Different Stakeholders’ Conceptualizations and Perspectives of Regenerative Agriculture Reveals More Consensus Than Discord

Kelly R. Wilson, Robert L. Myers, Mary K. Hendrickson, Emily A. Heaton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A range of content analyses have recently sought to define the term “regenerative agriculture”, which has gained a surge of attention in the last few years. However, these studies have not incorporated the voices of those using the term to define their work: the farmers, private companies, researchers, and NGOs giving energy to the movement. In this study, we conducted qualitative interviews with 19 stakeholders from across the United States. Key points of consensus were that regenerative agriculture moves beyond sustainability, is outcomes-based, and, as such, is context-specific: focusing on outcomes provides opportunities to be adaptive to a specific context and that, depending on one’s context, different practices may be used to achieve target outcomes. We identified three categories of outcomes: climate adaptation and mitigation, socio-economic benefits, and integrated systems. We also found several opportunities within the energy of the movement. First, regenerative agriculture remains a “big tent” that is still accessible to a broad range of farmers. Participants also underscore the need to move toward systems-based research as opposed to reductionist research. Finally, we present participants’ mixed perspectives on the role of government, the private sector, and third parties in moving regenerative agriculture forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15261
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • regenerative agriculture
  • food system transformation
  • soil health
  • qualitative research
  • resilient food systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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