“We’re in the ninth inning for humanity, two outs,” -Doug Fine, Author, Farmer, and HIA Member Since 2015 speaking on the power of regenerative farming and the role hemp can play.
For centuries, human beings grew food and fiber crops without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Farmers learned to rotate crops and regenerate the soil with microbes. Humanity had no choice but to grow everything in this manner. It’s only been in the last 100 years that industrial agriculture has gained dominance. And now, judging from an increasing lack of access to food security, the impact of Big Ag on the environment, the erosion of farmland topsoil, and the staggering amount of food waste annually, something has gone terribly wrong in the name of progress.
“We’re in the ninth inning for humanity, two outs,” says Doug Fine, hemp farmer, activist, and author. “Every farm-based enterprise has to operate the way humans always have—by treating its essential resources as vital to maintain and continually rebuild.”
On his Funky Butte Ranch in New Mexico, and other farms he consults across the country, Fine practices and teaches the lost art of rebuilding microbes in soil. As much science as art, the concept is straightforward, and our ancestors have been practicing it for many generations.
Regenerative farming is simply planting crops in their native soil outdoors and regenerating the soil off-season with microbes, compost, and animal droppings from the same area or farm — very few, if not any, external inputs. Oftentimes, microbes are collected from surrounding forests or fallen trees and moved to the field nearby. If the soil is vibrant enough and not chemicalized, those microbes multiply and combine with other nutrients, creating an ecosystem known as “rich top soil.” In fact, according to Fine, there’s a growing body of research that suggests that each cubic inch of this type of cultivation can sequester up to 3 billion tons of carbon annually—while also building the soil. It appears that regenerative agriculture may give humanity a valuable tool for cooling down the planet.
Fine is pioneering hemp research and seed development on his own farm, and many of his adventures have been chronicled in his books. American Hemp Farmer and Hemp Bound are both considered classics by hemp aficionados, and rumor has it Fine is hard at work on a docu-series chronicling his adventurous learning.
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At the HIA, our mission is to advance the hemp economy and educate the market for the benefit of our members, the public, and the planet. This is why one of the HIA’s three guiding principles is to sow the seeds of a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future for hemp in the United States and around the world. Learn more about our guiding principles by visiting our HIA Mission page.