SOIL REGENERATION. On the left is soil from a Coffee County, Tenn., field after 50 years of no-till without the use of cover crops. The right is healthier soil from the same field with better root systems and biology after 3 years of cover crops. Image: Ray Archuleta

We’ll Lose the Earth Without Regenerative Practices

No-Till Innovator Ray Archuleta explains why nature must be cared for in order to heal cropland & the world

One of the things that makes me cringe is hearing a farmer say that they’re just a farmer. Farming is the most complex job in the world, and it’s built on chaos. Take the weather, for example. That kind of unpredictability in nature is a result of the butterfly effect, a theory in quantum physics that says a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can create a tornado in Kansas

Edward Lorenz, the meteorologist who coined the term butterfly effect, proved this in 1961. When running a computer model that simulated weather patterns, he rounded down 1 out of 12 variables from 6 decimal places to 3. This minor alteration completely changed the following 2 months of predicted weather data, proving that small changes have big impacts. 

In the sixth grade, my dad sent me to private school. That one action changed my whole life because all the kids in private school went on to college. Marrying my wife, Sonja, who is an amazing woman, changed my life, and I wouldn’t be here without her. All of you have had butterfly effects in your life, and you don’t realize how they've changed the trajectory of your life. 

So, do the little things that we do in  our operation matter? Yes. The moment you graze that cow one more time or plant cover crops, it makes a difference. This is the kind of system that farmers deal with everyday. Farming and ranching are complex. It’s a miracle to me that we…

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Ray Archuleta

Retired NRCS Soil Scientist

Mk headshot

Maclaren Krueger

Maclaren Krueger is an editorial intern for No-Till Farmer, Strip-Till Farmer, Cover Crop Strategies and other Lessiter Media publications. They have a background in photography and graduated with a degree in English, Creative Writing and Publishing from the University of Iowa. 

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