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Going on the Offense with Regenerative Agriculture in Tennessee

June 20, 2022
Mitchell Hora (front) and Jeremiah Durbin (back) pulling soil samples from Tennessee farms.

Going on the Offense with Regenerative Agriculture (featuring Mitchell Hora and Jeremiah Durbin)



Now more than ever, farmers are challenged with keeping valuable topsoil on fields, fostering soil that can retain water during periods of drought, and bringing back life to our soils so that they can provide for us long into the future. Healthy soils filter pollutants, store carbon, and infiltrate water, keeping our rivers and streams cleaner and healthier. The continual implementation of soil health practices is part of regenerative agriculture (sometimes referred to as RegenAg) that promotes farming in balance with what nature already does well.

The regenerative agriculture movement is not necessarily new and follows many practices that Indigenous communities have used for centuries. Common regenerative techniques that are part of the current movement include cover cropping, where crops are planted in the soil after a cash crop is harvested instead of leaving the soil bare, and no-till, which leaves the soil in place rather than plowing. These practices help maintain living roots in the soil, increase water infiltration, and improve future growth in those soils.

In this episode of River Talks, we are joined by two leading soil health entrepreneurs and innovators, Mitchell Hora and Jeremiah Durbin. Together, they share how we can scale-up the implementation of regenerative agriculture by going on the offense, using big data and technology, and leaning into a future of farming that helps companies, consumers, and growers meet both their environmental and profit goals.

About Mitchell Hora: 

Mitchell Hora is a 7th generation Iowa farmer and founder of Continuum Ag, a company to help farmers quantify and improve their soil health. Continuum Ag has a global network of over 36 states and 14 countries represented in one of the largest private soil health databases. The TopSoil Tool helps farmers use soil health data to start crop production on the right foot and to assess opportunities to improve regenerative farm management. He was recently named to Forbes list of 30 Under 30 in the Social Impact category.

About Jeremiah Durbin: 

Jeremiah Durbin is an independent crop consultant and owner of Sustainable Legacy Consulting. He is also the Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts Soil Health Specialist and part of the topsoil team working with farmers to advance regenerative processes. He collaborates with Mitchell on a variety of projects and efforts in the region.

In this Podcast:

  • The basics of soil health and how it is connected to water quality.
  • An exploration of how to encourage the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices at scale through partnerships, supply chain transparency, market forces, and technical advice.
  • The role of big data and technology in driving best practices.
  • How to go on the offense against environmental change with regenerative agriculture.
  • The ways big and small scale farms can implement regenerative agriculture.

Learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode:

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Get Certified as a River Friendly Farm with the Cumberland River Compact!

Join a community of farmers who exemplify land and water stewardship and are committed to ensuring a healthy and resilient future for generations to come. The River Friendly Farms certification program recognizes farmers who are good stewards of land and water resources, educates the public about the importance of their efforts, and supports their conservation journey.