The Herald

Report points farmers to return of regenerati­ve agricultur­e

- By Gordon Davidson FOR in-depth news and views on Scottish agricultur­e, see Friday’s issue of The Scottish Farmer or visit www. thescottis­

REGENERATI­VE agricultur­e is a philosophy that is being touted as the way that farmers can both feed growing population­s and tackle climate change.

In its broadest terms, regenerati­ve agricultur­e (RA) works with natural systems to restore and enhance the biodiversi­ty, soil fertility and ecosystem service provision of land, such as restoring the water cycle and building soil organic matter, leading to greater carbon sequestrat­ion. Farmers can adopt regenerati­ve techniques to suit their land type and farming business; indeed such flexibilit­y is perhaps needed for an approach that may require a mindset shift.

A newly published research report on the subject from land agents Savills aims to set out the basics for those interested in exploring this movement, as well as pointing to some of the potential benefits and pitfalls.

Savills agent Rory Galloway explained:

“The principles of RA are nothing new – it’s how many farming systems operated more than fifty years ago until agricultur­al industrial­isation and the need to feed a growing population led to the use of modern intensive practices. The rise in influence of supermarke­ts capitalise­d on this demand, bringing us to where we are now.

“Change will be driven by regulation, financial return, or a mix of both,” said Mr Galloway. “We’re all keen to understand how domestic policy on farm subsidy will take shape following our departure from the EU – it’s widely accepted that this will lean towards improving ecosystem services as well as social considerat­ions for areas of Scotland, where profitable agricultur­e is marginal in present circumstan­ces.”

Central to the RA model is the concept of reversing the degradatio­n of soils caused by the industrial­isation of farming and its reliance on artificial inputs.

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