There is a lot said in the media about how bad agriculture is for the environment and that cattle product in particular produces vast amounts of greenhouse gases. This has led many to question red meat as a source of protein in their diets and the viability of red meat production in general. Australia's industry body - Meat Livestock Australia (MLA) - and the producers they represent, myself included, are committed to changing this perception and proving that meat production and the environment can work towards a beneficial outcome for the whole planet. Our first step in this process is acknowledging the problem and building a comprehensive plan to reverse the situation and regenerative agriculture will play an enormous role moving forward.
Regenerative agriculture is a system of farming and grazing practices that can reverse climate change by building healthy, biologically-diverse and mineral-rich soils, all the while sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Global soils contain 2 to 3 times more carbon than the atmosphere. It is estimated that at least 50% of the carbon in the earth’s soils has been released into the atmosphere over the past few centuries, partly due to destructive agricultural practices.
Moving forward, regenerative farming practices presents an amazing opportunity to restore both carbon balance and the climate. This is because agriculture is the one sector that has the ability to transform from emitting CO2, to sequestering CO2. Sequestering carbon is key to halting the warming of our planet. Even if emissions dropped to zero the planet would still continue to warm because of all the greenhouse gasses already in our atmosphere. Stopping emissions isn’t enough. We need to take carbon out of the atmosphere. Project Drawdown, has estimated that regenerative agricultural could remove an astonishing 23.15 gigatons of CO2 from our atmosphere by 2050! All the while making our soils healthier and our food more nutritious. It’s a win-win for people and the planet!