5. Smart Farming
All the processes that we have explained up until now do not involve anything very different from the practices that could be easily incorporated in the agricultural industry. However, our last point in this regard is an addition that could help in making these processes, even more, promising and rewarding as well.
A more appropriate term for this process could be the fact that it helps in verification. Smart farming uses advanced technology which includes the use of big data or the internet of things (IoT) for tracking, monitoring, and evaluation of the processes that have taken place.
Additionally, you can also use data to verify the carbon impacts of these practices and have more insight into carbon sequestration. This basically guarantees that the practices that you have been implementing in your farm are not going to waste but there is an actual turnout.
Taking a Look at Regenerative Standards Again
In the beginning, when we talked about regenerative standards that are based on regenerative agriculture and smart farming, you might be a bit clueless. However, now, after getting an insight into how things work and how making a difference which can have lasting impacts on the world, you will be able to understand the cause better.
When we said that it is a social movement rather than just a process, we said it because climate change is not the only thing towards which regenerative practices work. They also work towards having healthier practices for humans, being able to make an environment where people do not have to fight for food, and this practice also focuses on paying the workers a fair amount for the work that they do. In addition to all this, it also tells you how no matter what creature it is, from humans to animals to plants, we need to take care of everything and be able to give rights where required.
We do agree that the process is still not as common as it should be around the world, but it doesn’t mean in any way that there is no progress in this regard. We have evidence as to how regenerative agriculture has helped people in having a drastic shift in their crops. Not only this, but we have reached a level where we now have a thing such as regenerative ingredients.
This is the point where you truly understand the point of having regenerative standards. By using regenerative ingredients in your daily life, you can contribute towards making a change in terms of climate change. Having food made from regenerative ingredients simply means that you are eating and undoing climate change at the same time.
The most interesting fact about this whole process is the fact that you don’t have to do anything extra to be a part of it. All you have to do is indulge yourself in some research and find out regenerative agricultural companies that sell ingredients that come directly from the farms that have already incorporated regenerative practices. If anything, you will be making your lifestyle better and healthier, while also getting to contribute your two cents towards undoing climate change. Moreover, it is not like since the food is healthier it will not be tasty. You can make all the snacks that a person might crave from these ingredients and still be able to make a change!
We live in a world where literally every day something new is happening. We have seen the unexpected and lived the realities that never even crossed our minds! And now that we have reached a stage where we can educate ourselves on such things that can change lives and have a larger impact on society, it is our role to support these things in whatever capacity that we can.
Whether it is by researching and getting to know more about processes like these, and learning how to do regenerative farming if that is what you can and would want to do, or if it is by spreading awareness and supporting things that reiterate the concept of regenerative standards in your daily life, we all need to do something at our end.
The reason why we have focused this much on the implementation is that it is high time we understand how we have been contributing to the increase of climate change throughout these decades and now that we have an opportunity to do something that can have a lasting impact, we should not let it go!