Regenerative farming is a popular buzz word, but what does it mean?

by | Aug 9, 2022 | News

Organic Dairy Hub’s research told them that consumers were seeing the word ‘regenerative’ in a lot of marketing but did not fully understand what it meant or what is involved farm-side in food production. They decided to do something to help matters.

Regenerative farming is a popular buzz word, but what does it mean? To help with this, the Waikato based organic co-operative, Organic Dairy Hub is defining its unique farming process for its farmers.

Agroecological farming, alternative agriculture, biodynamic agriculture, carbon farming, nature-inclusive farming, conservation agriculture, green agriculture – these are just some of the words that have been used in recent years to refer to a regenerative approach to making food. Regenerative farming is a term coined internationally by organic farming researchers in the 1980s and it is the most commonly used term, to the point that it is now a common buzz word in sustainably-inclined farming, producer and consumer circles. But a lot of people are still not sure what it means.

Regenerative agriculture takes a conservation and rehabilitation approach to farming and food production. It is a holistic system of principles and practices that prioritises animal welfare and better soil health. It aims to address the climate crisis with practices that sequester more carbon in the soil, improve biodiversity and help make farmland more fertile and resistant to erosion. Its exact definition has in the past few years been the subject of close academic study.

After conducting extensive market research, Organic Dairy Hub realised that consumers were seeing the word ‘regenerative’ in a lot of marketing but did not fully understand what it means and what is involved farm-side in the food production system. In response the Waikato-based organic co-operative, ODH, is introducing its new Honour Standard – outlining and defining its unique farming processes and ethos for its farmers.

ODH says it was important that the Honour Standard show consumers transparency and confidence in the dairy products it produces. “Our farmers work incredibly hard to uniquely nurture their farms, ensuring they are climate resilient and managed in an organic-certified, sustainable, and regenerative manner. Our farmers have a lens over the whole ecological approach, from the soil up, which is just how nature intended,” explains Hayley Denney, ODH Business Development Manager.

Photosynthesis is an important function to regenerative farming. Through a diverse range of pastures, trees, native plantings and organic certified farming practices, carbon dioxide is sequestered, thus reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere that can contribute to climate change – this is part of ODHs climate change mitigation.

The organic co-op has extensive riparian plantings and farm management practices to enhance water quality and biodiversity in waterways on their farms. ODH farmers are future-proofing their farms by growing deep mineral nutrient dense soils to ensure soil microorganisms are well looked after – these play an intricate role in the function of healthy land, healthy cows, and healthy food.

“ODH is independently organic audited, and the Honour Standard compliments our NOP/USDA certification as it gives our customers assurance that we’re independently verified. This shows that our product is of the highest organic quality and is traceable back to the farms that do the best for their land, animals, and people. Being transparent is important to our farmers, it’s what we’re all about” says Denney.

The Honour Standard includes a declaration that It is our honour to be a family made up of organic farmer shareholders, highly skilled and passionate staff and a team of Directors that ensure our focus is on continuous improvement – for the betterment of our cows, our land and our people. Image: ODH

About Organic Dairy Hub (ODH)

The demand for organic dairy products has grown immensely over the past few years, with ODH expanding from selling raw milk domestically to a fully-fledged agribusiness exporting internationally through its B2B brand A3™, as well as launching its consumer products brand, Ours Truly. Ours Truly Full Cream A3™ Milk was a finalist in the 2021 New Zealand Artisan Awards, which celebrates product innovation by artisanal New Zealand Food and Beverage producers.

ODH uses independent verifiers to certify their farming processes, land, and animals. All ODH products have organic international accreditations attached to them, so customers can trust they are buying from a registered and 100% farmer owned New Zealand organic dairy co-operative that supplies unique nutrient-dense dairy across the globe.

Images: Organic Dairy Hub

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