We know, we know, more labels and terms to understand! Let’s try and make this easier…
“Regenerative” is working WITH nature not against it, to keep it painfully simple!
According to wikipedia, regenerative agriculture is defined as:
Essentially, the way we manage our land allows it to get better over time.
How do we know Richards Grassfed is regenerative?
On top of our robust American Grassfed Association
(AGA) certification, Richards Grassfed Beef is proud to be the first beef company on the west coast verified by the Savory Institute
under their Ecological Outcome Verified (EOV) Program. In this program we are committed to implementing regenerative practices on our ranch and our cousin’s ranch, and we are verifying the outcomes of our management with EOV. Not only do we require this of our family ranches, but of the other ranches we buy cattle from. All sources Richards Grassfed buy from are either part of the EOV program or in the process being verified and share the same practices under AGA as well.
For our home ranch in Oregon House, Ca we had data on our land measuring bulk density of our soils, water infiltration, plant diversity, and wildlife habitat in many pastures in our property. Once we took part in the EOV program, we measured even more pastures and are managing that data so we can re-sample next year and see where we are improving, or not improving… If something is not thriving, this important because regenerative is working WITH the land, so if we see something responding badly on our properties, we will change practices in that area to improve it.
Why take samples on your land?
You can’t manage what you don’t measure! Taking samples and measuring is part of our holistic management plan in our operation. What holistic means to us is an understanding that everything is connected, and without healthy soil, you don’t have healthy grass, without healthy grass, you have bad cattle performance, bad cattle performance means a bad bottom line and in the end a bad product for the consumer! Taking care of the soil, not over grazing, knowing how long to rest your pastures, working with nature and knowing what your property can handle is a huge part of how we manage.
At our home ranch, after implementing holistic management we are seeing perennial plants return to pastures, the density of grasses is increasing and in our creek/riparian areas we are seeing the grass stay greener longer. Not to mention our cattle are healthier, and we are having to doctor less and less cattle every year. Also, we have decreased our hay consumption by 15 loads! That is 360 tons of feed, not to mention the carbon saved by not hauling it to the ranch, and the $60k bill that comes with it!
Why choose regenerative agriculture over conventional?
Some of the benefits I already mentioned above, but here is the most exciting part… the healthier your soil and plants are, the more carbon they will pull out of the atmosphere and sequester in the soil. Regenerative farming and ranching can actually increase the amount of carbon in the soil, which means – DECREASE the amount of carbon in the atmosphere! I know, this seems like a miracle, and well it is. We have only remeasured two pastures in our property, but we have seen a 10% increase in soil organic carbon!
We are not here to put blame on any aspect of the agricultural system, again we are all connected and need to work together. We are simply saying that we have seen an incredible response to our holistic management vs. our past conventional management. In general, a regenerative approach is going to make sure to work with nature, not against it, it is going to choose a more natural way of farming (no-till, no herbicide, no chemical fertilizer) which is going keep our creeks, rivers, oceans, soils, plants, animals and bodies thriving.
More information on carbon sequestration using livestock:
*Photo Credit: Mallory Cunningham