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    Researchers seek farmers' views on regenerative agriculture

    Posted 9 July

    A man's hands form a heart shape around soil

    Farmers from across the UK are being asked for their thoughts on regenerative agriculture – and what exactly the term means to them.

    Researchers at Harper Adams University and the University of Leeds have launched a short survey for anyone who is over 18 and involved in farming.

    The survey aims to find out more about its participants’ perceptions and use of regenerative agriculture practices.

    Dr Samuel Eze, a soil scientist and Senior Lecturer at Harper Adams, is one of the researchers involved.

    He explained more about where regenerative agriculture began – and why the research team are asking for people’s views on the practice.

    He said: “In the early 1980s, the US-based Rodale Institute popularised the term ‘regenerative agriculture’ as a biologically based production system that does not involve the use of chemicals.

    “Over the years, many principles and practices of regenerative agriculture have been advocated - including the minimal disturbance of soils, maintaining soil cover, fostering plant diversity, integrating livestock in arable systems, relying on organic methods, understanding farm context, and so on.

    “Whether one, a combination of some, or all the proposed practices constitute regenerative agriculture is debated. Similarly, whether the definition of regenerative agriculture should be outcome-based or practice-based is another area of debate.

    “We define regenerative agriculture broadly - as means of producing food that have positive environmental and/or social impacts.

    “However, we know it is a term which means different things to different people, and we are interested in how farmers define it.”

    As more farmers seek to meet challenges such as greenhouse gas emissions and soil degradation, many are turning to practices which could be seen as regenerative agriculture.

    However, Dr Eze added: “We also lack a UK-wide understanding of the scope of current adoption and the potential for adoption of these practices – and thus their potential to contribute to net zero.

    “As regenerative agriculture does not yet have a widely accepted definition in common use, different practitioners use definitions and practices that suit them.

    “This presents many challenges including difficulty in scaling practices, monitoring performance, verifying benefit claims, and making targeted policy interventions.”

    As farmers fill in the survey, the team are hoping they will discover what practices farmers consider regenerative agriculture, which of these practices have been implemented, and the perceived impacts they have had.

    Results from the survey will be also used to create maps of regenerative agriculture practice in the UK – and to highlight knowledge gaps and where changes in practice and targeted policy interventions might be needed.

    The survey should take around 15 minutes to complete and is open to all who are over 18 and are involved with farming –whether or not they are using what they see as regenerative agriculture. 

    Participants will remain anonymous – and can choose to be included in a draw for one of five £50 Amazon vouchers. 

    The survey can be found at

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