Through practices which enrich soil, protect water and increase biodiversity, Regenerative Agriculture aims to mimic natural processes to combine food production with environmental stewardship.
This type of system not only improves the health and productivity of our farmland and wider ecosystems, but the benefits also include reduced costs through less cultivations and chemical control.
The 'Animals to Arable' initiative
Specialisation on farms has led to the disappearance of livestock from many holdings: large expanses of East Anglia and other arable areas are cropped every year and the main source of fertility is from artificially manufactured products. For a long time, this appeared to be a sensible solution to the increasing demand for more food, to feed an expanding population.
However, we are starting to see serious problems in soil quality, soil erosion and water & food quality as a result of adopting a wholly chemical-based system of farming. We are also beginning to lose the battle with nature: Problem pests, weeds and diseases are evolving more quickly than we can develop new synthetic controls.
Our industry needs to learn - or re-learn - how to farm in harmony with nature. Encouraging a return to the mixed farm, where livestock are used as tools to heal the land between crops, is seen as a vital part of this solution.
The IfA 'Regen Ag' team will:
focus on encouraging arable farmers to re-introduce grazing and other livestock back onto their holdings.
Consider the mental and physical barriers that currently prevent this from happening whilst developing solutions to overcome these barriers.
Provide and facilitate training and mentoring, whilst communicating best practices and pointers for success.
focus on ways to do this profitably, regenerating and healing the land, and helping to make the business economically sustainable and viable for the long term.