For more than 4 decades, I have had the honor of working with farmers, ranchers and field advisers, conducting research with crops on soil, plant and water relationships. I have undertaken these endeavors at the state level, nationally and internationally. To highlight the importance of such undertakings, as we know, soil is a living system that supports 95% of food production. Based upon various findings, approximately 80% of the world’s food is produced by small family farms.

It is estimated that about 20-40% has experienced degradation in the last several decades, including 70% of freshwater use. To put things into further context, in 1960, arable land worldwide (per capita) was 0.42. It is thought this will be reduced to 0.19 in 2050.

According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), the world will lose about 250 million acres of crop production by 2050. In addition, according to Dr. Honeycutt (Soil Health Institute), in the last 150 years, we have lost ½ of soil’s organic matter. He emphasized the particular social and environmental ramifications of soil loss degradation in the United States (estimated at 80 billion per year). Dr. Kristine Nichols, a soil microbiologist and regenerative expert, also notes that of the 900 million arable acres in the USA, a mere 1.5% is farmed on a regenerative basis.

Given this situation, I want to assess the intelligence of soil, water, plants and the sun’s energy regarding their different angles of intelligence.

To that end, let us also dive into some missing links in the physical, chemical and biological dynamics in crop production phenomena. It is well documented that if we analyze everything we grow (cereal crops, forage crops, vegetables, fruits, berries) post-harvest, we will discover that 96% are comprised of Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen (CHO). This is in spite of all the macro and micronutrient inputs.

So where do they come from?

Co2 is in the air, the sun's energy. Then you have H2O. So the actual manufacturer is the plant canopy which undertakes the process of photosynthesis.

The other significant part of the production equation is how at seed germination, canopy development, and reproduction, we need to bolster the natural physicochemical and biological signatures of the rhizosphere. This activation, in turn, is a means of connection with the plant canopy, which is the production engine.

Other missing links are understanding the inner functionalities of macro and micronutrient ratios. Calculating these ratios following soil analysis offers us simple algorithmic data to diagnose and overcome soil nutrient imbalances. I have reviewed over 60,000 soil analyses nationally and internationally and used these ratios very successfully. These successes have been attested to by many, ranging from small growers to large-scale farmers.

Adding functional carbon at this juncture enhances better nutrient translocation, enhancing root exudates and rhizodeposition, and supercharging the canopy (the engine) for better soil and metabolism. This, in turn, results in better cost-effective yield, quality, and overall soil sustainability.

But let us also give credit to those who understand these dynamics.

The progressive and successful growers with whom I have worked have in-depth understanding of the natural platforms of farming, ranching and growing orchards. They follow nature’s intelligent design and work across those platforms in a discerning, educated and dynamic manner.

These progressive growers know the dynamics of microbes, as worker bees of sorts in the soil. They know how to create the most conducive environment with their own singular biosignature. This has been known for centuries. These farmers understood soil health issues and have implemented good cultural practices to maintain the soil microbiomes’ health. They had cover crops and overall diversity and created healthy roots, which added to carbon sink (helping ameliorate the more deleterious aspects of climate change as well). This in turn created a natural, dynamic cycle (mineralization and immobilization).

These common-sense farmers again used nature’s intelligence to grow healthy roots and fortify beneficial microbial communities that have adapted to their particular environments. They let the roots do microbial farming and prime the soils for nutrient-use efficiencies and healthy organic matter transformation for functional carbons.

They employed well-researched natural products, such as functional carbons (humic substances), well-researched biostimulants, and third-party researched products for disease and insect suppression.

They understood all the natural biosignatures of soil, plants, water, and sunlight. And in turn, when they assessed their crop enterprise budgets, they experienced better return-on-investment, sustainability, along with combating biodiversity loss. Such growers knew how to meet their needs, ensuring continual soil health and strong ecological principles at the same time.

In summary, we need to use these growers, their agronomists, and their researchers and suppliers to implement a “shared vision” platform. Based on a Resonance global report, the global regenerative agricultural market was estimated to be valued at $8.7 billion in 2022. It is predicted to be $16.8 billion by 2027.

This shared vision will foster better outreach, allowing for the gathering of more baseline data in different geographic areas. A healthy soil microbiome, in conclusion, will ensure healthy plants, healthy livestock production, healthy humans, and strong food security for our nation and world.

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