"For me, regenerative agriculture is not about stopping working the land. It's doing everything to keep it running for a long time," explains Josh Lloyd, a wheat farmer in Kansas.
Today, like some Mexican farmers in Hidalgo, Jalisco, Sinaloa, and Sonora, Josh knows that the soil is not eternal and the land requires gentle farming practices to regenerate. So farmers have adopted a traditional method that is more valid today than ever: regenerative agriculture.
Currently, monocultures, poor plowing techniques, removal of good grass, and excessive fertilization erode soils beyond the process of natural evolution. Gradually, agriculture removes the most fertile layer of land, so more aggressive practices are increasingly necessary to obtain the desired yields in planting corn, wheat, and other products.
Globally, 33% of soils are degraded, and it takes about a thousand years to produce centimeters of topsoil! According to FAO calculations, arable land has lost between 25 and 75 percent of coal, which is sent into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
The deterioration of the soils causes imbalances throughout the ecosystem, like the loss of water. Although the cycle of erosion seems endless, Josh and many other farmers worldwide are looking for another destination.
The regenerative agriculture they use is born from a simple idea: to improve the ecosystem by regenerating the soil, increasing water filtration and retention, and returning biodiversity to the agricultural landscape. Having healthy soils that require less fertilizer, Josh explains.
If 95% of our food comes from the soil, the change in farming methods is potentially beneficial.
David Hernández, Global VP of Procurement, added: "Regenerative agriculture is farming with nature instead of going against it, and it´s one of the ways in which we will fight against global warming. Working on soil health It will also help harness resources and support farmers by promoting these practices."
The size of the problem is the goal that Grupo Bimbo has set. By 2030, Grupo Bimbo will ensure that 200,000 hectares of wheat are grown through regenerative agriculture; in 2050, all the critical ingredients of the products will come from this type of crop.
Since 2018, and with the help of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMyT), Grupo Bimbo has implemented sustainable practices in Sonora and Sinaloa for wheat and Jalisco for corn. And visits have also been made to crucial producers in Mexico and the United States to understand the context they face.
For Jorge Zárate, Global Director of Operations at GB, "it's about giving back to the earth what it deserves. The earth has fed us for a long time, and we want it to continue there for the people who come after us."
Regenerative agriculture allows for better quality ingredients and, as if that were not enough, expands the possibility of capturing more carbon dioxide emitted into the environment.
Today it is visible to everyone that agricultural cycles have become unpredictable, and producers suffer from violent climate changes. Josh sees regenerative agriculture as the change to end these events, and he tells us, "I want to be more in control of my destiny and rebuild my soil in the long run to increase yield. Producers who don't move regeneratively, at some point, will be in trouble." For example, they look and live differently by introducing beneficial grass into their lands. In addition, he says that "by keeping something growing all the time, we do not see erosion."
According to FAO, more than 68 million people have left their localities due to the harmful effects of climate change and soil erosion! And at Grupo Bimbo, we are part of the solution through our sustainability strategy.