What to Know: Regenerative Agriculture and Our Summer Lots

We finally have moved our cattle out on summer pasture! They are excited about the fresh grass and access to roam.  However, a lot of people come over and are confused at why our large lot is bisected into 4 smaller lots.  The answer to that is regenerative agriculture.  It's the new buzz word, but we are really proud of the work we are doing with ensuring the future of our place is protecting the future environment.  So let's chat about what the heck regenerative agriculture is!

Small Pastures

The idea of putting many cows on a smaller pastures is because cows, like any human, can be picky.  There are certain grasses and weeds they love, and some they dislike, and some they won't eat at all.  To have a healthy grass pasture there needs to be more diversity in the types of plants.  It keeps the bees, roots, bugs, and carbon count happy.  On the larger pastures the cattle can be picky and eat what they want.  Putting them in smaller pastures for quicker time creates competition with the others.  They are more likely to eat and then poop out the seeds of the diverse grasses.  This keeps the pasture healthy. 

Moving Animals

The cattle move frequently from small pasture to small pasture so they always have fresh, long grass. There are many videos of this new/old way of ranching.  There are some YouTube videos about it such as "From the Ground Up", "Carbon Cowboys", "Changing Paradigms", or docuseries such as "Sacred Dirt",  "Kiss the Ground", or "The Biggest Little Farm" on different video players.  The next part of regenerative agriculture is moving other animals onto the pasture to help increase the diversity of the soil.  In our case we are actually moving the chicken tractor to follow behind the cattle herd.  They help scratch the manure and spread it around the field.  This way the bugs can break it down even better and the grass seeds also are spread around.  

Good for the Environment

So why are farmers even working this hard for regenerative agriculture? What does it even do? The amount of methane produced by cattle is actually reduced by the carbon produced in biodiverse pastures.  The soil is healthier because commercial fertilizers are not necessary.  Instead manure is used to help reseed and fertilize the soil.  The roots of the grasses now go deeper, which helps with water retention, cycling, and storing, so the water table is healthier.  This is similar to "no-till" gardening or farming,  if you've heard of that. Overall, regenerative agriculture can help restore the ecology of the farm, helps fight climate change, uses more natural farming practices, has no commercial fertilizers, reduces methane, and surprisingly, it can help restore our relationship with farming and the earth.