In our final blog entry for 2020, we listed agricultural trends for the coming year. First on our list was “Regenerative Agriculture.” Regenerative Agriculture (RA), is about farm practices that restore the natural state of the soil. As you know, industrial agriculture has the potential to deplete the soil of its natural richness, particularly through the practice of mono-cropping. To define it briefly, RA is about rebuilding the natural health of the soil through grazing and similar naturalistic farming practices.
Many working agriculture professionals are using methods that eventually deplete the soil because they have a fiduciary responsibility to produce at peak levels. But for those who like the idea of restoring the natural robustness of the soil in a way that is better for the environment as well as for the end-user – we have good news. Investors are looking into RA for its money-making potential, and they haven’t been disappointed. For the farmer, that means the very real possibility of using restorative farming practices without neglecting the people who depend on them.
According to Forbes, farms that use RA are 78% more profitable than those using only conventional farming practices. Agriculture investment writer Louisa Burwood-Taylor writes, “Regenerative agriculture is having a moment […] Readers aren’t only engaging with the subject matter, but the comments boards […] are worth wading through [...]” Not only are readers taking an interest, so are publishers. Burwood-Taylor comments that headlines on RA are also growing in number.
In January of 2020, the Forbes Council affirmed their certainty that RA is indeed profitable. They reported on the results of a study by researchers at the Ecdysis Foundation. Their work shows that while crop yields from RA projects were down 29%, regenerative practices were 78% more profitable when compared to plots using conventional methods. Their study showed that with RA practices, agricultural installations put fewer resources into their plots and produced higher quality products. These higher quality products are inherently more valuable. Therefore, the result was a bigger profit margin.
Based on this data, the picture that’s emerging of RA looks a lot like the small, organic farming installations you find along CA Highway 1. It begs the question of whether or not larger industrial farms can make profitable use of this model. The answer to this question is “yes,” through an incremental approach.
The understandable objection to ideas like RA is that it may be disruptive to agribusiness and that it will not produce enough product to meet demand. But the farms that are getting the most out of RA practices are large, well-funded installations that are implementing it as a small part of their larger operation. These farms have the resources to do RA on a small scale, to do it right, and to maintain their normal business practices at the same time. They are developing higher quality, nutrient-dense RA products as an addition to conventional production practices.
Crowdfunding might be the best way to get producers to turn to Regenerative Agriculture methods. Start your complimentary FarmFundr account today, for your chance to get in on the ground floor.