Regenerative agriculture is a practice that has been gaining traction in recent years due to a variety of concerning factors in the agricultural industry. Take for example soil erosion, which has been exacerbated by the ongoing droughts plaguing many parts of the country.
At its core, regenerative agriculture is a focus on repairing soils that have been damaged over decades of repetitive tilling and the overapplication of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Many ecological and agricultural professionals have begun to advocate for the use of regenerative agriculture in the hopes of working with nature in our pursuit of food security, rather than against it.
One such professional that espouses the benefits of regenerative agriculture is Dr. Grant Woods of GrowingDeer TV. In his recent appearance on the National Land Podcast, Dr. Woods spoke to the restorative potential that these regenerative agriculture practices have for landowners looking to improve hunting on their land, as well as today’s farmers.
Here’s what Dr. Woods had to say about repairing soil compositions:
“Fungi should be about 70% of your soil since they can break things down. Certain fungi can reach lengths of up to 50 miles long, and plant roots are stationary, right? So if nutrients drop a couple of inches away from the roots, then they’re just out of luck. But the fungi network can take those nutrients and deliver them to the roots in exchange for carbon.
So fungi are very important. The ideal soil would be about 70% fungus and 30% microbes. We’ve worked really hard to build these kinds of soils here, and you can farm intentionally for that, and that’s called regenerative agriculture. It’s kind of sweeping America fortunately, it’s about time. And those farmers that practice this are so much more profitable because they don’t need to pay for all these inputs.”
“So theoretically, some of the things you practice could be used in farming as well.”
“These practices do get used a lot in farming. I’m actually speaking at a soil health conference in Kansas coming up. There are some great people out there doing regenerative Ag, and not only are they more profitable, but they’re also recycling water, giving us fresher air, reducing erosion, and improving plant cover.
To put this to scale for those that may not understand, if you buy the fanciest corn, and all the latest herbicides and pesticides, it’s gonna cost you about $5 a bushel. And that’s just your input cost to raise corn. The bottom line is, without government subsidies, you’ll go broke.
Virginia bag farmers pay about $1.20-$1.30 a bushel of corn because they aren’t putting all those inputs in. The traditional farmers using all those chemicals, they wake up each morning thinking ‘What do I need to kill today? Which pest do I need to kill today?’ And the Virginia bag farmers goes, ‘Wow look at all this life out here.’ Plenty of people will drive past a field and see a bunch of spider webs and say ‘Yuck!’ Virginia bag farmers are saying, ‘Those are predators and they’re eating the pest species. They’re not eating the crops, I want to see as many spiders as possible!’ But when you spray everything, not only are we losing out on food for game species like turkey or quail poults, but also non-game songbird species too.
Once you can get out of the herbicide game, it’s a good feeling for you and the planet.”
To listen to Grant Woods’ full appearance on the National Land Podcast, click here!