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Regenerative agriculture: Merging farming and natural resource conservation profitably


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Most cropland in the United States is characterized by large monocultures, whose productivity is maintained through a strong reliance on costly tillage, external fertilizers, and pesticides (Schipanski et al., 2016). Despite this, farmers have developed a regenerative model of farm production that promotes soil health and biodiversity, while producing nutrient-dense farm products profitably. Little work has focused on the relative costs and benefits of novel regenerative farming operations, which necessitates studying in situ , farmer-defined best management practices. Here, we evaluate the relative effects of regenerative and conventional corn production systems on pest management services, soil conservation, and farmer profitability and productivity throughout the Northern Plains of the United States. Regenerative farming systems provided greater ecosystem services and profitability for farmers than an input-intensive model of corn production. Pests were 10-fold more abundant in insecticide-treated corn fields than on insecticide-free regenerative farms, indicating that farmers who proactively design pest-resilient food systems outperform farmers that react to pests chemically. Regenerative fields had 29% lower grain production but 78% higher profits over traditional corn production systems. Profit was positively correlated with the particulate organic matter of the soil, not yield. These results provide the basis for dialogue on ecologically based farming systems that could be used to simultaneously produce food while conserving our natural resource base: two factors that are pitted against one another in simplified food production systems. To attain this requires a systems-level shift on the farm; simply applying individual regenerative practices within the current production model will not likely produce the documented results.
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Submitted 12 December 2017
Accepted 9 February 2018
Published 26 February 2018
Corresponding author
Jonathan G. Lundgren,
Academic editor
Sheila Colla
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Declarations can be found on
page 8
DOI 10.7717/peerj.4428
2018 LaCanne and Lundgren
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Regenerative agriculture: merging
farming and natural resource conservation
Claire E. LaCanne1and Jonathan G. Lundgren2
1Natural Resource Management Department, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, USA
2Ecdysis Foundation, Estelline, SD, USA
Most cropland in the United States is characterized by large monocultures, whose
productivity is maintained through a strong reliance on costly tillage, external fertilizers,
and pesticides (Schipanski et al., 2016). Despite this, farmers have developed a regen-
erative model of farm production that promotes soil health and biodiversity, while
producing nutrient-dense farm products profitably. Little work has focused on the
relative costs and benefits of novel regenerative farming operations, which necessitates
studying in situ, farmer-defined best management practices. Here, we evaluate the
relative effects of regenerative and conventional corn production systems on pest
management services, soil conservation, and farmer profitability and productivity
throughout the Northern Plains of the United States. Regenerative farming systems
provided greater ecosystem services and profitability for farmers than an input-
intensive model of corn production. Pests were 10-fold more abundant in insecticide-
treated corn fields than on insecticide-free regenerative farms, indicating that farmers
who proactively design pest-resilient food systems outperform farmers that react to
pests chemically. Regenerative fields had 29% lower grain production but 78% higher
profits over traditional corn production systems. Profit was positively correlated with
the particulate organic matter of the soil, not yield. These results provide the basis for
dialogue on ecologically based farming systems that could be used to simultaneously
produce food while conserving our natural resource base: two factors that are pitted
against one another in simplified food production systems. To attain this requires a
systems-level shift on the farm; simply applying individual regenerative practices within
the current production model will not likely produce the documented results.
Subjects Agricultural Science, Biodiversity, Ecology, Entomology, Soil Science
Keywords Agroecology, Biodiversity, Conservation agriculture, Corn, Pest management, Yield,
Profit, Soil organic matter
Development of synthetic fertilizers, hybrid crops, genetically modified crops, and policies
that decouple farmer decisions from market demands all helped create a modern food
production system which reduces the diversity of foods that are produced (Fausti &
Lundgren, 2015;Pretty, 1995). This simplification of our food system contributes to
climate change (Carlsson-Kanyama & Gonzalez, 2009), rising pollution (Beman et al., 2011;
Morrissey et al., 2015), biodiversity loss (Butler, Vickery & Norris, 2007;Landis et al., 2008),
How to cite this article LaCanne and Lundgren (2018), Regenerative agriculture: merging farming and natural resource conservation
profitably. PeerJ 6:e4428; DOI 10.7717/peerj.4428
and damaging land use changes (Johnston, 2014;Wright & Wimberly, 2013) that affect
the sustainability, profitability and resilience of farms (Schipanski et al., 2016). Farmers
experience the highest suicide rate of any profession in the United States, a rate nearly
five-fold higher than the general public (McIntosh et al., 2016); the driving depression
rates are related to conventional production practices (Beard et al., 2014). The scale of our
food production system provides opportunities for solving some of these planetary scale
problems (Lal, 2004;Teague et al., 2016), but requires a systems-level shift in the values
and goals of our food production system that de-prioritizes solely generating high yields
toward one that produces higher quality food while conserving our natural resource base.
The goal of regenerative farming systems (Rodale, 1983) is to increase soil quality and
biodiversity in farmland while producing nourishing farm products profitably. Unifying
principles consistent across regenerative farming systems include (1) abandoning tillage
(or actively rebuilding soil communities following a tillage event), (2) eliminating spatio-
temporal events of bare soil, (3) fostering plant diversity on the farm, and (4) integrating
livestock and cropping operations on the land. Further characterization of a regenerative
system is problematic because of the myriad combinations of farming practices that
comprise a system targeting the regenerative goal. Other comparisons of conventional
agriculture with alternative agriculture schemes do not compare in situ best management
practices developed by farmers, and frequently ignore a key driver to decision making on
farming operations: the examined systems’ relative net profit to the farmer (De Ponti, Rijk
& Van Ittersum, 2012).
Corn (Zea mays L.) was selected for our study due to its pre-eminence as a food crop in
North America and globally. Corn is planted on 39.9% of all crop acres (NASS, 2017), or
4.8% (37.1 million ha) of the terrestrial land surface of the contiguous 48 states. In 2012,
it generated 30.3% ($64,319 billion) of all gross crop value in the US (NASS, 2017). Nearly
100% of cornfields are treated annually with insecticides (NASS, 2017). We used a matrix
of specific production practices (Table 1) to define each farm into one of two systems
(regenerative or conventional). The most regenerative systems (n=40 fields on 10 farms)
used mixed multispecies cover crops (ranging from 2–40 plant species), were never-till,
used no insecticides, and grazed livestock on their cropland. The most conventional farms
practiced tillage at least annually (36 fields on eight farms), applied insecticides (as GM
insect-resistant varieties and neonicotinoid seed treatments), and left their soil bare aside
from the cash crop.
Soil organic matter, insect pest populations, and corn yield and profit were assessed
for each field. Soil cores (8.5 cm deep, 5 cm in diameter; 30 g of soil each; n=4 samples
per field that were made a composite sample; only one field was sampled per farm-
selected by the producer- and two farms were omitted due to adverse weather during the
sampling event) were collected at least 10 m from one another during anthesis. Samples
were cleaned of plant residue, ground, and dried to constant weight at 105 C. Particulate
soil organic matter (POM) was determined by screening each sample (soaked in 5 g L1
LaCanne and Lundgren (2018), PeerJ, DOI 10.7717/peerj.4428 2/12
Table 1 Trait matrix used to assign farms to regenerative or conventional corn production systems. The composite rank scores are based on
the number of regenerative practices used on a particular farm. Farms whose rank scores are in the top 50% of farms are considered regenerative
(shaded rows); those with rank scores in the lower half are conventional (white rows). To aid interpretation, additional traits of each system could
be included in enhanced trait matrices. Organic operations are indicated by an asterisk in the ‘‘Reference town’’ column.
Reference town Farm locations
(latitude, longitude)
Cover crop
(yes: 1; no: 0)
(no: 1; yes: 0)
(no: 1; yes: 0)
(yes: 1; no: 0)
corn field
(yes: 1; no: 0)
rank score
Bladen, NE 40.31971, 98.57358 yes no yes no no 3
Bladen, NE 40.33703, 98.56301 no yes yes yes no 0
York, NE 40.63054, 97.66534 yes no yes no no 3
York, NE 40.97390, 97.49031 no yes yes yes no 0
Bismarck, ND 46.85280, 100.60131 yes no no no yes 5
Bismarck, ND 46.85280, 100.35145 no yes yes no no 1
Bismarck, ND 46.81734, 100.51257 yes no yes no yes 4
Bismarck, ND 47.14250, 100.19720 no yes yes no no 1
White, SD* 44.42572, 96.58806 yes no no yes no 3
White, SD 44.41155, 96.60008 no yes yes yes no 0
Pipestone, MN* 44.11446, 96.32468 yes no no yes no 3
Pipestone, MN 44.12416, 96.36422 no yes yes yes no 0
Toronto, SD 44.59248, 96.57923 yes yes yes no no 3
Toronto, SD 44.57960, 96.58367 no yes yes yes no 0
Gary, SD* 44.80565, 96.34708 yes no no yes yes 4
Gary, SD 44.80689, 96.35465 no yes yes yes no 0
Arlington, SD 44.41566, 97.18795 yes no yes no yes 4
Arlington, SD 44.42644, 97.25077 no yes yes yes no 0
Lake Norden, SD 44.58976, 97.08649 yes yes yes no yes 3
Lake Norden, SD 44.55.6839, 97.243820 no yes yes yes no 0
aqueous hexametaphosphate) through 500 um (course POM) and 53 um (fine POM) sieves
and then applying the loss on ignition (LOI) technique (Davies, 1974). Insect pests were
enumerated through dissections of all aboveground plant tissues (25 plants per field). Major
pests of corn (rootworm adults, caterpillar pests, and aphids) are all present in cornfields
at this crop developmental stage (Lundgren et al., 2015), and this was substantiated in the
observations in this study as well. Yields were gathered from three randomly selected 3.5 m
sections of row from each field. Gross revenue for each field were considered as yield
and return on grain, and additional revenue streams (e.g., animal weight gain resulting
from grazing). Total direct costs for each field were calculated based on the costs of corn
seed, cover crop seed, drying/cleaning grain, crop insurance, tillage, planting, fertilizers,
pesticides, and irrigation.
Insect pest populations were more than 10 fold higher on the insecticide-treated farms than
on the insecticide-free regenerative farms (ANOVA; F1,77 =13.52, P<0.001; Fig. 1). Pest
populations were numerically dominated by aphids, but each of the individual pest species
followed the same pattern of the aggregated data; none of these pests were at economically
LaCanne and Lundgren (2018), PeerJ, DOI 10.7717/peerj.4428 3/12
Figure 1 Insecticide-treated cornfields had higher pest abundance than untreated, regenerative corn-
fields. Values presented are mean ±SEM total pests (corn rootworm adults, European corn borers, West-
ern bean cutworm, other caterpillars, and aphids) per m2, and were assessed during corn anthesis. The sys-
tems were regarded as best-management practices for the sampled region by the farmers themselves. All
conventional farms planted neonicotinoid-treated, Bt corn seed to prophylactically reduce pests, and some
cornfields were also sprayed with insecticides. Regenerative farms included >3 of the following practices:
use of a multispecies cover crop, abandonment of insecticide, abandonment of tillage, and the cropland
was grazed, etc. Pest abundance was significantly different in the two systems (α=0.05; n=39 regenera-
tive cornfields and 40 conventional cornfields).
Full-size DOI: 10.7717/peerj.4428/fig-1
damaging levels, as observed in other work in the region (Hutchison et al., 2010;Lundgren
et al., 2015). Pest problems in agriculture are often the product of low biodiversity and
simple community structure on numerous spatial scales (Tscharntke et al., 2012). Hundreds
of invertebrate species have been inventoried from cornfields of the Northern Plains of
the US (Lundgren et al., 2015;Welch & Lundgren, 2016), but these communities represent
only 25% of the insect species that lived in ancestral habitats (e.g., prairie) that cornfields
replaced in this region (Schmid et al., 2015). Pest abundance is lower in cornfields that
have greater insect diversity, enhanced biological network strength and greater community
evenness (Lundgren & Fausti, 2015). Suggested mechanisms to explain how invertebrate
diversity and network interactions reduce pests include predation (Letourneau et al., 2009),
competition (Barbosa et al., 2009), and other processes that may not be easily predicted.
What practices foster diversity in agroecosystems? In our studies, farmers that replaced
insecticide use with agronomic forms of plant diversity invariably had fewer pest problems
than those with strict monocultures. Reducing insect diversity and relying solely on
insecticide use establishes a scenario whereby pests persist and resurge through adaptation,
as was observed by our forebears (Perkins, 1982;Stern et al., 1959). Applying winter cover
crops (Lundgren & Fergen, 2011), lengthening crop rotations (Bullock, 1992), diversifying
field margins using conservation mixes (Haaland, Naisbit & Bersier, 2011), and allowing or
promoting non-crop plants between crop rows (Khan et al., 2006) are other agronomically
LaCanne and Lundgren (2018), PeerJ, DOI 10.7717/peerj.4428 4/12
Figure 2 Regenerative corn fields generate nearly twice the profit of conventionally managed corn
fields. The heights of the bars represent average gross profits across all 40 fields (in each treatment). Profit
was calculated using direct costs and revenues for each field and excludes any overhead and indirect ex-
penses. Regenerative cornfields implemented three or more practices such as planting a multispecies cover
mix, eliminating pesticide use, abandoning tillage, and integrating livestock onto the crop ground. Con-
ventional cornfields used fewer than two of these practices. The regenerative systems had 70% higher
profit than conventional cornfields (α=0.05; n=36 fields in each system). Seed drying, corn planting,
and cover crop planting are present on the graphs, but were negligible costs.
Full-size DOI: 10.7717/peerj.4428/fig-2
sound practices that regenerative farmers successfully apply to improve the resilience of
their system to pest proliferation.
Despite having lower grain yields, the regenerative system was nearly twice as profitable
as the conventional corn farms (ANOVA; F1,70 =14.35, P< 0.001; Fig. 2). Regenerative
farms produced 29% less corn grain than conventional operations (8,481±684 kg/ha vs.
11,884 ±648 kg/ha; ANOVA; F1,70 =8.39, P=0.01). Yield reductions are commonly
reported in more ecologically based food production systems relative to conventional
systems (De Ponti, Rijk & Van Ittersum, 2012). However, only 4% of calories produced as
corn grain is eaten directly by humans, and almost none is consumed as grain. Thirty-six
percent of grain is fed to livestock (NASS, 2017), and corn-fed beef contains only 13% of the
total calories produced by corn grain. Two ways that regenerative systems could increase
the human food produced per ha in cornfields would be to increase the diversity of livestock
on the field, or increasing the duration of grazing current stock. The relative profitability
in the two systems was driven by the high seed and fertilizer costs that conventional
farms incurred (32% of the gross income went into these inputs on conventional fields,
versus only 12% in regenerative fields), and the higher revenue generated from grain and
other products produced (e.g., meat production) on the regenerative corn fields (Fig. 2).
The high seed costs on conventional farms are largely attributable to premiums paid by
farmers for prophylactic insecticide traits (no insecticide was applied as spray on these
fields), whose value is questionable due to pest resistance and persistent low abundance
for some targeted pests in the Northern Plains (Hutchison et al., 2007;Krupke et al., 2017).
Regenerative farmers reduced their fertilizer costs by including legume-based cover crops
LaCanne and Lundgren (2018), PeerJ, DOI 10.7717/peerj.4428 5/12
Figure 3 Corn fields with high particulate organic matter and low bulk density in the soil have greater
profits. Corn fields were managed under either conventional or regenerative systems, and profit was cal-
culated using direct costs and revenues for each field and excludes any overhead and indirect expenses.
(general linear regression model; F1,16 =7.84; P=0.01; r2=0.34; profit =29.68[POM]–66.94; bulk den-
sity; F1,19 =5.23; P=0.03; r2=0.24; profit = −975 [POM] +1,593).
Full-size DOI: 10.7717/peerj.4428/fig-3
on their fields during the fallow period (Ebelhar, Frye & Blevins, 1984), adopting no-till
practices (Lal, Reicosky & Hanson, 2007), and grazing the crop field with livestock (Russelle,
Entz & Franzluebbers, 2010). They also received higher value for their crop by receiving
an organic premium, by selling their grain directly to consumers as seed or feed, and by
extracting more than just corn revenue from their field (e.g., by grazing cover mixes with
The profitability of a corn field was not related to grain yields (F1,70 <0.001; P=0.98;
r2<0.01; profit = −0.0006[yield] +1,274), but was positively correlated with the level
of POM in the soil, and inversely related to the bulk density of the soil (Fig. 3; the SOM
quantities upon which %POM are presented here are reported in Table 2). Organic matter
is considered by some as the basis for productivity in the soil (Karlen et al., 1997;Tiessen,
Cuevas & Chacon, 1994), and soils with high SOM typically have lower bulk density. SOM
increases water infiltration rates, and supports greater microbial and animal abundance
and diversity (Lehman et al., 2015). The components of POM are the labile portion of this
SOM, and are frequently used to study the effects of management-based differences in SOM
(Cambardella & Elliott, 1992). The only way to generate SOM in situ in cropland is through
fostering biology, which inherently is driven by plant communities through sequestration of
CO2from the atmosphere. Eliminating tillage (Pikul Jr et al., 2007;Six, Elliott & Paustian,
LaCanne and Lundgren (2018), PeerJ, DOI 10.7717/peerj.4428 6/12
Table 2 Soil organic matter on regenerative and conventional corn farms. Shaded rows represent re-
generative corn farms.
Reference town Farm locations
(latitude, longitude)
Bladen, NE 40.31971, 98.57358 6.23
Bladen, NE 40.33703, 98.56301 4.52
York, NE 40.63054, 97.66534 6.21
York, NE 40.97390, 97.49031 5.55
Bismarck, ND 46.85280, 100.60131 4.19
Bismarck, ND 46.85280, 100.35145 N/A
Bismarck, ND 46.81734, 100.51257 5.82
Bismarck, ND 47.14250, 100.19720 3.85
White, SD 44.42572, 96.58806 N/A
White, SD 44.41155, 96.60008 5.52
Pipestone, MN 44.11446, 96.32468 N/A
Pipestone, MN 44.12416, 96.36422 4.75
Toronto, SD 44.59248, 96.57923 7.60
Toronto, SD 44.57960, 96.58367 6.38
Gary, SD 44.80565, 96.34708 7.53
Gary, SD 44.80689, 96.35465 7.36
Arlington, SD 44.41566, 97.18795 8.17
Arlington, SD 44.42644, 97.25077 8.18
Lake Norden, SD 44.58976, 97.08649 4.56
Lake Norden, SD 44.55.6839, 97.243820 6.26
1999), implementing cover crops (Ding et al., 2006;Kuo, Sainju & Jellum, 1997), and
cycling plant residue through livestock (Tracy & Zhang, 2008) all enhance this process, and
all are important practices used in regenerative food systems that raise POM in the soil.
The farmers themselves have devised an ecologically based production system comprised of
multiple practices that are woven into a profitable farm that promotes ecosystem services.
Regenerative farms fundamentally challenge the current food production paradigm that
maximizes gross profits at the expense of net gains for the farmer. Key elements of this
successful approach to farming include
1. By promoting soil biology and organic matter and biodiversity on their farms,
regenerative farmers required fewer costly inputs like insecticides and fertilizers,
and managed their pest populations more effectively.
2. Soil organic matter was a more important driver of proximate farm profitability than
yields were, in part because the regenerative farms marketed their products differently
or had a diversified income stream from a single field.
LaCanne and Lundgren (2018), PeerJ, DOI 10.7717/peerj.4428 7/12
We thank our 20 farmers throughout the Northern Plains for providing us with study sites
and management information. E Adee, M Bredeson, J Fergen, D Grosz, K Januschka, N
Koens, R LaCanne, M La Vallie, A Leiferman, J Lundgren, A Martens, C Mogren, K Nemec,
A Nikolas, J Pecenka, G Schen, C Snyder, & K Weathers assisted field work. R Conser,
M Entz, C Morrissey, & R Teague provided comments on earlier drafts. M Longfellow
and L Hesler identified invertebrates. Mention of trade names or commercial products in
this publication does not imply recommendation or endorsement by South Dakota State
University or Ecdysis Foundation.
The project was supported by USDA PMAP Award # 2013-34381-21245, a NC-SARE
graduate student fellowship GNC16-227, and donations of farmers and beekeepers to
Ecdysis Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis,
decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Grant Disclosures
The following grant information was disclosed by the authors:
USDA PMAP Award: #2013-34381-21245.
NC-SARE: GNC16-227.
Ecdysis Foundation.
Competing Interests
Jonathan G. Lundgren is the CEO for Blue Dasher Farm and director of the Ecdysis
Foundation. Claire E. LaCanne is an employee of the University of Minnesota, and was a
graduate student for South Dakota State University during her thesis program (this work
is part of that thesis).
Author Contributions
Claire E. LaCanne conceived and designed the experiments, performed the experiments,
analyzed the data, prepared figures and/or tables, authored or reviewed drafts of the
paper, approved the final draft.
Jonathan G. Lundgren conceived and designed the experiments, analyzed the data,
contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools, prepared figures and/or tables, authored
or reviewed drafts of the paper, approved the final draft.
Data Availability
The following information was supplied regarding data availability:
The raw data is provided as a Supplemental File.
LaCanne and Lundgren (2018), PeerJ, DOI 10.7717/peerj.4428 8/12
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Supplementary resource (1)

... Regenerative agriculture (RA) is touted as a ''back to basics'' solution to improve soil quality and biodiversity, while maintaining or improving productivity and profitability. 5 While RA lacks an accepted definition, it is commonly described as a set of on-farm practices that generally differ from conventional farming in terms of the types and intensities of human disturbances and/or inputs within the farm system 6 (Table 1). These practices vary, but most often include a lack of tillage (mechanical disturbance), excluding synthetic fertilizer and pesticide use, inclusion of increased plant diversity, and the integration and altered management of crops and livestock. ...
... These practices vary, but most often include a lack of tillage (mechanical disturbance), excluding synthetic fertilizer and pesticide use, inclusion of increased plant diversity, and the integration and altered management of crops and livestock. 5,6 Limited evidence shows that RA can improve soil nutrient content and physical structure, [7][8][9] while increasing profit and reducing pests. 5 Perhaps most importantly, RA is purported to increase atmospheric carbon sequestration and is, therefore, touted as a strategy to help address global climate change issues. ...
... 5,6 Limited evidence shows that RA can improve soil nutrient content and physical structure, [7][8][9] while increasing profit and reducing pests. 5 Perhaps most importantly, RA is purported to increase atmospheric carbon sequestration and is, therefore, touted as a strategy to help address global climate change issues. 10 While the RA ''movement'' is being increasingly adopted by farmers at the grassroots level, comprehensive scientific research on the ecosystem-level changes induced by RA, relative to conventional farming systems, has only recently gained momentum; thus, questions remain about the extent to which regenerative approaches are able to achieve better environmental outcomes, such as soil quality improvements and climate change mitigation, compared to conventional practices. ...
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Regenerative agriculture (RA) is gaining traction globally as an approach for meeting growing food demands while avoiding, or even remediating, the detrimental environmental consequences associated with conventional farming. Momentum is building for science to provide evidence for, or against, the putative ecosystem benefits of RA practices relative to conventional farming. In this perspective article, we advance the argument that consideration of the soil microbiome in RA research is crucial for disentangling the varied and complex relationships RA practices have with the biotic and abiotic environment, outline the expected changes in soil microbiomes under RA, and make recommendations for designing research that will answer the outstanding questions on the soil microbiome under RA. Ultimately, deeper insights into the role of microbial communities in RA soils will allow the development of biologically relevant monitoring tools which will support land managers in addressing the key environmental issues associated with agriculture.
... Cabe resaltar que en la información encontrada se encontró una afirmación que indicaba una mínima pero existente posibilidad de generar la muerte en el personal mayormente expuesto a estas sustancias toxicas. [16], [17], [19], [21], [22], [23], [25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30], [39], [43], [44], [45], [46], [47], [48], [49], [50], [51], [52], [53], [54], [55], [56], [57], [58], [59], [60], [61], [62], [63], [64], [65], [66], [67], [68], [69], [70], [71], [72], [73] [74], [75], [76], [77], [78], [79], [80], [81], [82], [83], [84], [85], [86], [87], [88], [89], [90], [91], [92], [93], [94], [95], [96], [97], [98] y [99] Finalmente, dando cierre a las enfermedades, podemos establecer que la sintomatología más común sobre las enfermedades de exposición a pesticidas es irritación local, irritación en los ojos, mareos, fatiga, náuseas, diarrea, salivación excesiva, dificultad para respirar, micción frecuente, visión borrosa y dolor abdominal, según lo indican [88], [100] y [101]. ...
... Seguidamente, se establecen los causales del mal uso de los productos de donde fue posible hallar causales como su bajo costos, la producción de alimentos en grandes cantidades, la disminución de tiempos en los procesos de cultivos, la gran demanda de alimentos del mundo y la correcta eliminación de plagas de insectos y malezas que afecten al cultivo. Finalmente, al momento de desarrollar dichas investigaciones los resultados eran sorprendentes, debido a que tan solo un bajo porcentaje de las poblaciones desconocía las afectaciones por el mal uso de dicho producto, mientras que, por otro lado, en su mayoría la población de agricultores si eran conocedoras de dichas afectaciones para sí, pero no le daban relevancia ya que era un insumo esencial en su trabajo, y económicamente les traían beneficios; sin embargo, se buscaron posibles estrategias de educación para el gremio agricultor con el objetivo de concientizar no solo a los productores, sino a toda la población, a través, de campañas, cooperativas y programas de educación por parte de la política a lo que la respuesta de los agricultores era positiva, ya que en su mayoría buscarían alternativas de cambio que les permitiera remplazar en su totalidad el uso de pesticidas, mientras que por otra parte, solo un porcentaje pequeño de muestra demostró rechazo a la información y se negó a llevar a cabo un cambio en su forma de cultivar, aun sabiendo bien las consecuencias, según lo indican [39], [63], [66], [69], [70], [71], [75], [80], [91], [93], [94], [95], [96], [105], [106], [107], [108] y [109]. ...
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Los pesticidas son un factor fundamental en la agricultura, ya que su objetivo es la protección del cultivo de plagas o malezas que generen peligro a los productos, más específicamente la producción de alimentos; sin embargo, el uso de forma excesiva e indebida que se le está dando por los agricultores ha ocasionado la llegada de grandes consecuencias negativas en los productos cultivados y en el personal que se encuentra expuesto al momento de su producción, es por ello que se identificó el impacto que ocasiona el empleo de pesticidas en la salud humana a través del establecimiento de información que relacione la población mayormente impactada por plaguicidas y sus formas de impacto negativo en la salud. Así mismo, se da a conocer las enfermedades generadas en la salud humana, haciendo énfasis en la clasificación de enfermedades según el sistema afectado y los síntomas que las personas llegan a presentar, además de establecer los intervalos de tiempo en el que dichas afectaciones comienzan a ser notorias en el cuerpo humano, con el objetivo de llevar a cabo un proceso que permita correlacionar la información para determinar el porcentaje de impacto negativo en la salud del agricultor y quienes lo rodean junto con los consumidores; además, se identificó temáticas de relación que permiten conocer nuevos campos y perspectivas. Todo lo anterior se desarrolló por medio de una muestra de recolección de información científica e investigativa. Palabras clave-Agricultura; Salud Humana; Pesticidas; Contaminación; Cultivos. Abstract Pesticides are a fundamental factor in agriculture, since their objective is the protection of the crop from pests or weeds that generate danger to products, more specifically food production; However, the excessive and improper use that is being given by farmers has caused the arrival of great negative consequences in the cultivated products and in the personnel that is exposed at the time of their production, that is why the impact caused by the use of pesticides on human health was identified through the establishment of information that relates the population most impacted by pesticides and their forms of negative impact on health. Likewise, the diseases generated in human health are disclosed, emphasizing the classification of diseases according to the affected system and the symptoms that people come to present, in addition to establishing the time intervals in which these affectations begin to be noticeable in the human body, with the aim of carrying out a process that allows correlating the information to determine the percentage of negative impact on the health of the farmer and those around him along with consumers; In addition, relationship themes were identified that allow us to know new fields and perspectives. All of the above was developed through a sample collection of scientific and research information. I. INTRODUCCIÓN La presente investigación se llevó a cabo con el objeto de identificar el impacto que tiene el empleo de pesticidas sobre los seres humanos a través de la determinación de las afectaciones que se presentan y cuál o cuáles son las poblaciones que están mayormente expuestas a estos agroquímicos, sabiendo que, los pesticidas son aquellas sustancias que previenen y controlan las plagas dentro de un cultivo a través de diversos químicos y tóxicos, sin embargo cabe aclarar que en un principio su fabricación era natural, aunque con el paso de los años y al aumentar su necesidad teniendo en cuenta su funcionalidad, estos insumos se volvieron sintéticos. Ahora bien, el aumento de este producto va relacionado con el crecimiento población en todo el mundo, lo que genero así mismo, una producción exponencial en la
... Innovations in regenerative farming, such as reducing tillage, expanding crop rotations, planting cover crops, and reintegrating livestock into crop production systems aim to address the industry's growing carbon footprint [62]. Nevertheless, farmers and industry are reluctant to transition to more sustainable methods because of large initial investments and higher labor costs; production yields of regenerative fields are 29% lower than those of conventional farming [63]. ...
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We analyzed the enormous scale of global human needs, their carbon footprint, and how they are connected to energy availability. We established that most challenges related to resource security and sustainability can be solved by providing distributed, affordable, and clean energy. Catalyzed chemical transformations powered by renewable electricity are emerging successor technologies that have the potential to replace fossil fuels without sacrificing the wellbeing of humans. We highlighted the technical, economic, and societal advantages and drawbacks of short- to medium-term decarbonization solutions to gauge their practicability, economic feasibility, and likelihood for widespread acceptance on a global scale. We detailed catalysis solutions that enhance sustainability, along with strategies for catalyst and process development, frontiers, challenges, and limitations, and emphasized the need for planetary stewardship. Electrocatalytic processes enable the production of solar fuels and commodity chemicals that address universal issues of the water, energy and food security nexus, clothing, the building sector, heating and cooling, transportation, information and communication technology, chemicals, consumer goods and services, and healthcare, toward providing global resource security and sustainability and enhancing environmental and social justice.
... Regular cultivation with minimal nutrient replenishment accompanied with poor farming methods has led to declining soil fertility thus keeping agricultural productivity in the area of study low. Regenerative agriculture innovations seem to offer solutions and opportunities to these problems to farmers (LaCanne and Lundgren, 2018), to scale up productivity as well as profitability and household food security while ensuring environmental sustainability. ...
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This study evaluated socioeconomic factors influencing the uptake of regenerative agriculture technologies in the dry lands of Embu County. Semi-structured questionnaires were administered to 400 farm households. Multivariate Probit model (MVP) and percentage were used to analyse the data. The findings of the study indicate that several socioeconomic factors including farming experience, farm size, main occupation, off-farm activities, age, gender, marital status and education level influenced the uptake of various regenerative agriculture technologies. Government and other inventors should take these factors into consideration while making decisions and formulating policies to support the dissemination and uptake of agricultural innovations.
... Agricultural policies that embrace technological change through the use of digital technologies in precision farming are likely to improve TFP to a significant extent while enabling a substantially more efficient use of agricultural input (Finger et al., 2019). Yet it may have to be combined with other promising technologies that enhance sustainable intensification such as regenerative agriculture, which is focused on the enhancement of soil health and the improvement of soil conservation (LaCanne and Lundgren, 2018;Gish, 2022). Regenerative agriculture involves the mixing of crops and livestock, to further boost soil quality and on-farm fertility (Oberč and Arroyo Schnell, 2020). ...
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The 27th Conference of the Parties (COP 27) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) held in November 2022 in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt, ended with joint commitments to compensate for loss and damage and increase funds for climate change adaptation in future. This outcome is likely to be supportive of current efforts to render agricultural systems in low income tropical countries more resilient and productive through locally adapted forms of sustainable intensification. However, the farm-to-fork (f2f) strategy launched in 2020 by the European Union (EU) has set targets that associate sustainable agriculture primarily with extensification rather than intensification. This paper critically reviews the literature that assesses the impact of current agricultural, environmental and development policies on global food security, biodiversity and climate change. It challenges the view that the European Green Deal and the f2f strategy will have its desired effects. It also argues that the intention of the European Commission (EC) to promote the f2f strategy in low income tropical countries may not be compatible with its commitment to the ownership principle in development assistance. The decision of the EC in fall 2022 to propose a regulatory framework on new breeding techniques (NBTs) indicates that methods of sustainable intensification may be reconsidered if they serve the goals of the Green Deal and the f2f strategy. Such a readjustment would also be in line with the outcome of COP27 and indicate that the polarized global debate on sustainable food systems may become more pragmatic and outcome-oriented again.
... To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the economic feasibility of transitioning from 76-cm to 152-cm corn rows. Work by LaCanne and Lundgren [58] reported that fields under regenerative management had a 29% lower grain production but 78% higher profits over traditional corn production systems; similarly, our work revealed that regenerative management in the form of forage double-cropping had the potential to offset low grain production as a result of wide rows. This finding is critical, as previous work by Roesch-McNally et al. [13] reported that multiple farmers feel caught between achieving conservation goals and concern over low yields [13]. ...
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Intercropping forages with corn can improve cropping system productivity relative to single crop systems. However, limited light resources in 76 cm corn rows may impede successful forage establishment. This study assessed whether the combination of intercropped high value forage cover crops and wider corn rows could result in economically viable crop production systems in the Upper Midwest. A high value forage mixture was interseeded into standing corn at three working farms in the Rice and Goodhue Counties, MN, USA. Treatments were comprised of four row widths: 76 cm with no forage cover crop (best management practices, BMP), 76 cm with a forage cover crop (BMP + CC), 76 cm + CC, and two skip rows every fourth row (Balanced), and 152 cm + CC (WIDE). The WIDE, Balanced, and BMP + CC corn treatment reduced corn yields relative to the 76-cm treatments. However, the forage cover crop yields for all treatments optimized for light resources (Balanced and WIDE) ranged from 945 to 1865 kg ha−1 a forage quality (CP and RFV) equivalent to alfalfa. Our economic analysis revealed that high yielding, quality forage crops can offset up to 12.6% of economic losses caused by grain reductions. Wide-row intercropped systems may be economically viable for producers looking for opportunities to reintegrate their crop and livestock production systems, but further work is needed to refine this system for farm use.
... Innovative agricultural practices developed during the 20th century helped double grain yields since the 1960's (Ramankutty et al., 2018), but the widespread adoption of synthetic pesticides, inorganic fertilizers, expansive monocultures, and intensive tillage has come at great human health and environmental costs (Tilman et al., 2002;LaCanne and Lundgren, 2018;Sanaullah et al., 2020). To continue feeding, fueling, and clothing a growing population, these once-innovative, now conventional agricultural practices may need to be phased out in favor of alternative, conservation-based practices. ...
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Reducing tillage and supporting continuous living cover (CLC) can improve agroecosystem sustainability under both organic and conventional field crop production. What is less clear, however, is how reducing tillage affects the economic sustainability of organic field crop systems with CLC as compared to conventional field crop systems. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted a comprehensive economic analysis based on field records and crop yields from the long-term Farming Systems Trial (FST) at Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. The FST (established in 1981) comprises three farming systems (conventional, low-input organic, and manure-based organic) which were split into tilled and reduced-till treatments in 2008. FST field activities, inputs, and crop yields from 2008 to 2020 were used to construct enterprise budgets to assess cumulative labor, costs, returns, and economic risk of six replicated theoretical farms. Reducing tillage on the conventional farms led to lower gross revenues (−10%), but lower annual costs (−5%) helped maintain similar net returns but increased economic risk as compared to tilled conventional farms. Reducing tillage on the low-input organic farms also led to lower gross revenues (−13%) and lower annual costs (−6%), which maintained net returns and increased risk relative to the tilled, low-input organic farms. For the more diverse manure-based organic farms that include periods of mixed perennial cover, reducing tillage had a smaller effect on overall costs (−2%) and no effect on gross revenues, net returns, or economic risk. Overall, reducing tillage did not affect the long-term profitability of any of the three FST farming systems. Regardless of tillage practices or organic price premiums, the manure-based organic system supported higher net returns than the conventional system. This finding suggests that continuous living cover and manure inputs may have a greater influence on system profitability than tillage practices.
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Traditional and Indigenous practices worldwide have aimed to create sustainable and regenerative food systems guided by nature and based on reciprocal relationships between humans and nonhumans. Unfortunately, not all sustainable food system approaches, while striving for less harm rather than a net-positive impact, have considered indigenous knowledge or justice for small-scale producers and their communities. This paper contextualizes and conceptualizes a regenerative food system that addresses harm to the planet and people while creating a net positive impact by integrating a different research and practice framework. First, we offer a positionality statement, followed by our definition and characterization of a regenerative food system; then we compare and contrast conventional and sustainable approaches, making a case for the need to create space for a regenerative food system. Next, we provide a framework of 13 principles for a regenerative food system by weaving the nature-inspired biomimicry framework of Life’s Principles (LPs) with Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) principles, while verifying these practices as they are used among small-scale Indigenous producers from selected arid regions, primarily the U.S. Southwest.
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In response to the sustainability issues that agriculture faces in advanced economies, agroecology has gained increasing relevance in scientific, political, and social debates. This has promoted discussion about transitions to agroecology, which represents a significant advancement. Accordingly, it has become a growing field of research. We reviewed the literature on and in support of farm transitions to agroecology in advanced economies in order to identify key research challenges and suggest innovative research paths. Our findings can be summarized as follows: (1) Research that supports exploration and definition of desired futures, whether based on future-oriented modeling or expert-based foresight approaches, should more explicitly include the farm level. It should stimulate the creativity and design ability of farmers and other stakeholders, and also address issues of representation and power among them. (2) Research that creates awareness and assesses farms before, during or after transition requires more holistic and dynamic assessment frameworks. These frameworks need to be more flexible to adapt to the diversity of global and local challenges. Their assessment should explicitly include uncertainty due to the feedback loops and emergent properties of transitions. (3) Research that analyzes and supports farms during transition should focus more on the dynamics of change processes by valuing what happens on the farms. Research should especially give more credence to on-farm experiments conducted by farmers and develop new tools and methods (e.g., for strategic monitoring) to support these transitions. This is the first review of scientific studies of farm transitions to agroecology. Overall, the review indicates that these transitions challenge the system boundaries, temporal horizons, and sustainability dimensions that agricultural researchers usually consider. In this context, farm transitions to agroecology require changes in the current organization and funding of research in order to encourage longer term and more adaptive configurations.
Circular economy (CE) aims to create a sustainable economy while keeping economic growth intact, by internalizing negative externalities, such as waste. Research on this subject has come far on the macro level (e.g., legislative recommendations) and the meso level (e.g., life cycle engineering (LCE), circular supply chain (CSC), and circular value chain (CVC)), but less so on the micro level (i.e., the level of the individual firm). The issue this creates is that the businesses (which are the very basis of the economy) do not have clear frameworks, guidelines, or tools to reshape their own business in such a way that they can participate in a circular economy, hence hampering the development of a circular economy. In this research, we have created a circular production chain (CPC) that takes into account the resources, production process, product, and waste a company produces, through three aspects: imput, design, and output, but also places the company in the bigger picture, that is, the economy, and shows how CE is achieved by multiple companies working together, highlighting the importance of tactical management. In the process we uncover three main influences that facilitate or inhibit the implementation of CE practices in a single business.
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In 2012, approximately 40,000 suicides were reported in the United States, making suicide the 10th leading reported cause of death for persons aged ≥16 years (1). From 2000 to 2012, rates of suicide among persons in this age group increased 21.1%, from 13.3 per 100,000 to 16.1 (1). To inform suicide prevention efforts, CDC analyzed suicide by occupational group, by ascribing occupational codes to 12,312 suicides in 17 states in 2012 from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) (2). The frequency of suicide in different occupational groups was examined, and rates of suicide were calculated by sex and age group for these categories. Persons working in the farming, fishing, and forestry group had the highest rate of suicide overall (84.5 per 100,000 population) and among males (90.5); the highest rates of suicide among females occurred among those working in protective service occupations (14.1). Overall, the lowest rate of suicide (7.5) was found in the education, training, and library occupational group. Suicide prevention approaches directed toward persons aged ≥16 years that enhance social support, community connectedness, access to preventive services, and the reduction of stigma and barriers to help-seeking are needed.
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Food systems are under increasing pressure to produce sufficient food for the global population, decrease the environmental impacts of production, and buffer against complex global change. Food security also remains elusive for many populations worldwide. Greater emphasis on food system resilience could reduce these vulnerabilities. We outline integrated strategies that together could foster food system resilience across scales, including (a) integrating gender equity and social justice into food security research and initiatives, (b) increasing the use of ecological processes rather than external inputs for crop production, (c) fostering regionalized food distribution networks and waste reduction, and (d) linking human nutrition and agricultural production policies. Enhancing social–ecological links and fostering adaptive capacity are essential to cope with short-term volatility and longer-term global change pressures. Finally, we highlight regional case studies that have enhanced food system resilience for vulnerable populations. Efforts in these areas could have dramatic impacts on global food system resilience.
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Owing to the methane (CH4) produced by rumen fermentation, ruminants are a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) and are perceived as a problem. We propose that with appropriate regenerative crop and grazing management, ruminants not only reduce overall GHG emissions, but also facilitate provision of essential ecosystem services, increase soil carbon (C) sequestration, and reduce environmental damage. We tested our hypothesis by examining biophysical impacts and the magnitude of all GHG emissions from key agricultural production activities, including comparisons of arable- and pastoral-based agroecosystems. Our assessment shows that globally, GHG emissions from domestic ruminants represent 11.6% (1.58 Gt C y-1) of total anthropogenic emissions, while cropping and soil-associated emissions contribute 13.7% (1.86 Gt C y-1). The primary source is soil erosion (1 Gt C y-1), which in the United States alone is estimated at 1.72 Gt of soil y-1. Permanent cover of forage plants is highly effective in reducing soil erosion, and ruminants consuming only grazed forages under appropriate management result in more C sequestration than emissions. Incorporating forages and ruminants into regeneratively managed agroecosystems can elevate soil organic C, improve soil ecological function by minimizing the damage of tillage and inorganic fertilizers and biocides, and enhance biodiversity and wildlife habitat. We conclude that to ensure longterm sustainability and ecological resilience of agroecosystems, agricultural production should be guided by policies and regenerative management protocols that include ruminant grazing. Collectively, conservation agriculture supports ecologically healthy, resilient agroecosystems and simultaneously mitigates large quantities of anthropogenic GHG emissions. Copyright
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Understanding the factors that constrain or promote symbiotic microbial communities gives a clearer picture of the niches that can be occupied by a host organism. Many insects harbor symbiotic microbes that can alter various aspects of insect behavior and biology including digestion, sex determination, and pathogen defense. Habitat diversity has a major influence on insect and microbial diversity within an environment. In the current study, we assessed how habitat biodiversity affects the bacterial species richness within the gastrointestinal tract of insects. We measured species abundance of plants and insects present in three replicated habitats (prairie, pasture, and maize fields) that inherently represent a continuum of biological diversities. Gut bacterial symbiont diversity of the crickets Gryllus pennsylvanicus Burmeister and Allonemobius sp. (Orthoptera: Gryllidae) were described using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of rRNA genes. The resulting data show that gut bacterial diversity of both cricket species is positively correlated with biodiversity according to habitat type. This demonstrates that microbial diversity within insect gastrointestinal tracts, and possibly their functions within these insects, is tied to the biodiversity within the habitats where insects live. These results have important implications as to how reductions in habitat biodiversity may affect the ecological functions and services that the remaining species can perform. © Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America 2015.
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Recent shifts in agricultural practices have resulted in altered pesticide use patterns, land use intensification, and landscape simplification, all of which threaten biodiversity in and near farms. Pests are major challenges to food security, and responses to pests can represent unintended socioeconomic and environmental costs. Characteristics of the ecological community influence pest populations, but the nature of these interactions remains poorly understood within realistic community complexities and on operating farms. We examine how species diversity and the topology of linkages in species' abundances affect pest abundance on maize farms across the Northern Great Plains. Our results show that increased species diversity, community evenness, and linkage strength and network centrality within a biological network all correlate with significantly reduced pest populations. This supports the assertion that reduced biological complexity on farms is associated with increased pest populations and provides a further justification for diversification of agroecosystems to improve the profitability, safety, and sustainability of food production systems. Bioinventories as comprehensive as the one conducted here are conspicuously absent for most agroecosystems but provide an important baseline for community and ecosystem ecology and the effects of food production on local biodiversity and ecosystem function. Network analyses of abundance correlations of entire communities (rather than focal interactions, for example, trophic interactions) can reveal key network characteristics, especially the importance and nature of network centrality, which aid in understanding how these communities function.
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Independent but simultaneously occurring changes in U.S. agricultural and energy policies in conjunction with advances in biotechnology converged to create an economic and regulatory environment that incentivized corn acreage expansion. Advancements in Bt seed and ethanol production technologies contributed to scale efficiency gains in corn and biofuel production. These advancements were accompanied by changes in market forces that altered the balance between corn and other agricultural crop production. The causal linkages among Bt adoption, ethanol production, and corn production are explored along with a discussion of how this shift toward corn production generated unexpected economic and environmental consequences. Alternative policy solutions to mitigate the negative consequences and enhance the resiliency of U.S. agriculture are discussed.
Pest management largely focuses on managing individual pest species with little concern for the diverse communities that co-occur with key pests and potentially shape their population dynamics. During anthesis, we described the foliar arthropod communities on 53 maize farms throughout the region of eastern South Dakota. The resulting communities were examined for trends in local associations in the abundances of taxa with key pests in the system (rootworms [Diabrotica spp.], European corn borers [Ostrinia nubilalis], aphids and Western bean cutworm [Striacosta albicosta]) using regression analyses. Regional spatial clustering in the abundances of key pests with members of the community was explored using Moran's I test statistic. The distributions of rootworms and European corn borer were mapped. A total of 37 185 arthropods representing at least 91 taxa were collected in South Dakota maize; there was an average of 5.06 predators and 8.29 herbivores found per plant. Key pests were never found at economically threatening levels (with one exception for Diabrotica). Numerous species were consistently numerically associated with each of the key pests across the farms during anthesis. Occasionally, these pests shared species with which they were locally associated with; for example, coccinellid egg abundances were predictive of the abundances of all key pest species except rootworm adults. Spatial analysis across the region suggested that species co-occurred with key pests based on local characteristics surrounding the fields, rather than as a result of regional characteristics. Exceptions were documented; namely aphids and Western bean cutworms that spatially clustered with a handful of other members of the community. The results of the study point out that the abundances of key pests of maize were interconnected through indirect associations in the abundances of other members of the community. These associations may be useful for manipulating maize agroecosystems to minimize the effects of maize pests.