There’s been a lot of talk–not to mention denial–lately about the amazing benefits and contributions that regenerative agriculture has contributed to the world in terms of human health, the environment, and animal welfare. Requests for undeniable evidence has been requested over and over again.
To tell you all the truth, we’ve certainly got an ever-growing body of evidence that regenerative agriculture, regenerative grazing, and Holistic Management to share with you all. Please check out the links we’ve provided below. We also strongly encourage you to not just read the links, but also share them–and this blog post–far and wide to your friends and family.
Our list is as follows:
Annotated Peer-Reviewed Scientific Journal Articles
Texas A&M study finds 1.2 tons of carbon per acre per year (1.2 tC/ac/yr) drawdown via properly-managed grazing, and that the drawdown potential of North American pasturelands is 800 million tons (megatonnes) of carbon per year (800 MtC/yr).
- Teague, W. R., Apfelbaum, S., Lal, R., Kreuter, U. P., Rowntree, J., Davies, C. A., R. Conser, M. Rasmussen, J. Hatfield, T. Wang, F. Wang, Byck, P. (2016). The role of ruminants in reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint in North America. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 71(2), 156-164. doi:10.2489/jswc.71.2.156 http://www.jswconline.org/content/71/2/156.full.pdf+html
University of Georgia study finds 3 tons of carbon per acre per year (3 tC/ac/yr) drawdown following a conversion from row cropping to regenerative grazing.
- Machmuller, M., Kramer, M., Cyle, T. K., Hill, N., Hancock, D., & Thompson, A. (2015) Emerging land use practices rapidly increase soil organic matter. Nature Communications. 6, 6995. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms7995
Michigan State University study finds 1.5 tons of carbon per acre per year (1.5 tC/ac/yr) drawdown via well-managed grazing, more than enough to offset all GHG emissions associated with the beef finishing phase.
- Stanley, P. L., Rowntree, J. E., Beede, D. K., DeLonge, M. S., & Hamm, M. W. (2018). Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems. Agricultural Systems. 162:249-258. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2018.02.003
The following study found that there were significant improvements in water infiltration levels, better fine litter cover, plant composition, a decrease in invasive plants, and better carbon stocks with improved grazing management.
- Hillenbrand M., Thompson, R., Wang, F., Apfelbaum, S., & Teague, R. (2019) Impacts of holistic planned grazing with bison compared to continuous grazing with cattle in South Dakota shortgrass prairie. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. 279:156-168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2019.02.005
A 2013 paper by University of Oregon Department of Geological Sciences professor, Gregory J. Retallack, shows that the co-evolution of ruminants and grassland soil (mollisols) was essential for geologic cooling of the last 20 million years – which lead to the conditions suitable for human evolution – and can be an instrumental part of the necessary cooling in the future to mitigate and reverse global warming.
- Retallack, G. (2013). Global Cooling by Grassland Soils of the Geological Past and Near Future. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. 41:69-86 https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-earth-050212-124001
The FAO expresses the importance of livestock in helping to tackle climate change.
- Gerber, P.J., Steinfeld, H., Henderson, B., Mottet, A., Opio, C., Dijkman, J., Falcucci, A. & Tempio, G. 2013. Tackling climate change through livestock – A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome. http://www.fao.org/3/i3437e/i3437e.pdf
Third party sustainability science firm validates Southwest Georgia farm (White Oak Pastures) is storing more carbon in its soil than pasture-raised cows emit during their lifetimes:
- Study: White Oak Pastures Beef Reduces Atmospheric Carbon from White Oak Pastures blog
- From PR Newswire: White Oak Pastures Beef Reduces Atmospheric Carbon
The following paper suggests that the global potential carbon drawdown may be quite larger than previously estimated, where restorative grazing had not been factored. It is suggested that 25 to 60 ton of carbon per hectare (t C/ha) may be sequestered on semi-arid grasslands and savannahs, representing a transition from highly degraded to fully restored landscapes. The global potential is estimated to be in the range of 88 to 210 giga-tons (Gt), with a CO2 equivalence of approximately 41 to 99 ppm, enough to significantly mitigate global warming. The introduction and first-part conclusions are provided herein. The full paper including citations is available at the bottom of this page and at the link below.
- Upside (Drawdown) – The Potential of Restorative Grazing to Mitigate Global Warming by Increasing Carbon Capture on Grasslands https://www.planet-tech.com/upsidedrawdown
Website Blogs and Media Articles
Sheldon Frith created an extensive and excellent compilation for Holistic Management:
- Evidence Supporting Holistic Management from RegenerateLand.com
The Savory Institute has a comprehensive library with tons of reading material and videos:
- The Science Library
Soils For Life has some wonderful case studies to share talking about how livestock have helped heal the land:
“Soil organic matter, once under 2%, was 5.2 to 5.6%. There were now 43 forage species, not four, some of them natives. Plant Brix readings averaged 15 to 22%, up from 2%. Water infiltration was at 10-plus inches per hour, not ½ inch like before. And stocking rate increased nearly threefold, effectively tripling carrying capacity of the ground.
“Adaptive grazing also gave soils more ability to sequester carbon. Sampling every 6 inches into the soil down to 3 feet, Williams says adaptive-grazing areas held 51.41 tons of carbon per acre compared to 28.71 in a continuous rotational-grazing system used for comparison.”
- Hooves Not Harrows: Pasture Regeneration. An article on Dr. Allen William’s adaptive multi-paddock grazing practices.
“‘Most academics deny that regenerative grazing and cropping management works at all, and yet there’s a whole network of people around the world that we’re connected with who have increased a minimum of two-to-three-fold in production of their land and profitability compared to when they started,’ he explains.”
Inspired by Charles Massy’s best-selling book “Call of the Reed Warbler”, filmmaker Amy Browne set out across the dry farming country of South East NSW to meet Massy and the other trailblazing farmers bringing new life to their land.
A few notable videos featuring Allan Savory and Holistic Management:
- Running out of Time | Documentary on Holistic Management
- How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change | Allan Savory – TED Talks
- Allan Savory: Hope for Reversing Desertification and Climate Change – What You Can Do – Soil4Climate
Other videos we highly recommend to check out:
- How regenerative farming can help heal the planet and human health | Charles Massy – TEDx Canberra
- A Regenerative Secret – Joyce Farms
- Soil Carbon Cowboys – CarbonNation Film
- Treating the Farm as an Ecosystem with Gabe Brown Part 1: The Tenets of Soil Health – Living Web Farms
“My grazing records show an increase in carrying capacity of 64% using Holistic Planned Grazing in just two years. [They also] show a ten-fold higher carrying capacity in well-tended soils vs. abused, same soil type. I produce commercial 100% grassfed milk. Seventy-five head in New York.”
– Phyllis Van Amburgh, 2017, Dharma Lea Farm, Sharon Springs, NY
We welcome any additional links, videos, articles, and scientific journals that we can add to this list, as it is by no means exhaustive. If you have any more suggestions to add, please leave a comment below.