Films like Kiss the Ground are bringing about greater awareness of regenerative agriculture as a key solution to our climate crisis. Despite the rising awareness of the benefits of soil health and regenerative agriculture – especially as it relates to the potential for carbon sequestration – for many it is still difficult to fully comprehend the range of opportunities that come along with it.
In order to achieve the ambitious Farm Bill reform priorities outlined in the Regenerate America campaign, real support is needed from those who will be writing and voting on the next Farm Bill: members of the House and Senate, especially those on the agriculture committees.
Seeing is believing – farm tours are one of the best ways to create truly impactful “aha” moments around the incredible opportunities available through the adoption of regenerative agriculture, and in turn, translate to legislative support for farmers and soil health programs.
It is imperative that representatives from the agriculture committees, as well as other key members of Congress, are taken on tours of successful regenerative farms in their own districts. When elected officials experience the impact of regenerative agriculture for their constituents and communities first-hand, their perspectives change and their support for investing in education, technical support, and local processing, and infrastructure grows.
The National Policy Farm Tour and Education Program was launched in July 2021, and the first tour was with Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA) in August 2021. Rep. Feenstra visited the farm of Howard Vleiger, along with one staffer and a local NRCS agent. Prior to the visit, both Rep. Feenstra and the NRCS agent watched Kiss the Ground, the movie. The tour was co-led by Ray Archuleta; after the tour, Rep. Feenstra gave Ray his phone number and thanked him for the informative tour.
Thanks so much for setting this up! I learned a lot. I can now talk knowledgeably about soil and its health.” – Rep. Feenstra
On November 9, 2021, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s staffers (R-NE) Alan Feyerherm (Comms Director) and Reyn Archer (Senior Policy Advisor) visited Knuth Farms, in Mead, NE, and Christensen Farms in Lyons, NE. They also viewed the land adjacent for the possible location of the Maya Regeneration Project with Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim.
The tour was led by Graham Christensen and Laura Thomas of GC Resolve, with support from host farmer Angela Knuth, of Knuth Farms and Luis Marcos, Co-Executive Director of Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim; additional attendees included Randy Ruppert, President of Nebraska Communities United, and Matt Rasmussen, a realtor that is helping guide the process for the Maya Regeneration Project.
Your passion and drive has touched our hearts and seared in our brains some critical things we might do to help drive your success forward. It was a great day” – Reyn Archer
On November 13, 2021, Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) visited Paicines Ranch, near Hollister, CA, for a tour led by Director of Learning Elaine Patarini and Vineyard Operator Kelly Mulville. Additional attendees included Rep. Panetta’s District Director, Susie Brusa; KTG Farmland Director, Kylie Wagner; and Paicines Ranch Communications Director, Negan Mendenhall.
Over the course of the tour, ranch manager Kelly Mulville, the designer of the regenerative system in place at Paicines Ranch, and Elaine Patarini, the Director of the Paicines Ranch Learning Center, demonstrated how a regenerative system holistically benefits the soil, the environment, and the community.