What is regenerative agriculture? Why is it different from sustainable agriculture? And how do I reconcile what practitioners of this system are claiming with the scientific evidence? These were all going through my mind when, a couple weeks ago at [a meeting where] we watched a YouTube video of Gabe Brown’s TED talk…. Brown farms near Bismarck, ND, and has become the American face of regenerative agriculture in the past decade. Here is what I learned.
Brown states … “We’ve done this without the use of any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or fungicides.”
We are to believe that biodiversity-powered microbes free up large amounts of phosphorus, fix large amounts of nitrogen from the air, while plants produce 31 tons of biomass in a short North Dakota season, while also producing harvested crops and livestock?
I cannot say that this scenario is impossible, but I find it highly improbable, because if this is true, then it means that science has missed an astounding, extraordinary process.
[E]xtraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. What counts as evidence are peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals – I have looked for the evidence to support the claims of regenerative agriculture. What I have found are lots of YouTube videos, testimonials, articles and interviews. None of these sources is extraordinary evidence.
Editor’s note: Andrew McGuire is an agronomist at Washington State University
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