Thursday, October 17, 2019

Regenerative Agriculture and Horses

Everyone is talking about climate change. Again.

According to 1 USA Congresswoman, we only have 12 years to live!  Why is it that there is a small percentage of the human population that periodically shouts that the sky is falling. The sky is falling? I might be able to live without planes but cows or horses? Not!

I do agree though that we as humans do need to be good stewards of our mother earth Gaia and take care of her by removing pollution among other things. That's the beauty of horse people: we know how important it is to look after our land for our horses (and other animal friends).

Now climate change and regenerative agriculture are being lumped in together. Though I strongly believe in regenerative agriculture, I'm not so sure it's a cause for global warming or climate change. Some scientists say that all the planets in our solar system are warming naturally due to the sun's solar flashes. Some scientists contradict that. It's hard to tell what's what any more!

Wikipedia: "Regenerative Agriculture is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems.  It focuses on topsoil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing echo system services, supporting biosequestration (I.e. the capture and storage of green house gas carbon by biological processes), increasing resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil.  Practices include, recycling as much farm waste as possible, and adding composted material from sources outside the farm."

Let's look at the above definition and see where horse people are doing their part. Not limited to...

Topsail regeneration: horse manure is redistributed on pasture and farm land to regenerate the land. 
Improving the water cycle: Horse, like cattle farms are fencing off their water lands. I do not let my horses have access to the water ponds here. 
Increased biodiversity: Horse farms in Ontario often combine other animals and different crops. Unlike other parts of Canada, horse people often are on small areas of land where we have to be smart and be diverse.
Increasing the resilience to climate change: Horse people have traditionally given back to the land or our pasture fields will not produce nutritionally hay or feed crops to provide for our horses. Those who focus on monocropping might consider being more biodiverse.

Ontario Grain Farmer (  states: "Regenerative Agriculture is not a production method like conventional or organic production but rather a style of management that uses site specific practises to improve the quality and profitability of agricultural land."

So as horse people, who may also be farmers or rural inhabitants, we could do our part to help with improving soil management. One area in particular would be over grazing.

Horse Land Management Practises:

1. Rotate pasture fields.
2. Spread horse manure on land for soil regeneration.
3. Composting old hay and grain to be fed back into pasture or hay lands.
4. Wetlands conservation.
5. Pasture fields are extremely important to horse people so planting buffer trees help with soil conservation. It provides a habitat for birds and other animals.
6. Give particular attention to high traffic areas so they don't become barren of grass.

Def'n: "Regenerative Agriculture is defined as a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services.. By capturing carbon in soil and aboveground biomass, regenerative agriculture aims to reverse current trends of atmospheric accumulation.  At the same time, if offers increased yields, resilience to climate instability, and higher health and vitality for farming communities." Source: Terra Genesis International. (Credit: Escarpment Magazine, Fall 2019 pg. 24. Cara Williams)

Horse Land Stewards Are Similair to Cattle Farmers

 1. Keeping horses out of streams similarily to cow farmers.
 2. Keeping ponds clean and free of pesticides. 
 3. Use non-round up type pesticides for weed management.

There are many things that horse people can do to help the environment and climate change. I like to refer to it as proper stewardship.

Putting my spin on climate change and land stewardship.
@KISS Reiners

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