Does Soil Health Actually Matter? w/ Gabe Brown

Does Soil Health Actually Matter? w/ Gabe Brown

Posted by Daniel Griffith on

Summary
In this conversation, Gabe Brown, a regenerative farmer and author, and Daniel Firth Griffith discusses the principles and benefits of regenerative agriculture. He defines regenerative agriculture as farming and ranching in sync with nature to repair, rebuild, revitalize, and restore ecosystem function.
Gabe shares his personal journey of transitioning from conventional agriculture to regenerative practices and highlights the importance of pain and learning in the process. He emphasizes the need for local food systems and the negative impact of long-distance food transportation. Gabe also discusses the connection between regenerative agriculture and human health, as well as its potential to feed the world and address climate change. He encourages collaboration and the sharing of knowledge within the regenerative agriculture movement. The conversation with Gabe Brown highlights the momentum of change in sustainable agriculture and the importance of individual actions. Gabe mentions the work of organizations like the Dicas Foundation and the Thousand Farms Initiative, emphasizing the need for large-scale biodiversity studies. He also notes the increasing interest and knowledge in sustainable farming practices, with larger groups attending educational sessions. He encourages listeners to make a difference in their own ways, whether it's supporting a school teacher or starting a garden. By collectively taking action, we can drive significant change.
Takeaways
  • Regenerative agriculture involves farming and ranching in sync with nature to repair, rebuild, revitalize, and restore ecosystem function.
  • Transitioning to regenerative agriculture often requires experiencing pain and being open to learning and change.
  • Local food systems are important for promoting regenerative agriculture and ensuring the production of nutrient-dense food.
  • Regenerative agriculture has the potential to address climate change by sequestering carbon and improving soil health.
  • Collaboration and knowledge sharing are crucial for the success and growth of the regenerative agriculture movement.

 

Unedited Transcript

daniel_griffith (00:03.003)
okay it looks like we are recording okay hello and welcome to a another episode of denusion the daniel griffith podcast where we nurture quite often untamed and undomesticated conversation surrounding the ideological allusions of mother culture in a humble and very hopeful attempt to create a more beautiful world i have with me today gay brown the best selling author of

book dirt to soil a regenerative rancher and his own right and founding partner of understanding a and the soil health academy gave i feel ridiculous even interview or introducing you pre to this as we discussed in the prepodcast little time i wanted to do some research on some recent podcasts podcast that you recorded just so that i don't force have the same conversation twice and i was so immediately overwhelmed i was just scrolling i just typed in gate

and into apple podcast and i just scrolled and scrolled and scrolled and scrolled and so you are definitely not a new name to most of our listeners but regardless of that just thank you for being with us it's a pleasure

gabe_brown (01:15.66)
well thank you daniel it's really good to be with you today

daniel_griffith (01:19.203)
absolutely let's there's so many places to start with somebody like you and i don't know if this is a perfect place but i'll start here anyways regeneration as a term both in agriculture and in the consumers mind is growing expedentially and i see this as a very good thing with its rise we do right into some problems with understanding what it is and so maybe let's start there as as one of the original well maybe it origin

bad word but what of the premier kick starters of the modern regenerative movement someone who was in conventional agriculture and transition m about as many years ago as i am old i want to ask you what is regeneration what is regenerative agriculture and maybe why is it that to you

gabe_brown (02:12.9)
yeah that's a great question and i think it's difficult for many to hone in on a single definition but one that i like that we use is regenerative agriculture is farming and ranching in syncrany with nature to repair rebuild revitalize and restore eco system function beginning with all life in the soul

moving to all life above the soil and i really think that sums it up nicely you know one of the things we're seeing happen as regen has caught on and realize i've been in this a long long time and we didn't even call it region way back first it was you know it was about healthy soil and it was soil quality and finally it evolved into

the words regenerative agriculture and i really like that because regenerate means to renew and we are bringing life back into our ecosystems and it's not just the soil though it's our entire eco systems and so i like to take a more holistic approach that it's everything it's all encompassing from the smallest soil micro biology on up to us as human beings and are

interaction with nature and i think it's important that we keep that holistic approach in mind

daniel_griffith (03:50.923)
yeah absolutely repair revitalize and restore three words in that definition but when you are reading it i think this idea of bringing life back to nature right it has to begin in humility and in this assumption that we have taken life out of nature and that's that re portion what does that really mean though so like your background is in conventional agriculture conventional row cropping if i understand it you experienced

gabe_brown (04:09.38)
hm

gabe_brown (04:13.78)
yeah

daniel_griffith (04:20.843)
some sort of pain and i'm being vague there becase i want you to talk about that and and then you transitioned and so your transition to bringing life back to nature had a story you mind just really briefly a couple of minutes to tell that story

gabe_brown (04:28.76)
m

gabe_brown (04:32.98)
hm

sure i'll try and keep it brief so my wife and i now own our ranch right outside bismark north dakota which was first purchased by her parents back in nineteen fifty six and they farmed it very conventionally heavy tillage half summer follow half crop small grains set stock season long grazing on pastures with a cow herd they farmed it that way for thirty five years using

daniel_griffith (04:38.363)
yeah

gabe_brown (05:05.76)
men put some synthetic fertilizer serbicides little bit of fungesides little pest decides but when my wife and i purchased part of the operation from them it didn't take me long to see that the you know i couldn't summer follow half i needed to make land payments i needed to garner a profit on every acre and so i had read a lot about no tail sold all my tillage equipment bought an otel drill

then i was committed and that was back in nineteen ninety four nineteen ninety five came along and i tell how the day before i was going to start combining twelve hundred acres of spring wheat we lost a hundred percent of our crop to hale without any insurance and the father in law had farmed here thirty five years only had hale twice to a small extent so we just didn't think insurance was a good bye while i found out otherwise nineteen ninety six came along we lost a hundred

then of our crop hale again my wife and i took off farm jobs you know we had to sport of family had to make payments well i started to experiment with different things different cropping different crops because when that second hail storm occurred you know again the crop was matured but i had already combined some of the earlier crops so i started to diversify the rotation nineteen

ninety seven came along and we dried out nobody in the area combined an acre there was no crop to be had and so things are really tough than and i tell people that's when i went and i heard a rancher from from canada speak don campbell and he made this statement he said if you want to make small changes change the way you do things but if you want to make major changes change the way you see things and for whateve

reason that just stuck in my mind and i remember driving home and realizing if i was going to stay actively farming and ranching it was up to me well even though it was very dry that year i was able to see some fall by annuals some serra winter tretakal harry vatchand i noticed a real change in our soils where other people's winter week didn't germinate mine did because i was changing the soil structure we were starting

daniel_griffith (07:33.243)
m

gabe_brown (07:35.76)
see earthworms in the soil we were starting to see more life return to our ranch anyway to make a long story longer nineteen ninety eight came along and we lost eighty percent of our crop to hail but that hail storm occurred in june too late to get another cash crop seated but i did see some warm season annuals for forage and then i literally the truth is i did not have enough money to bail that forage up

so i just turned the cattle in in the winter and started winter grazing it well and behold they did well they did fantastic so that was my first four a so to speak into winter grazing and i tell people you know i'm a pretty slow learner i got to learn things the hard way while the good lord had to slap me four times before i really woke up and saw hey there's a different way of doing this because think of what happened during those years

ah the hail storm of course laid down a tremendous amount of bile mass on the soil surface well that's one of the six principles of soil health armour on the soil so then i was starting to diversify the crop rotation planting these false serials planting some forage crops so i was adding another principle diversity i was already now telling so i had that principle down then living root as long as possible throughout the year while i was planting these

fall seated by annuals capturing more solar energy i wasn't near smart enough to understand what was going on and at that time you know there was nobody else talking about that there was some people talking about no tail but they weren't talking about what's been come to known today as the six principles of soil health then the final principle you know animal and insect integration well me grazing these

annuals that i seated on the crop land i was integrating the live stock and what i really saw through those four years and shortly after was the resiliency of a natural echo system you know nature is always self organizing self regulating self healing well nature was healing itself because i wasn't screwing it up i didn't have the money to screw it up so nature was starting to repair rebuild and revitalize though

gabe_brown (10:05.8)
soils forming and you know i tell people i've just been truly blessed since then because it sent me on this thirty plus year journey of learning of education of understanding how ecosystems function and understanding that my role is to work with nature not against her and in so doing we've become very profitable and we now have a resilient ranch

daniel_griffith (10:37.723)
well do you think there's a lot of conversation that i'm involved with all about this idea of transition either from you know a modern eaters perspective and just trying to transition to a better food system to transition to you know a better diet et cetera do you think it's possible or do you think you would have transitioned as you transition without the hail like without the pain do you think pain is really required

gabe_brown (11:05.82)
well that's a very good question daniel in so often you know

the mother of invention is pain and suffering because i didn't have a choice you know i tell the story my neighbors were just looking licking their chops when the dumb city kid going to fail and we can buy his land well i'm pretty stubborn now that was never an option in my book you know so i would have made the transition to no tail because i was thinking you know i had switched to no tail before then but make no mistake about it

daniel_griffith (11:16.543)
right right

daniel_griffith (11:32.003)
m

gabe_brown (11:42.68)
the four years of natural disasters accelerated my transition however it's important for me to say there's people starting farmers ranchers starting down the regenerative path now they've done more in five years than i did in twenty years because they have the benefit of seeing you know every one that went before them and i'm glad i'll gladly share my story to help others because boy

what what i wouldn't have done for some kind of help back then i was very fortunate in that our local district conservation is j fear within r c s he took an interest in what i was doing and he saw the changes on the land and he will tell you that that revitalized his career and we became avid learners together pushing each other and you know they asked me to serve on the county soil conservation

district board of directors and that propelled things to another level but it's a learning process and the thing that perhaps it showed me the most daniel was that we need to be lifelong learners okay too often in agriculture and in life in general people get stuck in their ways they be they're comfortable and they don't want to step outside the box you know let me give you an example of that so i would speaking

in north east colorado and i had a young man come up to me after my presentation he said gabe how do i get my father and grandfather to diversify and i said well what do you what's your rotation now and he said well grand dad bought the farm in nineteen twenty six and we've never sown a crop other than winter week and i'm thinking man that's eighty ninety years think of that in you know to me

daniel_griffith (13:40.123)
right

gabe_brown (13:42.48)
that's it i said well you can't be making a living at that oh no he said we all have our farm jobs it's just a hobby well but he said i want to make it my livelihood i said well the good news is you can you know but we have to be lifelong learners you know henry ford said it best when he said whether you think you can or you think you cannot you're correct you know and you have to have that can do attitude and you have to want to learn you know i have i have several

lege degrees never once during all my studies did they talked about the six principles of soil health you know we hadn't come up with the three rules of adaptive stewardship now allen savory had talked about the four ecosystem processes but they weren't teaching us that in school you know our high schools aren't teaching it our college aren't teaching it extension isn't teaching it so you have to want to

daniel_griffith (14:33.323)
right

gabe_brown (14:43.26)
if you're a farmer rancher the good news is today as you said at the top of this podcast you know now you have the internet and there's all kinds of learning opportunities out there

daniel_griffith (14:55.263)
yeah yeah for sure and just bless that when you want to find a hundred and fifty different podcasts of gay brown let's yeah that's a yeah it was overwhelming um your work is prolific and that's a very very good thing um let's stay here for a minute though how we think um in the market place so let's switch over to the consumers ment

gabe_brown (15:03.3)
oh be a nightmare

daniel_griffith (15:25.043)
that in the market place we are being a pitched a very strange story which is that you know mammals are before is even humans that have worked on this globe for a long time now doesn't make a lot of sense and we need to be manufacturing meat and plants and you know changing that and i don't really want to get into the nutrition side because there's just no fun there makes you know no sense it's just us yelling yelling at some third person that's not here but maybe i want to get to this so in your definite

gabe_brown (15:25.26)
m

gabe_brown (15:48.06)
m

daniel_griffith (15:55.123)
of regeneration you have right repair revitalized restore and it was obviously much longer than that but even the term regeneration it's you said it beautifully bringing you know life back to nature and then you also include it in the in the definition of your understanding regeneration is this idea of wholistic thought meaning that we can't just regenerate the soil we have to look at the communities or i would say the souls of the communities are the souls of the rest of the like that inner work actually matters to what

gabe_brown (16:15.44)
m hm

daniel_griffith (16:25.103)
what does what does regenerative agriculture look like a truly regenerative agriculture true life returning back to nature in the modern world

gabe_brown (16:37.34)
that's a great question and i think we learned several lessons during the recent covid pandemic we learned how fragile the current food system is we learned that it's important to know your farmer a rancher and people tell me but gave i live in new york city i can't know my local farmer and i call b s on that you can't because you know i know many people who are selling

into new york city yeah they might be twenty miles away simply because of the size of the city but there as local as you can get i also know of many people who live in new york city who are producing their own food on a roof top in a small garden and you can do a lot of that you can produce much much more than you think possible and there is no better feeling in the world than biting into a tomato that

grew yourself and it's a real tomato not one of these fake orange yellow extent right you know and and i think we have to understand that you know society has evolved whether right or wrong to this point in time where there was max exited from rural america into cities but i think you're starting to see it move back out you know

daniel_griffith (17:40.943)
yeah

gabe_brown (18:07.2)
i am in bismark north dakota and when covid we were always in a growing boom here a lot of it because of the energy industry but when covid hit it was unbelievable what happened to the housing market in my local community because people were leaving minyapplis in chicago in droves to get to a smaller community one that still offered the amenities they wanted but it's also one where you can

by local food and i think we're going to see a continued movement from large large scale production models to ones that are more local and this is where the opportunity you know i get contacted on a daily basis from young people who want to get into agriculture and i tell all of them there is more opportunity now than there has ever been

and they say ah but the land cost is so high you don't have to own the land okay there's plenty of land available at a reasonable price you just have to understand how to establish your niece so to speak and then grow as your business and your profits grow so i think we can move to a much more localized system you know i was in the super market here just a few weeks

go and here i am bismark north dakota well the geographical center of north america is less than one hundred miles from my ranch okay so that'll tell you where i'm at and they were selling peppers from denmark now you tell me how that makes any sense at all think of the fossil fuels that were used to get that pepper from denmark to bismark north dakota and then think of what about the quality you know is the quality there the freshness to

daniel_griffith (20:02.403)
yeah

gabe_brown (20:07.06)
tito nutrients that we need that's another whole story

daniel_griffith (20:11.023)
do you think do you think that if that pepper doin denmark was grown regeneratively that it is a good thing for it to be in the bus mark north of carita grocery store or not a good thing when i say good i realize that that's nebulous regenerative thing is it a regenerative thing is it not do you have an opinion on that

gabe_brown (20:24.24)
yeah

gabe_brown (20:28.88)
first of all it's regenerative from the standpoint it was grown in healthy soils but we cannot consider it regenerative when it uses that much fossil fuel to get where it needs where it ends up that that just you know i know plenty of people around the bismark area who have grown plenty of peppers maybe that means we need to eat a little more seasonally but what's wrong with that what's wrong with

daniel_griffith (20:57.683)
right

gabe_brown (20:58.6)
that you know i mean you know it's kind of like right now here we are recording this in february in north decota you try and find a decent grape at the store you know they're not real grapes okay they're just disgusting and the reason is it's lack of freshness lack of you know growing close to home it's just the wrong season we get we got to eat more seasonally everybody put it

daniel_griffith (21:28.343)
takes

gabe_brown (21:28.86)
roast in the oven ot roast potatoes and carrots still abound february northdecota

daniel_griffith (21:37.183)
even here in virginia i mean i grew up in north east ohio right in the snow belt right under lake erie and so you know negative twenty degrees and a bunch of snow is was you know seasonal for us and obviously where you're at as a different different world i listen to one of your presentations on youtube years ago in one of the things you were making a joke about winter how like cats usually get on the car hoods and you kind of picture of a cow on the top of a cow top of what

gabe_brown (22:02.3)
go to the vehicle

yeah yeah yeah

daniel_griffith (22:06.443)
are just you know joking about and you know in ohio is very different than that but even in virginia like to get you know fruit in the middle of february it's atrocious like our kids we have we have three kids their five and under all of them were born on the farm and we call them our forest scremlins because they have just they were born and they never looked back and that they just farm full time with us and it is what it is but their palates are really refined really refined like

gabe_brown (22:15.32)
hm yeah

gabe_brown (22:26.7)
m hm

daniel_griffith (22:37.003)
our two year old like home made horse radish and sour crout more than she likes you know cheesy doodles are i don't know what kids eat today like you could put her she just doesn't know him right like as long as she doesn't know a cheesy doodle she loves the bite of a horse rat i get i'm getting off my plate but i gave some we bought some blueberries recently from the from the store and our kids couldn't eat them we put him in front and our five year old to dad they're nasty and the other the three year old son is like there's so

gabe_brown (22:37.06)
m

gabe_brown (22:42.94)
wow that's great

gabe_brown (22:47.66)
hm

gabe_brown (22:51.22)
hm

gabe_brown (22:59.78)
yep yep

daniel_griffith (23:06.523)
k and juicy and like they immediately recognize there is a truly unhealthy aspect to transporting food that distance

gabe_brown (23:08.52)
hm yep

gabe_brown (23:15.02)
absolutely and that gets into the fact that i honestly believe the vast majority of people upwards ninety five plus per cent have not tasted truly nutria dance food you know your children have and they recognized that but you know i travel more than a little bit okay and and two hunder an eighty plus days on the road each year and people ask how

do it well the secret is i carry my own food with me because otherwise i'd never do it that there's no way i could eat that you know i sit in airport after airport and i look at what i just i just can't do it you know i bring my own food with me because once your body taste it your body knows you know and that gets to a whole another topic of we have to get back to the point where we're truly using

daniel_griffith (23:50.583)
yep

daniel_griffith (23:59.663)
yeah

daniel_griffith (24:05.843)
yeah

gabe_brown (24:15.)
food as medicine preventative medicine you know which is what it is food should be our preventative medicine and i think this holistic approach takes all that into account where we're using food as preventative medicine

daniel_griffith (24:34.783)
what you know i'm happy for you to defer this this question but when when it comes down to producing food in a regenerative fashion that relies on input from another operation what do you think the relationship between those two operations and the term regenerative is like does that make does hat make the question makes sense

gabe_brown (24:48.62)
hm

gabe_brown (24:54.56)
yeah it does and i'm certainly not going to pass on that question because i think you bring up a very important point is that to truly be regenerative we need to rely on you know what i call natural capital in other words the energy flow the natural nutrient cycle the water cycle you know

we've gotten away from that where agriculture today as often you know the soil is simply used as a medium to hold a plant up right we don't look at what is the energy cycle you know the water cycle the nutrient cycle we have to look at these things so if you have two farms ranch is in close proximity and they're helping each other move down that regenerative path that's one thing okay

you know where where at least they're moving in the right direction i don't want to say no they're not regenerative but if you are exporting you know your products thousands of miles away i don't know how that could possibly you know be regenerative you know yeah and you know full disclosure here at this point in time you know

daniel_griffith (26:18.583)
it

gabe_brown (26:24.36)
we're not selling all of our pastured proteins locally we just haven't developed a big enough market yet so we are shipping some of those but make no mistake about it it's our goal that we sell everything locally and we'll get there we'll get through

daniel_griffith (26:38.823)
yeah

daniel_griffith (26:49.503)
um give me a second

gabe_brown (26:52.02)
no problem

that's happened to me way more than once daniel way more than once

daniel_griffith (26:58.143)
you got me you got me so ecusitei wanted to ask another question i just totally joked

gabe_brown (27:03.64)
it happens

daniel_griffith (27:18.703)
i keep trying to begin it i know it's just an

daniel_griffith (27:23.743)
totally down the wrong pipe

gabe_brown (27:25.46)
yep

daniel_griffith (27:27.303)
it seems necessary though in your definition excuse me your definition there's a progress that regeneration needs to uncaptulate this idea of progress of getting better

gabe_brown (27:40.18)
hm

yeah and you right there you gave me the perfect soft ball of why my partners and i at understanding i started the verification company called regentified so we had no desire i'm one that i think that the best verification one can have is an open door policy with their customers and you know we have an open door policy on our ram

anybody can walk on it at any time and look at anything and that's our best sales pitch and it really builds trust with our customers because they know we have nothing to hide okay so in saying that what we were seeing is a green washing so to speak we have a lot of companies that are making these claims you know we're gonna

we're gonna source from regenerative we're going a source regeneratively growing products from a million acres five million acres whatever the case may be well then is it really regenerative let me give you this example i spend the majority of my time now on zoom meetings with boarded directors and heads of sustainability from large companies

and i had a large company that contacted me and they wanted understanding eggs helped sourcecing regeneratively grown so beans for their to use as biofuel and i said sure we can do that so i laid out a program where we had educated the producers we had helped guide them down the regenerative path presented that to that head of sustainability and they said we'll know all we want to know is

gabe_brown (29:42.)
if there are no tail their regenerative and i said no they're not that's not regenerative in any way you know it's one small step well they just well we're not spending that much money and i said well then you truly don't want to source regenerative products so we form the company regenerfied and regenerfied mission is to move regeneration throughout the supply chain what makes

daniel_griffith (29:44.543)
uh uh

gabe_brown (30:11.98)
regentified a bit unique is it's entirely inclusive doesn't matter if your conventional regenerative organic does not matter everybody can apply and then base line tests are done and it's a series of soil tests observations measurements probably one of the most comprehensive sweet tests in the business then a year later

and you have to have a plan you have to have a plan to adopt the six principles the three rules to drive the four eco system processes and this is where it really gets a bit unique as compared to some of the other verifications out there it moves that producer along and that producer is only compared to him or herself so in other words we're not comparing their farm to one that may or may not

exist it's did they move in the right direction did they start adopting the six principles do we see more soil aggregation is the water infiltration improving do they have more armor on the soil are they increasing by diversity these whole metrics are measured and then they have that moves them if they are then they qualify for a higher tier then they can start claiming that they're regenerative and moving down this path but they

have to continue moving down this path so this gets to the question about okay are they just exporting too much nutrience off their place or are they using things like wind energy and solar and and biodecils growing on their farm how are they doing because the whole goal is to narrow it and move everybody together and you know my partners and i put in the funding to start regentified but

daniel_griffith (32:05.243)
right

gabe_brown (32:12.04)
a stand alone company celarcmerani is our c dug peterson who many are familiar with dog had an extensive career within r c s as a sol health specialist he's the scientific officer for regentified and dog has done a tremendous job putting these protocols together in fact it was so good that that whole foods approve them without any changes

and the first regentified products will be in whole foods market here very shortly but that's the goal how do we get everybody moving together and advancing according to their context you know and realize dane your context in virginia is much much different than mine here in north dakota it does no good to compare me my operation to yours because it's totally different environment and that's one of the beautiful things about

daniel_griffith (33:03.323)
right

daniel_griffith (33:09.623)
right

gabe_brown (33:11.96)
gentrified let's move everybody together and on the same page and i am in no way down playing any of these other standards and verification processes i say hey we need them all let's all move together that's what this is about how do we make the world a better place

daniel_griffith (33:16.903)
yeah

daniel_griffith (33:28.923)
yeah

daniel_griffith (33:32.303)
absolutely absolutely um and you can answer this as as gay brown or regenified and that's up to you do you think there's a cap a number bound to a farm size when it comes down to the idea of regeneration or have you experienced that let me ask the question very directly can you regenerate a million acres

gabe_brown (33:41.36)
hm

gabe_brown (33:50.98)
oh

gabe_brown (33:59.22)
well understanding g is currently consulting on over thirty three million acres kay our largest client is over two million acres and they are moving forward so the answer is yes but it has to be in that specific context okay and i think you can regenerate any landscape but i myself i go back to masenabo's quote where he says that

health of the land is directly related to the number of footsteps on that land if you're really going to as my partner shane news says become intentional you have to set foot on the land you know not to throw anybody under the boss but i have a neighbor who farms over forty thousand crop land acres i have never ever they've been farming as long as i have here since nineteen eighty three i have never ever not

want seeing them stuck stick a shovel in the soil you know they may think they're regenerating landscape but boy you know you really got to want to when you get into larger landscapes it can be done but it's going to occur faster on smaller landscapes

daniel_griffith (35:22.263)
that's interesting do you think speed matters

gabe_brown (35:28.94)
realize you know that question is a bit loaded question because in nature's eye a hundred years is the blink of an eye okay we as human beings want the future we wanted yesterday okay you know i often get asked because i'm getting longer the tooth and short of hair you know am i pleased with the progression of regenerative agg and i am ecstatic of especially what's

in the last three years you know fifteen years ago i mean it was like beating your head against the wall well now you can't hardly pick up a farm magazine when i see john deer's magazine the furrow where the majority of articles talk about regenerative egg we're making progress you know and now when i read that they quit producing the plough we're really making progress right so it can't occur fast enough for my liking but realized

at you know the first fifteen years were really slow than the next ten it went faster and now it's really moving along at a pretty good clip

daniel_griffith (36:42.203)
that was going to be one question i didn't want to ask you i wanted to ask you on this on this conversation you know people like like i know allen savory is much older than you but you know allen savery gave brown all of these people you're not aging out i don't want to say that but you know there's definitely new generation and well you're you're still active you're still traveling two hunder and ight days out of the year i wanted your opinion though you know because there's so many new faces there's so many new voices

gabe_brown (37:00.66)
we are it's okay daniel we are

gabe_brown (37:11.76)
m

daniel_griffith (37:11.863)
i see this this grand diversity as a very great thing but i don't know looking back between the nineteen eighties and today i want to i wanted your your view on it

gabe_brown (37:20.76)
yeah and and my view is great there's nothing i enjoy better than sitting back and listen and watching a young person who is you know three to five years into this journey and they're all excited and seeing major changes and they want to share that with somebody great have at it i'll gladly step aside gladly i think it's fantastic one of the things the most gratifying things

i see about and if you call it a movement this regenerative movement is the willingness to help other people you know i mentioned how when i started i had nobody to call you know and there was not the internet or anything way back then so now today i can literally take my cell phone and call anywhere in the world and talk to people about regenerative ag and they're willing to reciprocate and share

and this doesn't have to be a competition this should be a community one that's alive and caring for each other and sharing information and that gets back to why my partners and i started understanding a it was all about education and we simply saw the difference using the principles and rules to drive the processes what a difference that made in our lives in our family's lives into the echo system

and we want to share that we want o spread the education

daniel_griffith (38:55.563)
what was your biggest surprise in building and running understanding ag echologically socially i don't know

gabe_brown (39:01.84)
yeah yeah the biggest surprise hands down you know we have not been running for we haven't had our five fifth year anniversary yet and over thirty three million acres actively consulting on with realized we get requests from all over the world that thirty three million acres is almost entirely in the united states we're doing a little bit in england and ireland now but

i just can't believe the hunger and the thirst for this knowledge it is it's overwhelming and our biggest challenge quite frankly is finding experience consultants that by far is our biggest challenge you know the work we got plenty of work so but it's exciting i'm glad that there's the hunger and the knowledge and you know i just

spoke to a college group in minnesota and i told those young people i said man if there was ever anything to get into this regenerative agriculture it's it's just ripe you know there's so many opportunities in it right now yeah

daniel_griffith (40:19.583)
yeah it's almost like this is where humanity as a species is supposed to be echologically and with a turn of the world

gabe_brown (40:24.84)
well exactly daniel in one phrase that we've trade marked at understanding egg is common ground for common good i mentioned how i spend most of my time now talking to boards of directors heads of sustainability i might be talking to communities you know heads of a community and what i've found is i have to find okay where do we have common ground so if i'm talking to a community that has

an issue with their drinking water okay there's my common ground i'm going to approach it from what do they wish to see well they want clean drinking water okay what do we in agriculture regenerative egg have to offer them well that's easy we can hold the nutrince on the landscape we can take advantage of the natural nutrient cycle they will have cleaner drinking water if i'm talking to a group maybe maybe it's in a a t

on a rural community that is impoverished well what can regina offer were seeing a marked increase in the demand for these air loom grains let's start up that old elevator on main street and get it to handle regeneratively verified grains i know of a small town in minnesota that that it's unbelievable every day there's rail cars in and out of

small town now because they're growing such a product so we find common ground there you know if find talking to consumers then that's an easy one we talk human health in the work that we're doing showing that food that's grown in and on healthy soils is higher in these phitonutrient compounds that's all about human health and everybody you know that resonates with them so you have to find common

ground for common good my belief is that as a society we can agree on eighty five plus percent of the things why don't we focus on them don't worry about those fifteen per cent you know i've testified front of congress and talk about a lesson in futility both sides of the ant want the same thing but they're too bullheaded to realize they just got to work on the common ground of that you know we got to find common ground

gabe_brown (42:54.7)
for common good and i think the time is ripe for that and we can do that and regenerative agriculture can play a huge role in that you know and i don't like to to i don't know i don't call it climate change i think the climate is always changing i think we're seeing the results of decades of poor practices both in agriculture and other industries

daniel_griffith (43:00.963)
yeah

daniel_griffith (43:06.083)
yeah

gabe_brown (43:25.04)
and that's negatively affecting the climate but i think regenerative agriculture can play a major role in taking that carbon back out of the atmosphere and putting it back into the soil cycle where it belongs

daniel_griffith (43:39.323)
yeah

yeah you know there's a lot of conversations and i'm sure you're around all of these and probably equally as annoyed with them but you know can regenerative agriculture actually feed the world or do we need an industrial you know monolithic type approach and that i'm done go ahead that's perfect

gabe_brown (43:57.06)
can i answer that briefly okay so so can re jan egg feed the world well let me let me use my own ranch as a scenario there kay so i grow a wheat crop my neighbor grows a week okay maybe the neighbor yields a little more than me now in saying that my proven yields are about twenty per cent higher than average in the county but say he yields more than me

okay but then after i grow that wheat crop i grow a cover crop and then i grazed my grass finished beef on there i grazed my grass finished lamb on there my bees are harvesting nectar so they're producing honey off there then my my laying hens follow the beef in the sheep so i'm getting eggs off there then maybe i run my broilers across there so we're producing broiler chickens now you tell me who's going to feed the world first

i just produced way way more calories of nutrient dance food than did my neighbor okay which is going to provide more jobs which is going to stimulate the economy which is going to give cleaner water cleaner air which is going to sequester more carbon okay now if you want to have this argument with me you better be ready you know i know you don't but i'm just i'm just saying people who want to make that statement

daniel_griffith (45:03.503)
m

daniel_griffith (45:18.583)
yeah yeah not not not me you're totally right

gabe_brown (45:26.82)
they need to pull their head out of the sand because it's just a total mute point it's not even close okay yeah

daniel_griffith (45:32.583)
yeah i was i was doing some consulting in kentucky with this organization that aggregates a bunch of chicken houses for lack of a better term and and i was talking to the individual who was kind of the boots on the ground and he said showed up you know heat index was like a hundred and twelve degrees in kentucky that day and were all just sweating and he first thing he tells me even before we got to the shade moved off to the shade was i don't believe retenterative agriculture can feed the world just know that i'm on

gabe_brown (45:42.6)
hm

gabe_brown (46:01.9)
m hm

daniel_griffith (46:02.923)
i'm going to show you around but i don't think i feed the world and i said well you know why why why do you think this and he said if everybody in the state of kentucky were to eat one egg today our organization couldn't produce one percent of those eggs and they're a particularly large organization and then i was with another fellow on our team who's much more quick thinking than i am and he goes well what if everyone in the state of kentucky had two chickens in their back yard you wouldn't even need to egg

yes and and his face just dropped i mean he had he had no response for it and you know highly productive land and you know as you are describing and two chickens in the back yard those are two different approaches to you know cracking the same proverbial egg

gabe_brown (46:34.28)
exactly exactly yeah yeah

gabe_brown (46:46.9)
but but they're really they're really not when you think olistically they're really not two different approaches you know you look at the amount of produce that can be going grown ink a regenerative garden i mean you know our garden here on our ranch is may be a hundred feet by hundred feet you know and we feed five immediate fat

daniel_griffith (46:52.403)
m

gabe_brown (47:16.76)
les plus sell copious amounts of produce i mean most people's backyards are smaller than that you know so it's really not as far fetched as one might think

daniel_griffith (47:29.583)
yeah especially when we see life as local you know that we talked about earlier you know especially you know if you need to produce a certain amount in the bread basket of the united states and ship it all over the world than yeah you know we need to be producing a lot which is debatable

gabe_brown (47:33.44)
hm hm

gabe_brown (47:43.22)
but but we should talk about that is it our responsibility to feed the world isn't it their responsibility to feed themselves well i think we do more harm feeding the world than as if they would feed themselves look look at the health crisis that's going on all over the world and you wonder how much of that is because we're feeding them food that's not high in these phitonutrient

daniel_griffith (47:49.243)
m what do you think

gabe_brown (48:12.46)
and it's not the foods that they were you know that they their ancestors eight come on you know you know i i have two grand children in and they come stay with us here last month and their parents brought some some food for them and there was some crackers and i counted forty nine

daniel_griffith (48:19.343)
right

gabe_brown (48:41.92)
an ingredient on in on that cracker box and i'm going that isn't food that's a food like substance but it's not food you know there's no way you can consider that food right impossible

daniel_griffith (48:50.043)
yeah

daniel_griffith (48:54.963)
yeah

yep it's it's true we have so much re learning to do repairing and revitalizing restoring learning regenerating so much good work to be done

gabe_brown (48:58.72)
yep

gabe_brown (49:08.74)
hm

gabe_brown (49:12.24)
yeah but but the important thing is

daniel_griffith (49:13.123)
so much

gabe_brown (49:18.)
the snowball i feel is finally at the top of the hill and it's starting to roll down and it's picking up momentum i mean there are so many organizations out there that are doing good work i mean for instance i'll just throw one name out the work that dr jonathan long dicas foundation are doing on the thousand farms initiative largest bio diversity study ever undertaken i mean it's fantastic we need things like this to show at that hey we need to

make a change and then the other thing is you know i remember i spent many many a day talking to groups of five or ten well now we're talking to groups of hundreds that are shown up to learn about the principles rules and processes and that's a good thing the interest is getting larger the knowledge is expanding you know the excitement pilding it's an opportunity it's an opportunity to really

daniel_griffith (49:49.083)
yeah

gabe_brown (50:17.62)
good difference

daniel_griffith (50:18.983)
yeah

yeah it's true well thank you we could talk all day i don't want to take all of your time you're an important business man doing good work and any last thoughts anything you want to tell our listeners that you have in your mind

gabe_brown (50:34.22)
well you know i ended my book this way and i always try and just make a difference each of us you know maybe you can make a difference with that school teacher maybe you can make a difference by helping someone you know start a garden this year you know grow some of your own food it teaches our children something very important and you're making a difference if all of us just try to do our part in making

difference will drive big change

daniel_griffith (51:08.103)
absolutely absolutely well thank you game that has been an absolute pleasure

gabe_brown (51:13.82)
it was a real pleasure being with you daniel

daniel_griffith (51:16.183)
thank you

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