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Regenerative Agriculture with Peter Byck

PUBLISHED 27 December 2023
Source: Jonathan Rickert | The Peace Offering

Peter Byck is the director, producer and writer of carbon nation and his newest release, Roots So Deep (you can see the devil down there).

Roots So Deep (you can see the devil down there) is a 4-part documentary series all about inventive farmers and maverick scientists building a path to solving climate change with hooves, heart and soil. The film is guided by director and wrangler of scientists, Peter Byck, as he meets farmers on both sides of the fence – the folks practicing an adaptive way to graze, and their neighbors set in their family’s generations-old method of doing things. Byck’s team of outcast scientists are measuring what’s happening on both sides of the fences – exploring if this adaptive grazing could help slow down climate change.

Peter is currently helping to lead a $10 million research project comparing Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) grazing with conventional grazing; collaborating with 20 scientists and 10 farm families, focused on soil health & soil carbon storage, microbial/bug/bird biodiversity, water cycling and much more.

Interview highlights:

  • Regen Ag is soil-centric farming that focuses on building soil health rather than maximizing crop yield
  • Chemical ag is primarily about farming convenience but has very high costs
  • Farmers are the third highest death of all occupations in the world because of suicide due to debt
  • There are many problems that Regen Ag solves including: Being cheaper to grow than chemical ag; it builds the topsoil through cover cropping; cover cropping shields against runoff, creates water reservoirs and mitigates drought and flooding; gets farmers out of debt; guarantees food security; perhaps most importantly, improves soil health.
  • Healthy soil has high carbon count, high aerobic bacteria and fungi, protozoa, microanthropods and nematodes as well as mineral distribution
  • Mycorrhizal fungi bore into rocks and extract minerals for plant nutrition
  • Legumes and other microbes pull nitrogen from the air (which is 78% nitrogen) and fix it for plant nutrition
  • The population and diversity of the microbes are the core of mineral cycling and soil health
  • The microbial community allows for a diversity of insects which then leads to higher population of birds and diversity
  • Grazing animals on land like this are healthier and more nutritious
  • Peter’s science team believes that if we don’t adopt large scale regenerative ag, we can’t feed the world going into the future

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