Podcast: Take it to the next level with regenerative farming

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Agriculture is considered to be one of the main contributors to climate change. However, with the rise of regenerative agriculture, some of the effects of destructive farming practices may be mitigated.

This week Andrew Ardington, the founder of the South African Regenerative Agriculture Association, is our expert guest on the Farmer’s Inside Track Weekend podcast. He says the term “sustainable industrial agriculture” is a contradiction. Also, he explains that industrial agriculture requires too many external inputs to be considered sustainable.

Andrew Ardington is the founder of the Regenerative Agriculture Association of South Africa. Photo: Supplied / Food for Mzansi

“By definition, industrial agricultural practices are not sustainable without significant inputs of fossil fuels, and with fertilizers and chemicals carrying massive externalities, the externalities being the costs borne by the environment rather than by the environment. farmer and consumer…. Like with a bank account that you keep withdrawing money from and not putting money into, you will go bankrupt.

For agriculture to be sustainable, says Ardington, it must rely less on non-renewable resources. He cites this as the reason for switching to regenerative agriculture. It defines regenerative agriculture as a broad field which takes into consideration all aspects of agriculture and farm life.

5 simple principles

“[Regenerative agriculture] boils down to just five principles. These five principles deal with soil health, which is at the heart of all regenerative practice.

Ardington explains that by taking care of the soil, destruction of the environment is much less likely. “The benefits of regenerative agriculture are many. The main thing is probably that it is really durable. You can grow a crop and regenerate your soil at the same time rather than depleting it. This means that you can continue to cultivate your land for generations to come. “

Some of the other benefits highlighted by Ardington are how regenerative agriculture ends up being more profitable and how it improves the working environment for farmers.

“Ultimately, your farm will be more profitable with lower annual input costs. You can escape debt and move on to a more resilient financial situation. In a study in the Midwestern United States, regenerative farms in the region produced 20% less than factory farms, but they were 78% more profitable. It’s hard to say how long it takes to get to this situation because every farm and every situation is different and has its own context.

For Ardington, practicing regenerative agriculture is ultimately about nurturing life instead of causing destruction.

“I used to wake up in the morning and ask myself ‘what was I going to kill today?’ Grass, mushroom, whatever, I was going to kill something. Now I wake up and ask myself, “How can I improve the life on my farm today?” “”

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