A definition for Regenerative Agriculture
There are many arguments about what is and what is not Regenerative Agriculture.
In the wise words of Bruce Ward: Regenerative Agriculture is when you make a “True Profit”.
A True Profit: 2 Parts
A “true profit” for regenerative agriculture is where you improve the underlying ecology and make a financial profit.
This “dual profit” improves the ecological capital and the financial capital on hand.
Accounting and Ecology
Let us talk in plain language. This means if we are talking financial profit. We have to be talking about a cash surplus resulting from income being greater than expenses.
And if we’re talking about an ecological profit it has to be demonstrable. Self evident like increased fertility, reduced bare ground, greater water absorption, increased organic matter.
Ecological Loss and Financial Profit
Too many farmers take an old-school economics view that there is only one part to profit. That being an accounting profit.
This is wrong-headed as we live on a finite, biologically-constrained planet. *
This also does not stand up to on the ground scrutiny. Soil that is producing a financial profit, but is doing so through sacrificing ecological capital is going to run out of ecological capital to spend. A soil can deplete and go bankrupt. When it does – there isn’t any further financial profit. What you have is a desert.
Ecological Profit and Financial Loss
Conservation is great, but it’s not productive agriculture.
Conservation doesn’t also produce food and fibre. Feed the world. That sort of thing.
Food and fibre production is subject to normal business requirements and thus needs to be profitable.
Clearly unprofitable production cannot be considered sustainable let alone regenerative.
A True Profit must include a financial profit.
Definitively Regenerative Agriculture
Regenerative Agriculture is the business of making a True Profit.
If you’re a farmer and making progress towards a True Profit, great. But under this definition you aren’t in Regenerative Agriculture until and unless you’re making and ecological and financial profit.
Super True Profit
Regenerative Agriculture produces a True Profit and this profit could become a “Super Profit”.
Super Profits are possible when the ecological profit that regenerative agriculture produces become re-classified as Environmental Goods and Services (EG&S).
These are Environmental Goods and Services (EG&S) that can be sold by farmers and are over and above the financial profit made from the production of food and fibre.
These EG&S packages like reduced pollution, stored carbon, increased habitat and improved biodiversity outcomes etc and look remarkably similar to an ecological profit because they are the same.
Once created these Environmental Goods and Services can be sold in various markets by farmers to governments, corporations and or terminal markets (end users).
Whilst the EG&S market is a modest market right now with carbon being the most established and well known example, it could grow exponentially in value as the world seeks to “value” ecological capital and “incentivise” ecological stewardship.
Regenerative Farmers should be well positioned to benefit from a world that values their ecological profit.
To find out more about being paid for Environmental Goods and Services (below) or if you’re keen learn about the Protected Habitat Farmers Mutual assisting farmers getting paid click the button (below the video)
Protected Habitat Farmers Mutual
Unlocking the opportunity for every farmer to be paid for their ecological services