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Five Simple Principles of Regenerative Agriculture

With only sixteen inches of total precipitation per year, Brown was soon aware of the importance of his soil’s ability to effectively store water.

 Summing up and through countless tries and many failures but a few successes, he learned that there are five simple principles of Regenerative Agriculture:

Limit disturbance of the soil, be it mechanical, physical or chemical disturbance. If you take one spoon of healthy soil, there are more living organisms than there are people on the planet. Tillage destroys soil structure and causes erosion and synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides all have negative impacts on it.
Armor: Keep the soil covered at all times (cover crops or plant residues). A natural “coat of armor” will protect soil from wind and water erosion, provide food for the microorganisms as well as lower the temperature on the soil level.
Diversity in plant and animal species enhances ecosystem functions through numerous different characteristics above and below ground. Nature is more collaborative than competitive.
Keep living roots as long as possible in the ground. Living roots feed soil biology by providing carbon. This, in turn, fuels the nutrient cycle that feeds plants.
Integrate animals. Grazing of plants stimulates the plants to pump more carbon into the soil, which again drives nutrient cycling by feeding biology. By cycling more carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it into the ground, we can actively mitigate climate volatility. It goes without saying that pollinators, predator insects, earthworms and all of the microbiology are incremental to any system.
These principles work everywhere. If there is soil and if there is sunlight, it works.

Dirt to Soil offers readers five key lessons:

How detrimental the current production model with tillage, chemicals, and synthetic fertilizers is in disturbing nature’s system and impacting human health.
The need to move beyond “sustainability” with regard to soil. We have to start to improve our soils.
The importance of diversity in plant and animal species, specifically the benefits of cover crops and rotational grazing.
Making change is all about mindset.
The power of marketing to the end user: currently just 12.6 cents to the dollars goes to farmers, Brown says he captures much more than that by marketing directly to the consumer.


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