As farmers grapple with climate change, many are turning to regenerative agriculture practices. These techniques help store carbon in the soil and make the land more resilient to extreme weather. The approach is increasingly popular, but not new.

“Regenerative agriculture … is really just a return to how this landscape evolved with the Indigenous communities as the stewards prior to 1492,” says Kelsey Ducheneaux-Scott, director of programs for the Intertribal Agriculture Council and owner of DX Beef.

“My favorite thing to do is introduce myself as a fourth-generation cow-calf producer, but a 125th-generation land steward of the Great Plains,” she says.

On her ranch in South Dakota, Ducheneaux-Scott uses regenerative grazing methods. She rotates where her cattle roam, so the grass can rest and grow deeper roots. And as the animals move, they drop manure that adds nutrients to the soil.

“We’re really trying to encourage our cattle to impact the land in the way that the bison did as the Great Plains was evolving,” she says.

Ducheneaux-Scott says her goal is to nurture not just her animals, but the plants, wildlife, soil, and people.

“At the end of my prayer in Lakota, we say ‘mitakuye oyasin,’ which means ‘We are all related,’” she says.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media