A growing number of farmers, academics, entrepreneurs, agricultural and agrifood businesses, related government agencies and consumers are investigating the potential of regenerative agricultural practices to improve farming processes and outcomes, lower climate impact, and achieve healthier ecosystems, animals, people and produce.
Venture Taranaki is working in conjunction with the region’s rural and scientific sector leaders and innovators to explore the potential of these farming principles and practices, with the intention to provide future opportunities for our region.
What is Regenerative Agriculture?
Regenerative Agriculture may enhance the health of farmland, farmers, consumers and ecosystems, building resilience and profitability. It can be applied to all levels and types of food and fibre production, including the home garden, commercial orchards and cropping, and large pastoral operations.
Emphasis is placed on diversity and soil health as a foundation for regenerative impacts on animal, human and environmental health and for economic prosperity and social wellbeing. It can be applied in varying local contexts (from conventional to organic) to increase ecological function and biodiversity, to improve water quality, nutrient cycling and water infiltration.
Why is exploring Regenerative Agriculture important?
Regenerative Agriculture offers a potential practical approach based in scientific understanding and observation, which offers relatively simple and accessible changes farmers can introduce, usually within existing farm budgets.
Regenerative Agriculture goes beyond a ‘do no harm’ ethos to look to actively improve the quality and health of the soil, waterways, hydrological cycles, pastures, crops, animals, and produce of a farm. This could offer direct benefits through increasing productivity, efficiency, overall farm health, resilience, and profitability, reducing the need for chemical and synthetic inputs, and fostering greater biodiversity.
Intended outcomes of regenerative farming practices are to generate more health and efficiency throughout the whole farm system and to reduce our climate impact, erosion, nutrient loss, and waterway impacts while improving nutrition for people, plants and animals.
It offers potential benefits for our farmers, consumers and taiao (environment), thus for our communities, our regional and national economies and our global reputation.
For a window into where the national conversation regarding the potential for Regenerative Agriculture in Aotearoa/New Zealand is at, check out the short reports published by our Land and Water National Science Challenge (Oct-Nov 2021). These reports are complementary to the white paper released in February 2021.
What is the region doing?
There is a growing awareness and understanding of the potential opportunities and benefits of regenerative agriculture.
Venture Taranaki is working alongside regional leaders in the rural, food and scientific sectors to investigate and support the potential of Regenerative Agriculture to benefit the regional economy, its rural enterprises, communities and residents.
The region focuses on being a significant producer of high quality, valued added food and fibre. Efficient, sustainable and effective use of our resources will be critical to realising that vision, particularly as land usage, water availability, emissions, processing and food packaging become increasingly challenged by climate change, consumer and public expectations, population density, COVID-19 and the like.
Venture Taranaki is working with ReGenerative Solutions and a growing number of interested parties in the region to communicate and explore the potential merits of a regenerative agricultural approach.
Regenerative Agriculture has been represented throughout the Taranaki 2050 planning process and has seen a number of information sessions held in the region.
Work is now underway to continue the exploration of the potential benefits and applications for Regenerative Agriculture in the Taranaki region. We are proud of the leadership in riparian planting the Taranaki Regional Council and Taranaki farmers have taken, and see Regenerative Agriculture as a further opportunity for extending Taranaki’s environmental leadership, while growing our region’s resilience and reflecting good environmental stewardship into value chains associated with our primary sector.
The Regenerative Agriculture conversation is just beginning in earnest in Taranaki, and will continue to gain momentum. If you’re interested in being part of this discussion, trialing or transitioning to Regenerative Agriculture or learning more, contact Fiona Young at [email protected].