Supermarket buyers ‘block regenerative farming’
Retail buyers choose producers on price not environmental benefit because they lack incentives, according to head of environment at Tesco, who spoke in a session on how big businesses can support regenerative farming. “They [buyers] are the choke point,” said Anna Turrell. “They control the conversation, but they don’t have the incentives.”
Rancher Greg Judy rocks Groundswell
Renowned American regenerative farmer, Greg Judy, attracted huge crowds at Groundswell, teaching farmers how to mob graze and make more money. “I’m a microbe farmer,” said Judy. “The money is in the soil. You need animals to make healthy pastures,” he added, in response to journalist George Monbiot’s argument that there is no place for livestock in sustainable food.
The wild west of carbon trading
Companies are offsetting emissions by paying farmers to store carbon in the soil using regenerative practices, but critics fear an unregulated free‐for‐all. “The money has come before the rules and regulations,” said journalist Tom Heap. Meanwhile, head of impact at carbon trading firm, Soil Capital, Andrew Voysey, said: “It’s real, we’ve just paid our first cohort of farmers over £1 million pounds. He added that carbon trading is a lever to attract farmers to regenerative farming, while Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson said he remains “unconvinced” by the measurement metrics.
Farmers, not farmers’ wives
Farming language must become more inclusive to recognise and promote the role of women in agriculture, according to speakers in a session on telling stories to inspire change. “Think about how many farmers are referred to as ‘he’,” said Food Programme presenter Sheila Dillon. “Farmer’s wives; they’re not just wives,” she said, explaining how women typically do significant, under-appreciated farm work. “It’s about who we recognise about farmers.”
Regenerative farming is a people business
Strong people relationships are a vital yet underestimated aspect of regenerative farming, say those who have already made the shift. “If you’re doing things differently, you need to bring people along with you,” said Suffolk organic farmer John Pawsey. “The most pleasurable thing is building relationships with people and suppliers who respect what you’re doing and pay you to the right amount to do so,” he added.