Organic farming should be seen as the clear benchmark for regenerative agriculture, a new policy paper from OF&G (Organic Farmers & Growers) argues.
Having gained traction in recent years, the term ‘regenerative agriculture’ has been championed by numerous industry stakeholders and influencers as a ‘catch all’ phrase for carbon sequestration and more environmentally benign approaches.
OF&G says that while there are some excellent regenerative initiatives, a lack of clarity around the term however could potentially lead to its misuse and create confusion.
Analysis of 279 published articles on regenerative agriculture, carried out by researchers at Wageningen University, showed that different principles and practices were being used to guide their interpretation. Meanwhile, a survey of OF&G’s own members showed that 85% have concerns about the lack of definition around regenerative farming.
OF&G’s new policy paper – Organic: the benchmark for advanced regenerative farming – aims to establish the position of organic within the context of regenerative agriculture, and demonstrate that organic delivers comprehensive regenerative outcomes.
:”Organic producers already undertake regenerative practises, day in, day out, as they implement clear and legally binding organic production standards”
“For over seventy years organic production has focused on strengthening the health of soils,” says Roger Kerr, chief executive of OF&G. “Organic producers already undertake regenerative practises, day in, day out, as they implement clear and legally binding organic production standards. Organic prohibits the use of artificial fertilisers and synthetic biocides that are known to impact climate change and biodiversity loss.”
OF&G points out that war in Ukraine has highlighted the UK’s dependence on imported fossil fuelled agricultural inputs like fertiliser, and why it is critical to encourage farming systems that avoid their use like organic.
“OF&G believe there is little appetite or need to add to the regulatory burden with additional substantiation of so-called regenerative methods within existing organic standards. In the UK, organic farming is at the vanguard of regenerative farming, with clearly defined practices, outputs, impact and intent and deserves acknowledgment as such,” concludes Mr Kerr.
Organic management has a proven positive impact on soil-based greenhouse gas emissions and soil health. On average the climate protection performance of organic results in 1082 kg CO2 equivalent per hectare per year, due to lower GHG emissions and increased carbon sequestration in soils.
The OF&G policy paper can be read in full here: https://ofgorganic.org/docs/organic-the-benchmark-for-advanced-regenerative-farming.pdf.
Main image: OF&G has developed this farming systems graphic to highlight how organic delivers the best of advanced regenerative agriculture in terms of the scale and extent of change delivered.