Establish a verifiable regenerative poultry feed supply chain with a focus on small grains and as part of a fully integrated system.
The strategy behind regenerative grains is to integrate primarily small grains into alley cropping systems, thereby restoring the hydrology of the soil (reducing impact and above ground flow during rain events while increasing absorption, retention, retrieval, nutrient flows and large-scale soil biology). Even though grains are for the most part degenerative, as they require the removal of native ecologies in order to grow them, there are ways to reconcile and reduce the impact of annual crops needed for people’s food as well as poultry. Other livestock, when raised regeneratively, do not require grains, but poultry (egg layers, broilers and turkey) evolved eating grains and sprouts as part of their regular daily diet.
For large-scale poultry production to be regenerative, we must align the sources of grains, how they are produced, distance they travel, genetics and other critical considerations. Poultry production increases also means the availability of a larger supply of manure fertilizer, which when combined with regional grain production allows for the expansion of perennial cropping systems into larger landscape settings where grains are produced while fully integrated as part of the regenerative poultry system.
A key part of managing grain production within a regenerative poultry system is to integrate the economics, infrastructure, politics and culture behind grain production. By economics we mean allowing grain producers within the system to own part of the value added up the supply chain. In some cases, a grain farmer can cooperate with a small farmer to provide them with land access to raise poultry, generating an “on-farm” market for the grain on the rest of their property. As the poultry production grows, mapping out sub-regions for grain production is critical so that aggregation, grinding, packaging and delivery of grain to the same region’s poultry producers becomes part of a single system.
We don’t see a farm as a system in itself, but rather as a critical component in a larger ecological and economic ecosystem it has the power to influence. No matter how large and no matter where on earth it is located, each farm is part of a larger ecological, social and economic system blueprint and each farm operation is exposed to market and economic forces over which it has no control. As part of these systems, however, a farm that operates as a component of an interdependent collective can influence the whole economy of the sector it participates in.
It is with this larger concept of systems development that grains become a critical part of the RAA’s ecosystem management. We seek to aggregate the value of each grain farm producer and to organize this sub-sector to design protocols and standards and strategies for protecting, defending and scaling-up their own interest within the larger regenerative poultry ecosystem and in turn, regenerative poultry’s role within the regenerative agriculture ecosystem.