Breaking Free: From Industrial to Regenerative Farming Success!

In our upcoming episode, I’m excited to introduce a special guest, Will Harris, a pioneer in sustainable and regenerative agriculture. Join us as we explore Will’s extraordinary journey from traditional farming roots in Bluffton, Georgia, to becoming a leader in environmental stewardship and community development. His story is not just one of agricultural evolution but also a compelling narrative of personal transformation and resilience.

Our discussion delves into the critical shift from industrialized farming to a more holistic, cyclical approach. Will shares his insights on the unintended consequences of modern agricultural practices, such as the drastic reduction in soil organic matter and the broader ecological impacts, including contributions to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. His realization and subsequent action towards sustainable farming techniques are both enlightening and inspiring.

This episode is not just about the practices of sustainable agriculture but also about the wider implications on local communities and the global environment. Will’s transformation of his family farm into a thriving, community-focused enterprise showcases the potential for positive change. His perspective on the current challenges faced by farmers worldwide, including increasing regulations and the dominance of large corporations, is a crucial part of our conversation.

As we delve into this thought-provoking discussion, I invite you to reflect on the broader implications of our food production choices and their impact on our planet. Will’s story is a testament to the power of sustainable practices and their role in shaping a better future for our communities and the environment.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


Regenerative Farming Org For Canadians

Good info at link below for anyone interested.


Thanks for connecting with Will Harris and bringing him to the attention of your followers. I recommended him to you a couple of times through the Contact Us page. I don’t know if that has any impact on you having him on a Peak Prosperity podcast, but based on your conversations about your farm, I knew his experience with regenerative farming would be of interest to you and the rest of the Peak Prosperity tribe.


Will’s story and perspective are heartening! Thanks for bringing it to us!

Please continue sharing info about regenerative living!


Early in the discussion, and again layer yhe gentleman referenced a measore of organic matter in his soil going from 5 percent to .5 over time. I did not catch the exact term he used.

This man had done what we desparately need to happen in the USA and elsewhere on a massive scale. He transformed from a chemical spreading industrial model employing a few people to one that is sustainable and employees 170.

There are so many people out there who dont want to work inside a retail center or office cube. We need to put our folks to work. Instead of buying chemicals from the largest global corporation, a tremedous amount of money is now going to salaries and staying in his community, which has been transformed economically.


Don’t forget the gazillions of microbes that are put to work there, instead of loitering around in gain-of-function experiments.


Lamb testicles are sold out. Dang.

Have a look at White Oak Pastures website above. They’ve got a sale page, merch, rabbit (oops sold out too), dog food and the list goes on. You can buy a signed copy of his book too.


I can buy White Oak beef at my local Market District (SW PA).


Hi Chris and the Peak community. I am very familiar with Will Harris and I was very pleased to watch this interview. I was especially interested to hear them talking about growing hay. I live on an 88 acre farm with forest, pastures and about 40 acres crop land. I am passionate about regenerative agriculture, but I’m at a loss of how to grow hay for feed for my animals in a regenerative way. I haven’t used any “cides” of any kind since I have been here for the last 6 years. I’m ready to get more serious, but I need info.

If anyone in this community has some experience, please reach out. Or if anyone can direct me to some for resources specifically regarding growing hay, I would be grateful.

Oh, I’m in Ontario Canada.


Great interview! I really appreciate a positive message amid all of the depressing current events. I’m lucky enough to procure my meats from a local farmer pursuing a similar mission and live in an area where there’s a burgeoning local ag and forest based economy. Gives me motivation to move my own business plans forward.

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I will tell on myself. I am considering another land purchase away from my immediate area as an investment. Away in part because my area is no longer at clearance rack pricing.

When I heard the speaker say that Clay County Ga was the poorest county in the USA in 2020, Instopped the video, and hit homes com and another site to see of there were any potentials. Nope. As a matter of fact a low to high sort, indicated the area was doing pretty well these days.

I had to laugh later in the video when this was discussed.


Actually, the reverse is true: decades of industrial farming had reduced the soil organic matter to 0.5%, mostly because the farmers weren’t trying to improve it. Will’s farming methods have increased the soil organic matter to 5%, a major improvement.


He used a term for what was measured that I did not get. Perhaps audio was not good there or I hear with an accent. I am interested in pasture improvement and would like to look it up.

my neighbor runs a fairly large grass-finished beef operation and doesn’t use chemicals or mineral fertilizers on his hay fields. He grazes hay fields if he can-- animal manure and urine are good fertilizer. For fields he can’t graze, he adds large quanties of composted manure and wood chips, which he makes by letting the cattle climb piles of wood chips or sawdust. A lot depends on the quality of hay you need. If you only need moderate feed value and the field is grass, you can probably just cut the fields you have.


he discussed soil organic matter. That is improved by good grazing management. Improvements are measured in years, not weeks, and it’s very important.


That was outstanding. This is one of the best features of PP. being able to be introduced to these people who are really doing something and have that generational wisdom. Good work PP team setting this up.


I have had many “soul searching” thoughts in the last few years. It is becoming more difficult to justify spending my time as a wage earner long term. I have no doubt that “peak oil” exists. I just don’t know when the affects of it will be obvious.

I will likely never achieve the same income potential that I had in 2015 when I left my job as a licensed reactor operator. I am still in the nuclear industry but my current job pays about 35% less than what an average licensed operator will make at a large power reactor. I am however happier now. Perhaps I would feel the same if I owned acreage in a favorable geographic area and became a full time self employed farmer.

I am not ready to give up on nuclear because I believe that it is the only option that has any chance of replacing the oil currently being burned for energy.

I have a small bit of experience with sustainable botany. I built a new house in 2009/2010 in Ohio. The land was beat up badly during this process. The house was finished in the summer. This delay cost me about 1/4 of a growing season while trying to establish a lawn. There are a few things to think about that may help speed the process up and/or not inflict damage on the environment.

  1. Do not use synthetic fertilizers unless you are reasonable sure that it will not run off during the rain and get into a large body of fresh water. Algae blooms need fertilizer pollution in the water to form.

  2. Test the soil in a lab. I used a local ag extent ion to get soil type, the ph, and the content of phosphorus , and potassium, and calcium in the soil. I paid a small fee to have my soil tested at a local agriculture extension. The people there were surprised to see the test being conducted on soil from a residential lot.

  3. Try and use a “natural” fertilizer AFTER you seed a new lawn. I used a fertilizer made from the pulverized parts of a chick that were unsuitable for chicken nuggets. This stuff breaks down slowly and can help establish a lawn from seed by retaining some moisture and protecting the seeds from the wind.

  4. Use a grass seed that has mychorrhizal fungus in the grass seeds. This fungus forms a symbiotic relationship with the roots of the grass. This fungus converts N2 into a nitrogen compound that can be used by the grass. Making nitrogen compounds for the plants is extremely important because N is usually the limiting factor of plant growth.

  5. Cultivate clover and dandelions. The clover can also fix N in the soil with the added benefit of shielding the ground from the sun. The dandelions have long tap roots that can bring minerals up to the top layers of the soil. Dandelions also provide hours of enjoyment to kids while they are spreading the seeds. Do not intentionally kill clover or dandelions!

  6. Plant some trees that are native to the area. In my case, I planted a lot of white oaks (bur oak, white oak, etc…). I also planted many American elms and maple trees. Try to get shade on the side of the house that gets the most direct sunlight. Make sure the tree roots will not be a problem for the foundation many years into the future.

  7. Mow the lawn as high as you can. This will encourage the grass to grow their roots deeper into the soil and this can help keep the grass green during a minor drought.


To be truly regenerative going into the end of the oil age, a farm needs to work toward 100% self-sufficiency in inputs. Hay production achieves this goal by taking a holistic approach to farm design and management. Hay production is managed as part of a larger whole that I call a grass ruminant complex. Manure/compost, planned grazing, soil, perennial forages, are all managed to work in a synergy that maximizes the health and productivity of all these elements of the whole. I describe the design and management of this grass ruminant complex, which I have practiced for 40 years on farms in New York and Maine, in the following paper in the section on Soil Fertility:



Loved this interview. @cmartenson Always love hearing what Will has to say. You asked some great questions. The community impact is something really noteworthy. I hope that more farmers step forward and make brave changes like this. It’s hard and expensive but ultimately the right answer. I’m in this space full time and what I’m seeing is people entering ag for the purpose of regen methods. But I’m with Will in that What I’m not seeing is a lot of existing farmers and ranchers making a change. The changeover might happen as large farms give way to a hundred small operations. And maybe that’s the way to employ so many more people in
Small farming. Definitely the path to localized food supply chains. Good things ahead i think.


@shleids Growing hay crops in a regenerative manner is fairly straight forward, and can be beneficially combined with some grazing on the same ground. There are lots of possible routes, but certainly consider the initial seeding, with mixed and diverse grasses, clovers and vetches to suit your climate. The nitrogen fixing species are obviously important to provide the main inputs. Silvopasture is an option, and again can include nitrogen fixing species of trees, and will give a beneficial microclimate for the hay crop. If your land is adjacent to a river, you may be able to manage it as floodplain meadow, obtaining nutrients from seasonal inundation. This is the system I use on my hay meadow, and it has grown heavy nutritious crops of hay for at least 100 years, even in drought years, without any inputs as far as I know.
Also consider ‘tree hay’ which is stored stems taken from pollarded trees. Cattle prefer tree hay to normal hay strangely enough.
Oh, and you might want to consider subsoiling before doing the seeding, depending on your level of compaction. Dig a hole, or hire a penetrometer to check. Deep rooting will make the initial investment worth while.