Oklahoma Conservationist Jimmy Emmons Says "Regenerative Ag" the Next Big Thing in Soil HealthTue, 15 Jan 2019 12:32:10 CST
At the 100th Annual American Farm Bureau Federation Convention and Meeting this week in New Orleans, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Jimmy Emmons, president of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts and local farmer from Dewey County. As a veteran no-till farmer, Emmons has developed a deep knowledge of agricultural conservation and modern soil health methodology. He shared that knowledge with attendees at the AFBF meeting this week in a special workshop focused on the latest practice of what he calls “Regenerative Agriculture.” He spoke with Hays about this new concept and other activities that have been undertaken recently by the no-till community. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
According to Emmons, Regenerative Agriculture is a term that captures the essence of rejuvenating the health of soil by creating more biology and nutrients within the soil’s organic material. This concept was developed to help grow farmers’ adoption of soil health practices. And it is catching on, Emmons says, not necessarily by the industry either - but by the end user.
“It’s a whole new thought process of how we turn our soils around and get them healthy. And it’s really growing,” he explained. “The market is seeing a real demand for food produced with less chemicals and that’s what the Regenerative Agriculture system is all about.”
Not only is this new system good for the soil, it is also good for farmers’ bottom line.
“This whole process is geared toward less chemicals, less inputs and more profitability,” Emmons remarked. “Maybe we don’t make the top yield, but if we’re making $2 to $3 a bushel more - you’re more profitable, especially with less inputs.”
This is of course a subject that will be widely discussed at the upcoming No-Till on the Plains Winter Conference, an organization that Emmons also holds a board seat on. The Conference takes place January 29-30 in Wichita, Kansas this year. Emmons says soil health experts from across the country will be there to highlight the latest advancements and information in soil health development.
“We’ve got so many great experts coming in across the country talking about Regenerative Agriculture. We’re very excited about how this all will tie together,” he said, “because on the last day of the AIM Symposium, we’re going to focus more on the food side of healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy food, healthy bodies.”
Emmons’ commitment is a testament to the rewards that can be harvested from agricultural conservation. Tragically, Emmons fell victim to last year’s wildfires in Oklahoma, his property greatly affected - though he says not as severely as some of his neighbors. However, he credits his conservationist efforts with helping expedite the land’s recovery process.
“We lost a little bit of ground, but we’re very pleased with our rangeland’s resilience and how it has withstood,” he said. “It withstood very well.”
Again, the fires and the drought caused great difficulty for Emmons this past year, but the cover crop gleaning project he undertook a couple seasons ago in partnership with the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank and others, continues to grow. He says that as more farmers join in the project and they endure the learning curve along with the Food Bank leaders and volunteers - this project will continue to grow and help feed hungry Oklahomans while simultaneously advancing soil health goals across the state.
Hear more about all that Emmons is doing in the soil health world, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR for his complete conversation with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays.
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