How can we prove regenerative farming is working?
Some of our farmers have been using regenerative methods for a long time. We can prove these regenerative practices have improved the environment right now, and prove they are working into the future by using ecological monitoring.
Our farms are using the Savory Institute’s Ecological Outcome Verification™ (EOV) monitoring protocol. Several of us went through the Savory Institute’s Accredited Professional training this last year which involved classes for 3x per week plus a lot of homework.
Phil Forbes, one of our Directors who is leading up the testing, has been using regenerative practices for over 20 years.
For this round of monitoring we partnered with a Savory Institute HUB Cabriejo Ranch out of Missouri to provide additional expertise, 3rd party monitoring, and training.
Short Term EOV Monitoring
Short term monitoring is done once per year and usually takes 1-1.5 hours, depending on how big the farm is. Short term monitoring takes place on 10 points on pastures that are identified with GPS so we can come back to the same spots every year.
At each of these 10 points we look for overall plant canopy or mass, amount of bug activity, good and bad plants, amount of litter and if it is breaking down, dung decomposition, bare soil, soil capping, and erosion.
We can tell a lot about whether the soil quality is improving just by visually observing these things every year. We call these “leading indicators.”
Long Term Monitoring
Long Term Monitoring is done every 5 years and usually takes 3-4 hours. This takes place on only one point on a pasture that is recorded using GPS coordinates. Long term monitoring involves us laying out a transect of 3 measurements of 100 feet.
On this transect, we record very specific data on water infiltration rates, soil and vegetation cover, types of plant species and spacing, and take soil samples for lab testing. Lab testing will give us data on soil health and soil carbon content.
We will be posting more about this process on our website, but the most information can be found on our Instagram and Facebook profiles so please follow us there.