Jared Romero and Dr. Julia Oxford
“Regenerative agriculture” is a rehabilitative approach to farming and grazing practices that focus on rebuilding topsoil and restoring soil biodiversity. Instead of using destructive practices like tilling and expensive products like chemical fertilizers and pesticides that degrade soil quality, farmers take a holistic approach incorporating conservation tillage, cover crops, crop rotation, livestock grazing, and composting to revitalize their soil. In recent years, the importance of the soil has become increasingly apparent. Its health may hold the key to ensuring food security and halting global climate change. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates, if we continue with current agricultural practices, the world’s remaining arable topsoil will be destroyed in 60 years, and with it our ability to feed the population. The innumerable threats of climate change may also be avoided simply by protecting our soil. Healthy soil is teeming with microorganisms that are capable of safely sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere; more than can be held by the atmosphere and plants combined. Estimates propose that worldwide soil rehabilitation practices could restore atmospheric CO2 to safe levels in under 5 years. Regenerate Idaho is a proposed initiative that aims to engage every Idahoan in strengthening our soil and our community through four core tenants: public engagement, expanded composting, regenerative agriculture, and pasture grazing. Soil regeneration will span from backyards, with incentives provided for sustainable landscaping and reduced chemical usage, to Idaho’s expansive farmlands. Wide-reaching educational programs will communicate to farmer’s the immediate benefits of regenerative agriculture, including improved fertility, water retention, crop yields and resiliency. Grant funding and other assistance resources will aid farmers in making the transition. Idaho is already a national leader in the move to renewable energy and it is now imperative that we lead the nation, and the world, in sustainable agriculture. Only when we have healthy soil, can we have a healthy planet.
Wyer, Justyne and Romero, Jared, "Regenerate Idaho" (2020). VIP 2020. 8.