Long before humans populated the planet, plants, animals, and soil evolved and thrived through an elegant and efficient exchange of nutrient commerce that benefitted all three. Plants fed both the soil and the animals. The animals (through their waste) fed the soil, which in turn fed the plants. It wasn’t until the introduction of fossil fuel-based, synthetic fertilizers in the mid-twentieth century that all of that changed.
For a time, it appeared as though science was able to exceed the production capacity of nature. Indeed, synthetic fertilizers (and the mining of carbon-rich soils) produced a never before imagined bounty throughout the industrial agriculture era. But that bounty continues to come at a cost, including off-site environmental impacts like hypoxic (dead) zones in our oceans and cyanobacteria outbreaks in our lakes—the result of fertilizer runoff from our farms. In addition, the industrial agriculture model is heavily reliant upon chemicals that have known detrimental impacts on insect populations as well as the plants, animals, and humans that come in contact with them.
Regenerative agricultural practices, in contrast, put back in place the natural symbiotic relationships between plants, animals, and soil. In so doing, these practices ameliorate the adverse environmental and climate impacts of industrial agriculture as well as restore the nutrient density and flavor to our food.
“To put it simply,” says Allen Williams, Ph.D., 6th generation farmer and founding partner of Soil Health Consultants, if we correct our soil health problems, then we will correct our mineral density and flavor issues in our foods. The health of the soil holds the key to human health, our planet’s health, and the flavor of our food.”
To learn more please visit:
Soil Health Academy
About Dr. Allen WilliamsAllen Williams is a 6th generation family farmer and founding partner of Soil Health Consultants, LLC, Grass Fed Insights, LLC, and a partner in Joyce Farms, Inc. He has consulted with more than 4,200 farmers and ranchers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and South America on operations ranging from a few acres to over 1 million acres. Allen pioneered many of the early adaptive grazing protocols and forage finishing techniques and has spent the last fifteen years refining those. He is a "recovering academic," having served fifteen years on the faculty at Louisiana Tech University and Mississippi State University. He holds a BS and MS in Animal Science from Clemson University and a Ph.D. in Livestock Genetics from LSU. He has authored more than 400 scientific and popular press articles, and is an invited speaker at regional, national, and international conferences and symposia. His major areas of research and business focus include soil health, cover crop/livestock integration, adaptive forage and grazing management, high attribute pasture-based meat production, and alternative marketing systems.
Allen and his colleagues specialize in whole farm and ranch planning based on the concept of regenerative agriculture. Their approach creates significant "value add" and prepares the landowner for multiple enterprise/revenue stream opportunities that stack enterprises and acres. This approach allows for enhanced profitability and/or investment value. They routinely conduct workshops and seminars across North America.