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Why Measurability is essential for Regenerative Agriculture

Why Measurability is essential for Regenerative Agriculture

Agriculture these days is debated more than ever before; groundwater, soil life and climate are at stake.

In agricultural policy, new restrictions on inputs or practices follow every year. This has already driven some farmers into ruin.

Why less is often more

Climate Farmers is a young organization that aims to make regenerative agriculture scalable. Scalable means possible for every farm and it should pay off, because: whoever farms regeneratively, can achieve more stable, higher quality and larger harvests with

  • less land
  • less use of chemicals  
  • less water consumption     
  • fewer greenhouse gas emissions     
  • less risk of soil degradation     
  • and less energy

compared to conventional methods. It is the careful balance between taking a breath and making demands, the knowledge of the optimum, but also about the possibilities of the soil, the combination of tradition and innovation that makes regenerative agriculture so successful.

Who pays for the change?

The math may be clear, but how do conventional farmers survive the transition period, the loss of subsidies through fallowing or conversion?

Climate Farmers has developed Carbon+ Credits for this purpose. Companies and Individuals can offset their carbon footprint with the help of these certificates and thereby finance regenerative practices on the farm.

In the long term, however, a paradigm shift in agricultural policy is needed – and to this end, Climate Farmers, together with soil scientists and specialists from the technology sector, has launched a discussion paper that identifies new opportunities.

 

Farming needs new subsidies                

They call for subsidies to be more tailored to the farms individually. A basic payment linked to regenerative farming practices and a bonus payment based on the measured success of restorative farming would be possible. In addition, factors beyond control, such as severe weather and natural disasters, should be excluded from the results. Furthermore, it should be possible to postpone the annual audit after an extreme weather event if it would otherwise result in a penalty. The choice of measurement indicators is also particularly important in order to guarantee a high chance of success and thus flexibility for farmers.

After all, the biggest advantage of a new subsidy policy will be the newfound freedom in practice. Many current incentives are at odds with each other or with a contextual approach. Rigid bans and requirements often lead to delayed reactions that cause crop losses or that hinders innovation.

Farm-it-Yourself                 

A good example of this is the problem with the implementation of agroforestry. Those who have too many trees in the field lose important financial resources, even though agroforestry has proven to be effective and practical in theory and practice. It is not by chance that the orchard with alternating livestock is the ideal form of implementation on every private farm. For industrial use, too, the combination of trees and shrubs, grassland and/or arable land, and livestock offers great advantages.

With more design freedom for their own farming operations, the experience and knowledge can be better applied. Feedback from ecosystem measurements can also be used to test and refine theory in practice.

 

Which parameters can be measured?           

Regenerative practices are those that support the ecosystem services of the soil.

A healthy soil:

  1. produces food, fodder, fibres and fuel       
  2. cleans and regulates the groundwater          
  3. Stores CO₂          
  4. provides habitat, above and below ground       
  5. provides nutrients 

Every farm is unique, with unique soils, flora, fauna and climate. Therefore, it is imperative to take these factors into account in order to develop the right parameters.

Carbon+ Credits go beyond mere climate compensation – they are about preserving or restoring ecosystems. In agricultural policy, such a holistic approach would open the door to co-development on an equal footing – and provide an opportunity to allocate subsidies fairly, transparently and comprehensively.

Leave the treadmill

This transparency also has a positive effect on consumers and consumption; higher margins through understanding, increased sales through trust. The feeling of being able to reduce one's own footprint through the farmer's positive handprint ... this comes in handy in times of collective powerlessness.

Context-dependent, comprehensible parameters are also ideal for implementing and further developing complex research relating to world nutrition or green industry. This knowledge, in turn, can find a place in policy-making and professional development, such as the Climate Farmers Academy, which brings together knowledge about regenerative agriculture in panel discussions, practical workshops and personal support programs.

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HUMINTECH GmbH

Humintech is a biotech company based in Grevenbroich, Germany. We are primarily focused on the research, development and industrial production of humic matter and humic acids for the agricultural sector.  Our products find further use in the feed, pharmaceutical and construction industry, in veterinary medicine and for ecological purposes such as water purification and soil decontamination.

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Humintech GmbH

Am Pösenberg 9-13
41517 Grevenbroich / Deutschland 

Phone: +49 2181 70 676 - 0
Fax: +49 2181 70 676 - 22
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