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Regenerative agriculture, soil regeneration techniques, regenerative farming techniques, and sustainability

It is not good to generalize a problem if it is related to a particular incident or person. But in agricultural practices, it can be generalized that we have a global problem to face in the upcoming future regarding natural resources. 

In agriculture, our current practices(in most countries) are not sustainable. We have to face and will continue to face problems like least soil fertility, soil erosion, disturbed natural eco-system, most dependency on animal meat, least natural resources for future generations, etc. 

Regenerative agriculture is a solution to such problems. We will discuss here the actual problems and their solutions with the explanation of regenerative agriculture.

Regenerative farming and soil regeneration 

Let's discuss what is regenerative agricultural practices, techniques, and their importance for sustainability. 

What is regenerative farming?

It is a bit complex to explain regenerative farming in a line or a definition. Practically, regenerative farming includes many techniques to execute the purpose. The purpose is the sustainability of soil, agriculture, eco-system, natural resources, etc. 

Regenerative agriculture and soil regeneration

To make things sustainable for multi-purposes that are connected with agriculture or farming, we use regenerative agriculture. 

In regeneration farming, we work on soil revival from least fertility, drought, decreasing soil erosion, making the eco-system sustainable, and try to resolve most of the problems regarding agriculture and resources due to lack of awareness and overuse of resources. 

Soil regeneration

Soil regeneration is not as simple as it looks. People think just adding organic fertilizers is enough to keep the soil fertile. They are partially right. 

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In the soil regeneration process, we provide more space and ideal conditions for microorganisms to survive. We do arrangements to keep the soil moist naturally. We also uniquely plant trees to stop or reduce soil erosion. 

For regenerative agriculture, we use the following techniques for soil regeneration and regenerative farming- 

Regenerative farming techniques 

No-tillage farming

One of the basic mistakes we do in agriculture is the open-air tillage of agricultural land. During tillage, we till the inner layer of soil where all the microorganisms live which helps the soil to be fertile. This mistake reduces the percentage of important microorganisms in the soil thus soil becomes less fertile. 

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Then we use chemical fertilizers to increase soil fertility. These chemicals kill the natural capability of the soil of being fertile thus soil becomes less sustainable. We are doing the same thing for a long time. 

Now we need a sustainable method to overcome the problem. No-tillage farming is the best and most sustainable solution to the mentioned problem. In no-tillage farming, we don't till the land in the open air. Instead, we practice agriculture with the least disturbance to soil conditions. We disturb only the area to sow seeds. 

We use multiple mixed cropping patterns on the same soil according to the season of crops. We use the mulching method to maintain the soil moisture. By applying the no-tillage farming method, the soil is getting natural fertility back and will get in the future. 

It also reduces the chances of soil erosion. Hence, no-tillage farming is highly sustainable. 

Agroforestry

Agroforestry is a method of practicing agriculture, farming, and forests together. We use crop agriculture with complementary tree farming. Hence, we fulfill crop needs and maintain balance in the ecosystem.

The trees expand their roots deep in the soil strength and reduce the least of chances of soil erosion. Also, we have natural mulching here when trees leave their dry leaves in autumn. For a time, these leaves work as mulching, and then they mix with soil and increase the fertility of the soil.   

This is one of the most impactful sustainable agriculture and forest method in the current period. Those people who are regular with agroforestry, are successful to fulfill the daily food need, forest maintenance, preventing soil erosion, and bringing the soil fertility back. 

Although it is a work of huge manpower to maintain the agroforestry it is better than struggling with non-sustainable artificial methods.

Sustainable grazing

It sounds awkward when we use the grazing word for sustainable agriculture.  Generally, we think that animals destroy agriculture but practically, there are many faces of animal grazing. We use natural techniques for regenerative agriculture which include soil fertility, conservation, and sustainability. 

Let's understand step by step. Suppose we have agricultural land. We have spontaneous grass or any unwanted plants there that are eatable for animals. We divide it into multiple parts. We restrict the animals to walk in a particular division. 

When they consume the whole from there then we again transfer them to another division. We repeat the same process in each section. Now things to understand why we did that. 

Animals eat food and they leave their dung there. Digested dung works as organic fertilizer when mixed with the soil. Animal walking mix the dung with the soil. When we shift them, meanwhile the grass grows naturally till the animals return there after a time. This process is very useful to make the soil fertile with the help of nature.

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is a method that functions with the available natural resources. We don't add anything from our side but we function of working of nature. 

We use agroforestry, rainwater harvesting, and no-tillage methods together for making a highly sustainable agricultural system. 

Difference between organic farming and regenerative farming 

Following are some points that show the difference between organic farming and regenerative farming-

  • Purpose- Organic farming is used only to increase the fertility and microorganisms in the soil. Regenerative farming is used for multiple reasons like for sustainability of resources, preventing soil erosion, keeping the ecosystem maintain, etc.
  • Range of impact- Organic farming is limited to just the land it is used for. It doesn't impact much on the chain of eco-system. Regenerative agriculture directly impacts the natural ecosystem. It resolves many problems related to agriculture, conservation, etc. 
  • Sustainability Organic farming is less effective than regenerative agriculture for sustainability dependency. 
  • Cost- Regenerative agriculture cost much higher than organic farming. It takes more time than organic farming to make an impact. 
  • Manpower- Where organic farming can do by fewer men, regenerative agriculture requires huge manpower to implement the method. 

Is regenerative farming sustainable?

Regenerative farming is another name for sustainable farming in current agriculture. We adopt regenerative farming for sustainability. 

Rapid and continuous use of natural resources is affecting the global ecosystem badly. With the increasing rate of population growth is creating multiple problems like a land shortage, more food production on limited land, and water shortage. The impact of this is afforestation, use of bad chemical fertilizers for high production, soil erosion(because of fewer trees), etc. 

Some fewer people handle the control of natural resources but a high number of people use them. With this speed, we will use them in the upcoming 100 years. 

For the future population, there will not be enough resources left to survive. Hence they have to struggle with their primary needs. 

Hence, for the conservation and sustainability of natural resources and agriculture, we need regenerative agriculture and farming techniques. 

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