Author: J.S. McDougall
Regenerative agriculture is the dawn of planetary engineering. And that’s great news for the future of the planet. Here’s how I know.
We have five hay fields on our farm. They are the kind of rolling, green, and gorgeous fields that are typical across Vermont’s pastoral green mountains. All five of the fields have been incredibly productive over the past forty years using our area’s conventional methods for hay farming–frequent tilling, a corn rotation, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Our hay was regarded as some of the best in the area. And we produced a lot of it.
Then, in 2012, we stopped tilling. We stopped spraying chemicals. We stopped rotating in corn. And, as a result, fields that once produced three cuttings of broad-leafed, green, tall grasses struggled to produce two cuttings of thin, dry, yellowed grass. Our hay production collapsed.
Despite that, we stuck to our idealistic guns: no tilling, no chemicals, no corn. And, now, three years later, the grass growth is still dismal in all of our fields…except one.
This one field–our eastern-most field–is not struggling to produce grasses. In fact, this particular field is now producing far more than it ever did under conventional management. This field, this year–when all grass production across the northeast is at alarming lows–is producing a fourth-growth of broad-leafed, green-as-can-be, lush, tall grasses. The improvement in this one field has one farmer (me) doing backflips of joy.
I attribute this field’s booming growth to changes in our management and changes in our thinking.