Why We Care

We have the opportunity to adopt a form of agriculture that produces not just food, but also a wide range of social, ecologic, climate, nutritional, and economic benefits. Regenerative agriculture improves soil health and sequesters carbon, improves water quality and holding capacity, supports biodiversity, increases the nutrient density and long-term resilience of our food supply, and improves the prosperity of rural communities.

Regenerative agriculture is one of the most promising solutions to many of the problems we face today.

Climate

What's At Steak

For hundreds of thousands of years a unique climate has supported flourishing human and natural life. Earth is the only planet known to humans that can support humans, but only if we keep the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to less than 350 parts per million. As the Dalai Lama tweeted in 2016, “This planet is our only home; we are all responsible for taking care of it.”

The Solution

Because “no other mechanism known to humankind is as effective in addressing global warming as capturing carbon dioxide from the air through photosynthesis,” the team of Drawdown ranked Regenerative Agriculture 11th of 100 solutions to draw down carbon from the atmosphere. According to their calculations, Regenerative Agriculture could result in a reduction of 23.15 gigatons of carbon dioxide, from both sequestration and reduced emissions, by 2050.

Water

What's At Steak

71% of Earth’s surface is covered by water, with 96.5% of all water held by the oceans. The presence and abundance of water distinguishes Earth from other planets, and we are utterly dependent on its quality and availability. We drink it daily and our agricultural production accounts for 70% of its withdrawals globally. Water and soil are inextricably linked. According to the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, every one percent of organic matter in the soil holds approximately 20,000 gallons of water per acre.

The Solution

When soils are healthy they can filter water and decrease runoff, improving water quality in rivers, streams, and groundwater reserves. By improving the soil’s water holding capacity, regenerative agriculture can make more water available during drought times and absorb more water, more quickly, during flood times. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that “building healthier soils could reduce runoff in flood years by nearly one-fifth, cut flood frequency by the same amount, and make as much as 16 percent more water available for crops to use during dry periods.”

Food Security

What's At Steak

The abundance of nutritious food available on this planet is remarkable and critical. At present, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, farmers and ranchers across the globe produce more than 2,700 calories per person per day. We continue to make improvements to our political and distribution systems to enable universal access to those food calories and to ensure that our lands our healthy enough to produce ample food well into the future.

The Solution

Regenerative agriculture, with its focus on soil health and increasing soil organic matter, coaxes a tremendous amount of edible food from every acre under production, and its effects are self-reinforcing. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has found that, “high organic matter increases productivity and, in turn, high productivity increases organic matter.” This strategy is not only more resilient from a food security perspective, but also comes with economic benefits for the producer.

Rural Economies

What's At Steak

Most of us depend on our rural neighbors who produce the vast majority of the world’s food as well as its agriculture-based fibers and fuels. This production is happening in the face of increasing social and land use pressures that are decreasing acreage available for working lands, forcing younger generations to leave for the cities, and decreasing the economic viability of rural areas.

The Solution

When our rural communities thrive and work in harmony with nature, we all benefit. Regenerative agriculture is about landowners being stewards of an agro-ecological system where nature, their farm, and economic prosperity are managed as a whole. What is good for the health of the soil is good for the economic prospects of the land manager. According to the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, “Healthy soil saves farmers money since…healthy soils use inputs like water and nutrients more efficiently [so] production costs are lower.”

Biodiversity

What's At Steak

Many have seen an agriculture at odds with the environment and, in response, have tried to assign economic value to biodiversity based on the benefits it provides to the systems upon which we depend. But this pits food and agricultural production against nature, when the great opportunity is to have them working in lockstep for the health of people and planet.

The Solution

Regenerative agriculture is about managing for the entire ecosystem, embracing biodiversity of land and soil. From there we see cascading benefits that redound to humans and natural allies, like pollinators and predators who provide countless benefits to humans through their interactions with both natural and working landscapes.

Health & Wellness

What's At Steak

At no other time in human history have humans lived such long, fulfilling, healthy lives. Even so, we can and must do more to ensure that every person has access to the mental and physical wellbeing that results from eating healthy food and having a connection to the land. We know from Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, that there are many benefits from connecting with nature, from boosting mental acuity and creativity to reducing obesity and depression.

The Solution

When our soil is healthy, we are healthy, and our natural systems are healthy. Regenerative agriculture improves soil health, which in turn increases the nutrient density and diversity of the food and forage grown in that soil, which then improves the health and diversity of the people and animals who eat the food and forage. Additionally, regenerative agriculture can protect our natural resources, making them available in the restorative ways we need.

Working Lands

What's At Steak

The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 37% of Earth’s land area is in agriculture, 70% of which is grasslands. This land contributes to the livelihoods of over 800 million people, produces the equivalent of more than 2,700 calories per person per day, and has the potential to create ecosystem benefit and climate mitigation. Unfortunately, we are losing working lands at an alarming rate. In the United States alone, American Farmland Trust estimates that 175 acres of farm and ranch land are lost every hour to sprawl and development.

The Solution

We know working lands can be managed harmoniously for nature and humans. Regenerative agriculture is both ecologically and economically beneficial, as evidenced by a recent report, Valuing the Ecosystem Service Benefits from Regenerative Agriculture Practices, from Farmland LP, Delta Institute, and Earth Economics. Keeping these lands working provides both ecological benefits for nature and economic benefits for the landowners in charge of their stewardship.

Animal Welfare

What's At Steak

Many people are concerned with where their food comes from and how it is grown or raised. Michael Pollan went so far as to recommend that every person develop their own personal food policy. Regardless of what food choices we each make, maintaining thoughtful societal norms around the treatment of the people, land, and animals that produce our food is critical.

The Solution

Regenerative agriculture emphasizes the importance of raising animals in pasture settings where they are free to eat an appropriate diet and express their natural instincts, while simultaneously contributing to the creation of healthy soils that grow high-quality, nutrient-dense forages on which animals prefer to graze. This positive feedback loop has led FoodPrint to conclude that, “raising cattle on pasture measures up to the highest levels of animal welfare practices.”

What We Need To Do

There are no silver bullet solutions for changing our practices on the ground, but we know that every change that involves humans can only begin when we are in relationship with each other and the natural world. We invite you to join TomKat Ranch and our amazing partner network in meaningful conversations that catalyze and accelerate the adoption of regenerative agriculture. As we have shared, regenerative agriculture is an inspiring, holistic solution to the myriad crises we face today.

News and Resources

  • Article
    June 27, 2019
    Soil Journeys - a Soil Trials Update
    Soil health journeys are like onions, they have a lot of lay...
    Read More
  • News
    June 27, 2019
    Where Are They Now - Anna Brown
    A question and answer session with our former intern, Anna B...
    Read More
  • Resource
    June 27, 2019
    What We’re Reading: “Regenerative Ranchi...
    There are a lot of resources out there for those interested ...
    Read More
  • Article
    June 20, 2019
    Profiles in Land and Management - Flying...
    This month we are excited to re-share our profile of Flying ...
    Read More
  • Article
    May 28, 2019
    Grassfed Alliance: Coming Together to Pr...
    For years, TomKat Ranch has proudly marketed our grassfed be...
    Read More
  • Article
    May 28, 2019
    Profiles in Land and Management - Grupo ...
    This month we are sharing our profile of the Grupo La Báscul...
    Read More
  • News
    May 28, 2019
    Kat Taylor co-hosted a Healthy School Fo...
    With school food at the forefront of our healthcare issues, ...
    Read More
  • Article
    May 23, 2019
    A Day in the Field with Nicole Masters -...
    Nicole Masters has been a visitor to our ranch this year. Sh...
    Read More
  • News
    April 24, 2019
    Where are they now - Evan Watson
    A question and answer session with our former intern, Evan W...
    Read More
  • News
    April 24, 2019
    What We're Reading - Women Ranchers in t...
    In January, the New York Times published a beautiful photo e...
    Read More
  • Article
    April 24, 2019
    Native Perennial Grasses Continue Expand...
    As part of our regenerative management program, Point Blue C...
    Read More
  • Article
    April 23, 2019
    Profiles in Land and Management - Lonetr...
    Over the last year, TomKat Ranch has traveled around the Ame...
    Read More
  • Article
    March 15, 2019
    What We're Reading - March 2019
    Regenerative Agriculture Initiative at California State Univ...
    Read More
  • News
    March 15, 2019
    EcoFarm 2019 - Recap
    Kathy Webster has been attending the EcoFarm conference for ...
    Read More
  • News
    March 13, 2019
    Equine-Assisted Learning Gathers for Act...
    In January, during one of our biggest storms of the season, ...
    Read More
  • Resource
    February 12, 2019
    What We’re Reading - January 2019
    Draft of California 2030 Natural and Working Lands Climate C...
    Read More
  • Resource
    February 12, 2019
    What We’re Reading
    Natural climate solutions for the United States - Joe Fargio...
    Read More
  • News
    February 12, 2019
    Soil Up Learning Lab at Paicines Ranch
    Recently, two of our staff joined 35 healthcare providers, s...
    Read More
  • Article
    February 12, 2019
    Sustainable Butchery Workshop
    Back in May, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Adam ...
    Read More
  • News
    February 12, 2019
    Cocina Familiar Update
    Living in an area of San Mateo County, rich in agriculture, ...
    Read More
  • Resource
    February 12, 2019
    What We're Reading - The Soil Will Save ...
    Kristin’s Ohlson’s The Soil Will Save Us offers hope in the ...
    Read More
  • Article
    February 12, 2019
    Carbon Farming Workshop for RCDs
    This month TomKat Ranch had the pleasure of hosting 18 of Ca...
    Read More
  • Resource
    February 11, 2019
    What We Are Reading - Kiss the Ground
    During my summer as a Regenerative Ranching Intern at TomKat...
    Read More
  • Resource
    August 6, 2018
    Accessing the Total Impact of TomKat Ran...
    This document explains the methodology applied to assess the...
    Read More
  • Resource
    August 4, 2018
    Growing Abundant Rangelands
    A TomKat Ranch-produced guide to growing abundant rangelands...
    Read More
  • Resource
    August 4, 2018
    California Rangeland Plant Guide
    This plant guide is a result of requests from many NRCS fiel...
    Read More
  • Study
    June 25, 2018
    Case Study - Flying Diamond Ranch
    The Johnson Family began practicing adaptive planned grazing...
    Read More
  • Resource
    June 15, 2018
    What We Are Reading - Politics of Scale
    Rangelands are unforested and uncultivated land on which gra...
    Read More
  • Study
    June 4, 2018
    Fungal Inoculant Project - Update
    I am sure you have been holding your breath waiting to learn...
    Read More
  • Article
    March 7, 2018
    Coyote Brush Control: Goats
    Over the years, we have tried many different ways of control...
    Read More
  • Study
    February 21, 2018
    Fungal Inoculant Project
    Growing up on a ranch in Paradise Valley, MT, I never though...
    Read More
  • Article
    January 17, 2018
    Grazing Plan for 2018
    Each year, the Land and Livestock Team sits down with collea...
    Read More
  • Article
    January 10, 2018
    Regenerative Talks: Photosynthesis and O...
    Through photosynthesis, it can be said that the whole world ...
    Read More