Most of us go through life content rarely challenging the status quo. Questioning authority tends to make many people uncomfortable, which is why social policy changes at a minuscule rate.
But within the crowd, there are always a few brave individuals that step up and take a stand against standard policy, long before others feel comfortable enough to join the movement. Which is why I believe that, thanks to the early adapters of Holistic Management®, people are beginning to understand the benefits of regenerative agriculture, along with the detrimental effects of large-scale, industrial agriculture.
But, industrial farming supporters argue, what is the alternative? The world’s population continues to grow, straining available food sources, as farmers and ranchers face the challenge of feeding the inhabitants of this planet.
All true. But the problem with industrial agriculture is that while it may temporarily provide food in large quantities, the damage that it continues to do to the environment will only worsen over time.
Take soil, for instance. Industrial agriculture processes such as intensive plowing and monocrop systems cause extensive nutrient depletion in the soil, while pesticides and fertilizers, used liberally in industrial agriculture, continue to contaminate both soil and water resources. In fact, it’s been estimated that only half of applied fertilizer is actually absorbed by the plant itself, with the rest polluting both air and water resources. And the cost is not cheap. In 2015, U.S. farmers and ranchers spent $25.5 billion dollars on fertilizers and pesticides; a 7 percent increase from 2014.
Another major issue is the increase in soil erosion. Although soil erosion is a naturally occurring process, the use of industrial farming techniques have increased the speed at which agricultural soils are eroded. And since soil formation is an extremely slow process, the loss of fertile topsoil can make millions of acres of land unsuitable for agriculture. In addition to this loss of valuable farmland, soil erosion contributes to polluted waterways and clogged drainage systems.
As a result, many farmers and ranchers, no matter the size of their operation, are looking for something better. Something sustainable. Something regenerative.
Like Holistic Management. Only a few years ago, many farmers and ranchers looked at Holistic Management with suspicion, doubting that the system would work on their farm or ranch. But as thousands of farmers and ranchers have found out, using Holistic Management on their farm or ranch has improved their soil health and increased their profits while decreasing the cost of their annual inputs. Other benefits include a healthier community, a better habitat to support area wildlife, and the ability to better handle adversarial events such market changes, prolonged droughts, or damaging floods.
Sometimes, you just have to stick your head out, put your reputation on the line, and stand up for what you believe in. We thank those early adapters of Holistic Management for doing just that; and making the world a better place in the process. For those of you interested in learning more about Holistic Management, see our training opportunities below.