Restock Dates: Please see our Farm Blog where we post our weekly newsletter for the latest updates

Why Regenerative Ag Part 5 Solutions

written by

Ben Simmons

posted on

February 4, 2023

I hope you are enjoying our series on "Why Regenerative Agriculture" and it is making sense to you.

Last week's newsletter included a contrast between Regenerative Farming vs. Confined Animal Feed Operations (CAFO) and how CAFO's are inhumane, ecological disasters. It does not matter if you are talking about beef, pork, chicken, or eggs the story is very similar. Lastly, unlike the industrial model and the many Complicated Inputs needed to make it work and if any ONE fails then the model falls apart, the Regenerative Model does not depend on Complicated inputs and thus the longer you farm Regeneratively the soil gets better, and better, and better.

The current egg shortage is a good example of a Complicated System failure. You would not believe the number of contacts I receive daily from folks looking for eggs. For example, a man called Thursday wanting 11-12 cases. 

So, let me ask you this question. What would happen with food availability if the Industrial Model fails? Remember, about 95% of our population depends on the Industrial Model for their food.

Today, I want to talk about some solutions and will begin by saying the way most farm today is:

1) Highly subsidized with taxpayer funds

2) Wasteful

3) Nutritionally deficient

4) Environmentally damaging

For example, the American food supply is significantly influenced by federal agriculture policy and subsidies. Various payment and revenue supports have shaped what and the amount that American farmers grow. The most heavily subsidized and produced crops—corn, soy, and wheat—are key ingredients in highly processed foods and are consumed at an ever-growing rate above the USDA daily recommendations. The Agriculture Sector is subsidized about $20 Billion per year or $60.24 per man, woman and child in the U.S.A.

In 2019, the gross farm income totaled some $437.8 billion U.S. dollars. About 4.5% of that came in the form of taxpayer funded subsidies.

Obviously, I do not believe keeping the status quo is a viable solution! The Industrial Model's blatant disregard for the four ecosystem processes and subsidies that enable waste and production of crops that are key ingredients in highly processed foods responsible for many of our nations health issues. The Industrial Model is "Profit Driven". Never does the farmer or the corporation that buys his product - then converts into a product on your grocery shelf - EVER meet the consumer who would ultimately buy the product.

What would happen if subsidizes were removed or transferred to Regenerative Model farmers? Good Question. Note that those subsidizes also end up in other industries like chemicals, fertilizers, equipment, etc. 

How about Education as a solution? This option certainly has promise and fortunately there are folks Like Dr. Williams with Understanding Ag that are actively training seasoned as well as young farmers how to transition to Regenerative Farming. 

The #1 solution, however is you - the consumer. Where consumers spend their food dollar drives the market. The more consumers choose Regenerative vs. Industrial, local farmers vs. centralized corporations, natural vs. highly processed food, and etc. then the more the market will adapt.

Each month there are 3500 plus hits to our website (so far in January there have been 4,756 visits), but less than 200 orders. This tells me consumers are interested, but for some reason fail to make a purchase. Why???

Consumers cannot positively contribute to improving our ecosystems and their own health while continuing to spend their food dollars for Industrialized highly processed foods. That is a very BOLD statement and there will be some readers that will not like it and unsubscribe! 

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases regular statistics on the share of the retail food dollar that accrues to farmers. It recently released an update showing that in 2021 farmers received a record-low 14.5 cents for every dollar Americans spent on food. However, that is not the whole story. A group called AEI states, "In reality, this simply reflects that Americans continue to buy more highly processed, time-saving, consumer-friendly foods." Basically, that the farmer gets paid the same for a chicken regardless if the chicken is whole, cut up into pieces, or sold as fried chicken. 

I included this last statement because our food system is very centralized. And one of the roadblocks to Regenerative farming is centralization that puts a lot of risk onto the farmer which prevents new, younger people from being able to enter farming. Decentralization where the consumer and farmer meet and exchange product for funds would make it easier for young people to become Regenerative Farmers.

In closing this series I would like to take a few lines from the book "The Carnivore Code" by Paul Saladino, MD:

Discussions of the environmental impact of our food choices remind us of our inextricable connection with the land and the soil of the earth. Our ancestors knew this and acted accordingly, generally being careful not to over-hunt or destroy the ecosystems they depended upon for nourishment and livelihood. A favorite proverb reminds us of this - When the blood in your veins returns to the sea, and the earth in your bones returns to the ground, perhaps then you will remember that this land does not belong to you, but it is you who belong to this land.

Big takeaway from today - Where consumers spend their food dollars drives the market and is the #1 incentive to change how their food is grown. If you are currently a customer of a Regenerative Farmer thank you. 

Thank you for supporting our Regenerative efforts with your food dollars. You DO make a difference.

** Product Availability Update **

Chicken - Restocked Wednesday, December 28th. Next harvest date is February 14th with restock the following day

Eggs - Eggs are still tight. UPDATE- Wednesday I picked up 504 pullets (all that was available) that have just started laying. Wednesday, the lay rate was 72%. We started catching them off the roost about dark - I returned home about 1245am and within an hour they were unloaded. This means an immediate increase of 370 eggs per day and will only get better as Spring arrives.

 

Beef - Restocked January 24th. Next harvest is February 7th.

     

Pork - Restocked Dec 12th. Next harvest will be February 15th.

Lamb - Last harvest date was MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14th. Restocked Friday Nov 25th.


More from the blog

Soil Health Academy Reflections

What an honor it was for our farm to have been chosen to host a Soil Health Academy workshop May 21-23, 2024. You can learn more about SHA here. To access a link to SHA's documentary "Destination Regeneration" click here. The final count of attendees was 33. They came from CA, UT, NJ, TX, TN, AL, FL, LA, and MS. Classroom time included learning the actual definition of Regenerative Agriculture which is farming and ranching in synchrony with nature to repair, rebuild, revitalize and restore ecosystem function starting with all life in the soil and moving to all life above the soil.

Food Security @ NGF

When do you give consideration to your Food Security? Maybe at the threat of an impending natural disaster? Or another news headline about bird flu? What about the latest weather warning of a snow or ice storm where folks rush to the stores and buy up all the milk & bread? The fact is, as a nation we are way too dependent on our over-centralized food production system. In some ways it is great at producing quantity - until there is a problem, then it is NOT. Here are a few recent examples: - May 30th Millions of chickens killed in 5-alarm fire at Farina Farms in IL, One of Nation's largest free-range egg facilities - May 30th Iowa Governor signs disaster proclamation order killing 4.2 million chickens - May 30th H5N1 Bird Flu CDC current status 96,565,226 poultry affected - And, the list goes on And, this does not include the massive fires two years ago

Introducing Covenant Heritage Farm

This week I want to use this space to share the Moffetts' introduction of their "NEW" farm "Covenant Heritage Farm" in Perkins, MS. So, sit back and enjoy as McKenzie shares their story and this new journey.