Regenerative agriculture has become a movement among ranchers who seek to manage their land in an environmentally, animal, and human-friendly way and consumers who are concerned about their own health and the health of the planet. REP Provisions is spearheading this movement by creating an online marketplace where consumers can conveniently purchase regeneratively raised meats from American farms and ranches. This approach not only helps small American farmers overcome economic challenges that the conventional market presents but also makes purchasing high-quality and trustworthy meat more accessible for health conscious consumers.
What are the benefits of Regenerative Agriculture?
At its core, regenerative agriculture is "the process of restoring degraded soils using practices based on ecological principles." It requires managing a farm or a ranch by considering the interactions among the soil, water, plants, animals, and humans as interconnected pieces of a whole system.
The benefits of regenerative ranching are immense. Increased soil organic matter and biodiversity lead to healthier and more productive soil that is drought- and flood-resilient. Decreased use of chemical inputs (REP Provisions uses no chemical outputs on the land) and subsequent pollution leads to cleaner air and water, enhanced wildlife habitat, and carbon captured in the soil to combat climate variability. By practicing regenerative agriculture, producers aren't just sustaining the current land resource so that it can continue to be used in the future. They are improving what is there, leaving it better for the next generation.
How is Regenerative Agriculture different from Organic?
Organic is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act. Although buying organic food can assure you that the land on which it was grown was managed without the use of most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, the label itself cannot tell you whether the health of the land is improving. Organic alone is a prescriptive standard for the production of food. It does not endeavor to rebuild or regenerate the soil.
Regenerative agriculture is about principles, not practices. It focuses on outcomes – actual improvements to soil health and the overall quality and health of the land (the soil, water, plants, animals, and humans). It is an adaptive management approach supported by soil health principles. There is no recipe or prescription because each farm or ranch differs based on unique natural resources, climate variability, and animal and ecological dynamics. Producers apply those principles for their region, operation, and personal situation.
Is the Future Regenerative or Organic?
While marketing programs like organic may work for some producers, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It's important to preserve choices for both producers and consumers. At the same time, it's crucial to consider the future health of the land. REP Provision’s hope is that regenerative agriculture will become a mindset that all farmers and ranchers will pursue because it focuses on improving the health of the land - which we have verified through testing - improves the nutritional quality of the meat. The healthiest land will always produce the healthiest food and we are working with farms and ranches to ensure the products we offer live up to that standard. We often use the phrase Happy Prairies Feed Healthy People and that is something we strongly believe.