“Just havin’ lunch,” Bo replied while chomping on a mouthful of lush grass sprouting from the rich, black soil beneath. No dusty clouds here as he edged closer to the fence. “Want to try some?” Bo asked as he dropped a mouthful of the green goodies over the fence.
“Yum! Here, try some of mine,” Chuck offered as he dropped over a mouthful of dry, brittle stems. Bo sniffed the forage and turned for another mouthful from his own pasture.
“Okay, I give up,” Chuck grumbled. “How come your lunch is way more tasty than mine? And why is your pasture still green and lush while ours is drying up and turning brown? And how come when it rains, water runs off our pasture while yours seems to soak it in no matter how hard it rains? Now, what really irks me is how come I don’t see the vet’s truck drivin’ around your pasture so she can jab you guys with antibiotics and such?
Bo belched and smiled as he explained that Farmer Doowright practices regenerative grazing to build soil health through thoughtful livestock management and wise use of perennial and annual forages. It’s great for livestock, but it also supports human and ecosystem health, farm profitability, and community and food system resilience. Nitrogen runoff is reduced while water quality, the microbial soil ecology, and habitat biodiversity are all improved.
But that’s not all! Antibiotic resistance is a huge problem for humans. Currently, 80% of antibiotics go into animal production. Regenerative grazing practices greatly reduce the need for antibiotics. Second, agriculture is one of the few carbon-emitting industries that can reduce its own emissions. Proper grazing practices can sequester (soak up) the excess carbon in the atmosphere that is adding to the climate crisis. At the same time it lowers a farm’s own carbon emissions. So as the title of Kristin Ohlson’s book title suggests “The Soil Will Save Us”, or at least it can play a major role.
“Three cheers for the farmers on your side of the fence!” declared Chuck. “They’re making a better home for us all right here where we’re all forever… Earthbound.”