Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems

Regenerative Agriculture 101

Regenerative Agriculture (RA) practices are those that have the potential to move landscapes in the direction of increased functionality by adhering to one or more of the principles of soil health, along with enhancing the synergies of ecosystem processes. Often a single practice can address multiple principles and processes. Suites of practices can have increased effectiveness and be part of a management system to provide ecological, economic, and cultural benefits to a farm or ranch operation.

The benefits include:

  • contributing to generating/ building soils and soil fertility and health
  • increasing water percolation, water retention, and clean and safe water runoff
  • increasing biodiversity and ecosystem health and resiliency and 
  • inverting the carbon emissions of our current agriculture to one of remarkably significant carbon sequestration thereby cleansing the atmosphere of legacy levels of CO2.

The official definition of Regenerative Agriculture has been evolving as research more clearly informs best practices. Learn more . . .(opens in new window)

Principles of Soil Health

“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”—Harrington Emerson

  • Maintain soil cover throughout the year
  • Minimize soil disturbance
  • Maintain living roots throughout the year
  • Support diversity of vegetation community
  • Incorporate grazing animals

Regenerative Agriculture Practices That Improve Soil Health

Regenerative practices include cover cropping and biomass; crop rotation; soil inoculants, compost and manures; conservation tillage (no till, strip till, ridge till, mulch till, vertical/shallow till); managed grazing and livestock incorporation; rangeland seeding and biomass; hedgerows and pollinator habitat; riparian plantings, buffer and filter strips; silvopasture; alley cropping. All of these choices support soil health but specific ones are better for certain situations than others. Click the links below to learn more.

Additional Tools