COLUMBUS, Ohio — Regenerative agriculture aims to better the environment and there are a number of ways farmers attempt to practice that philosophy.
Spectrum News 1 agriculture expert Andy Vance said the most valuable asset farmers have is the land itself.
"Doing practices that maybe add soil carbon back into the land, rebuild some of the topsoil, take better care of the waterways and that natural resource; those are all good things for the farmer both philosophically, but also in terms of profitability," Vance said.
Vance also said there is no universally accepted definition for regenerative agriculture.
"A lot of times you'll hear that term tossed around almost like a buzzword. In a way, it's an evolution from what we used to call conservation farming where maybe we're just changing tilling practices from old-type plowing to more no-till or limited tillage, so we're disturbing the soil less," he said. "Maybe it's adding cover crops, so you're getting more organic matter back into the soil and protecting the soil from erosion. These are things farmers have done for a long time."
According to the USDA, "soil tillage" is physically turning the soil in order to control weeds and pests. The department also said the process can increase the likelihood of soil erosion and nutrient runoff.
Vance said the cost of implementing regenerative practices varies.
"Some practices, very inexpensive to implement and just require minor changes, but others, like if you're changing tillage systems for example," he said. "If you were someone who used to do a lot of cultivation and now you want to go to no-till, maybe that requires new equipment or different equipment."
The USDA and other agencies may offer incentives to farmers who used regenerative-type practices.