Why Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative Agriculture....What is it?

First, I want to be clear that to me regenerative agriculture is no thing.

It is not a prescription, it is not a recipe.

Rather, it is series of tools accompanied with a perspective that allows for natural function to take place.

It is a way of seeing things that allows for the utilisation and support of natural cycles.

In the past we have been operating in a very linear fashion controlling and manipulating the way that nature operates.

This presents itself as lots of expensive treatments of symptoms which have many negative side effects.

We grow monocultures and spray out any competition like it is an enemy.

As a result, our plants are very susceptible to insect and disease attack, so what do we do then?

We spray all the insects with insecticides and often coat the seeds we grow with insecticides also as though insects are also an enemy.

The disease that grows on these unhealthy mono crops because of poor biological function is then sprayed with fungicides, further decreasing the plants ability to work with soil microbiology.

What we end up with, are sterile, compacted soils that are prone to disease outbreak and require constant feeding of nutrients and water.

We operate as though nature is the enemy when in fact nature can do all of the things that we spend most of our time and energy doing.

What’s missing is an understanding of these natural cycles and what is required to allow them to thrive.

Regenerative agriculture allows for systems that produce outcomes that improve profitability, water and nutrient cycling, biodiversity, plant health, animal health, farmer, and consumer health.

With Regenerative Agriculture, everyone wins.

It is one great organism where soil microbes work with plants that support animals and humans alike whilst supporting a vast array of other insects’ birds and wildlife, all of which work together in a symbiotic manner.

Often it is a case of getting out of the way and allowing nature to do what she does best.

She has been doing it for millions and millions of years and is rather good at it.

There are of course ways that we can work alongside nature to achieve the outcomes that we need to be responsible for, without total chaos.

Regenerative agriculture is not suggesting that you neglect your farm, in fact Regenerative Agriculture allows for you to be more in tune with your farming system and its surroundings.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a dairy farmer, sheep and beef farmer, Deer farmer, arable farmer, vegetable grower or a backyard warrior, there are many tools available in the Regenerative Agriculture toolbox for you to choose from to create what works for you and your unique context.

The Jono story

The Genesis of Natural Performance

Jono was born in Dunedin and grew up in Duntroon, North Otago in a family of agricultural spraying and sheep dipping contractors where the smell of chemicals was a normal part of life.

At age 11 Jono got his first job on a local dairy farm, where he worked every weekend and during school holidays.

At age 15 Jono was deemed disruptive at school and was offered the opportunity to leave, as it was clear school was not a place that supported his learning style and interests.

That started Jono’s farming career, in which he thrived.

Jono climbed the ranks within the agriculture industry, working in Dairy, Arable and Sheep and Beef, becoming an award-winning farm manager.

After a car accident which left Jono with a broken Femur and kneecap, Jono discovered he did not do well sitting down.

Rather than wait for full recovery Jono decided to pursue a less physically demanding career in the agricultural spraying and fertilizer industry where he started as a machine operator and became the manager of a ground and aerial chemical and fertilizer application company where he became well known as a go agronomist and a respected professional in that field.

Jono had 2 beautiful children during this time. It was not easy working the big hours and raising a family.

Jono was also watching the health of some family members involved with the spraying business decline, respiratory issues from people that hadn’t ever smoked. Also the rivers Jono grew up swimming in became dry and polluted, Jono knew deep down the way he had been farming had something to do with it.

On paper, Jono was a highly qualified and experienced professional and yet he was resigned to the damage he felt he was doing to the ecosystem and not only his own health but the health of his family. Jono provided the recourses for his family but left a large gap in his lack of presence.

His marriage was on the rocks when, out of the blue he was asked to manage a 200ha Organic mixed cropping sheep and beef farm (Harts Creek farm).
Jono saw this as a great opportunity to get away from the chemicals and to have more family time.A year into his management of HCF, Jono’s marriage ended and he was faced with a very new reality.
After learning a great deal at HCF and from some great teachers, Jono started to question a lot of the current best practice and the way he had farmed his whole life.
Jono then started an organization named “Quorum Sense”, which he created to bring innovative farmers and academics together to share knowledge and support farmers from the ground up.

After 3 years at HCF, Jono decided that he needed to offer the people access to relatable and practical knowledge and support in the Regenerative Agriculture space. And with his profound experience and fresh perspective, Jono created Natural Performance Ltd and got to work supporting farmers all over the world. Helping them reach new levels of profitability, resilience, joy and peace of mind.

Jono has created a life committed to empowering, educating and supporting People interested in producing nutrient dense food, educating youth at schools and universities, and providing energy, connection and leadership to shift the paradigm of food production to one aligned with nature. One that increases the health and resilience of our soil, plants, microbes, Insects, Animals, People and the ecosystem in all its complexity.
Jono is passionate about what he does and sees his life as an opportunity to make a real difference.

Jono Frew
Change doesn't come from having the answers, it comes from being open to the question, and coming from a space of wonder. I'm seeing farmers out there acting like three years old again, farmers being expressive, talking about their passions, and farming with joy.