Brown's Ranch in North Dakota is a prime example of regenerated land. Gabe Brown bought his farm in 1991 and started farming the usual way, tilling the land and using chemi- cal fertilizers and pesticides, and it didn’t go well. Several years of hailstorms and droughts left him on the brink of ruin, until he started learning about alternative methods.
“I was a farmer, but I didn’t know about the soil,” he recalls. For example, he says, “Tilling the land is releasing carbon into the air instead of feeding the plants,” so he stopped tilling. Planting many varieties of cover crops and rotating animals on grazing land are among the other regenerative techniques that gradually made his land much more fertile and able to withstand extreme weather changes and produce more nutritious food.
One of the ways soil scientists evaluate soil health is by measuring how much rainfall it can absorb in an hour— better absorption prevents fl oods, stores water for times of drought, prevents erosion, and helps keep local streams clean. Brown’s farm went from ½ inch to 8 inches per hour. One day, 13 inches of can’tc absorb water. Brown’sBrow farm has become very he has become a leading advocate of regenerative farming, helping other farmers to rescue their land. “We have to become regenerative to fix the human health crisis,” he says. And, he encourages everyone to buy food produced this way and help drive the growth of this type of farming. “We underestimate the importance of our buying decisions,” he says.