Intercropping helps keep the soil covered. Here clover is sown underneath a young cereal crop.

In this project three Monmouthshire farmers are being mentored in how to convert their land to regenerative agriculture – a way of managing the land that focuses on soil health and using natural processes to manage pests and diseases and grow healthy crops. Each farmer will receive twelve months of mentoring from Ben Taylor-Davies (Regen Ben), a world expert on regenerative agriculture who farms just over the border in Herefordshire. Together, Ben and the participating farmers will explore opportunities for integrating regenerative principles into the farm business to reduce reliance on artifical inputs and imported feed, and increase the farm’s financial and environmental resilience.

There are lots of opinions about what ‘regenerative agriculture’ really means, but one of the most widespread is the five ‘core principles’:

  • keep the soil covered (to reduce erosion and compaction)
  • disturb the soil as little as possible (to avoid damaging the soil structure and living organisms within it)
  • keep living roots in the soil (to improve the soil structure and maintain the living organisms with in)
  • grow a wide range of crops (each crop interacts differently with the soil, giving and taking in different ways)
  • integrate animals into the system (our soils and plants evolved with animals grazing, trampling, and dunging, so animals are part of a naturally balanced system)

The regenerative farming mentoring scheme is being delivered by regenerative agriculture expert, Ben Taylor Davies, also known as Regen Ben, in collaboration with the Monmouthshire Food Partnership, Size of Wales, ACE Monmouth and Wye Valley National Landscape.

The Talk Farm Regen Monmouthshire discussion group can be found on Facebook. There are a series of upcoming events for members of the group. The first event was an introduction to regenerative farming held in October 2023. It is supported by Monmouthshire County Council through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund