2024 KCP Application
Winner or Finalist
Customers & Partnerships
Primary Project Category:
Project Summary / Description:
To reach our 2025 goals, we must accelerate adoption of regenerative livestock management. We recognize that adoption in agriculture follows markets, and the dominant agricultural paradigm is driven by an input-intensive approach focused on maximizing production while externalizing ecological costs. Producers seeking to adopt new/improved management methods are faced with markets, policies, subsidies, and supply chains that favor efficiencies of scale. Consumer purchasing behavior has fallen in line with this industrial agriculture production model. To incentivize producers to transition from conventional to regenerative practices, Savory Institute is working with philosophically-aligned partners to develop the Land-to-Market (L2M) program. It is designed to create market differentiation for regenerative products, link producers to brands desiring regenerative supply, and verifying ecological outcomes on the lands these livestock were raised on. There are three key components of L2M: Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV) is the world‚ first system for verifying grassland regeneration, providing empirical evidence to brands and consumers through a system of annual monitoring for producers enrolled in the program. With ecological outcomes verified, these producers create the foundation of transparent and traceable supply chains for regenerative meat, dairy, wool, and leather. Verified producers are linked with brands who can take these products to market, and fees from partner brands go back to assist more producers in making the transition towards improved management practices. Finally, development of a consumer-facing mark and unified messaging helps brands and consumers differentiate regenerative products in the marketplace and provides the first-ever system focused on verifying outcomes of production models.
How Project Affects Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions:
Savory Institute's strategy to accelerate the understanding, support and uptake of Allan Savory‚ work is fostering and equipping a worldwide agricultural movement that is now active in 33 countries on 6 continents, regenerating soil, rebuilding communities, and increasing biodiversity. With a global network of Hubs and our new Land-to-Market program, the Savory Institute is uniquely positioned to bring change on a global scale that both sequesters massive amounts of carbon and enhances ecologic and economic resilience. Given the approximately 5 billion hectares of grasslands across the globe, HM has the potential to draw down many gigatons of carbon into the soil and, while doing so, simultaneously restore wildlife habitat, recharge aquifers and replenish waterways, increase food security access, rebuild wildlife habitat, and revitalize local economies.HM has been shown to achieve significantly higher soil carbon accruals compared to traditional continuous grazing practices (which, depending on rainfall patterns, may lead to severe land degradation and, ultimately, abandonment). Atmospheric carbon is drawn down and converted by plants into carbohydrates that build soil organic matter (SOM), root biomass, and microbial biomass. Increases in soil microbial life further drive long-term carbon storage as they are key in building soil inorganic carbon (SIC).In 2001, Rich Conant and Keith Paustian at Colorado State University published a meta-analysis of 115 ranches from a variety of global environments indicating a mean annual 0.54 metric tons of carbon sequestered per hectare (ha) demonstrating the capacity for soil to capture and store carbon. In 2011, Teague et al. investigated the impact of high and low continuous grazing as compared to adaptive multi-paddock grazing (AMP) in Texas (his term for Holistic Management when used in scientific publications) and indicated the AMP treatment had an annual 3 metric tons of carbon sequestered per hectare in the soil above and beyond that of the continuously grazed treatments. USDA ARS scientist Alan Franzluebbers has indicated high potential in the eastern US as well. In Nature, Machmuller et al report over a 7+ metric ton per hectare annual increase in carbon sequestration following the conversion of degraded cropland to grazing land in Georgia. Rowntree‚ data showed an annual sequestration rate of 4 metric tons of carbon per ha.Furthermore, the atmospheric GHGs drawn down by these regenerative grazing practices include not just CO2 but additionally CH4, and N2O. Healthy grassland soils support populations of microbial life that oxidize CH4, converting it into the lesser GHG, CO2, that can then be sequestered through plant photosynthesis. Rowntree 2016 directly measured CH4 flux and conducted a life cycle assessment (LCA) on various grasslands, determining that healthy holistically managed soils can act as a net carbon sink. This means that the soil beneath properly managed livestock can oxidize more methane than those livestock release. This net methane sink effect is hypothesized to be due to the increased presence of methanotrophs ( methane eating bacteria) in healthy grassland soils. In addition, Holistic Management increases efficiency of forage utilization which DeRamus 2003 showed decreases CH4 enteric emissions 22% compared to conventional grazing.Under Holistic Management, the need for artificial nitrogen fertilizer is significantly reduced, and often completely eliminated. Forage is managed to achieve a nutritionally healthy balance of energy and protein. This drastically reduces the quantity of N secreted in the urine, and any N that is secreted is readily metabolized by soil microbes and/or assimilated into growing plants. The combined effect of greatly reduced N fertilizer and a more nutritionally balanced forage base vastly diminishes the level of N2O released compared to conventional agricultural practices. Wang 2015 also conducted an LCA on holistically managed lands, in this instance on cow-calf operations in the Southern Great Plains while factoring in enteric methane emission, manure methane emission, manure N2O emission, supplemental protein CO2 emission and GHG emission from farm energy use and fertilizer use. It was found that operations converting from conventional to holistic management are likely net carbon sinks for decades , and they note that previous LCA‚ on beef production that conclude large net emissions do not factor in soil carbon sequestration which exceeds emissions when animals feed solely by grazing perennial pastures.Savory Institute, together with our Savory Hubs and producer networks, has demonstrated the power and effectiveness of Holistic Management to restore grasslands and sequester carbon for more than 50 years. Peer-reviewed literature and numerous case studies point to the clear benefits of this management practice.  Conant, R. T., Paustian, K. and Elliott, E. T., 2001. Grassland Management and Conversion Into Grassland: Effects on Soil Carbon. Ecological Applications, 11: 343‚Äì355. doi:10.1890/1051-0761(2001)011[0343:GMACIG]2.0.CO;2 Teague et al., 2011. Grazing management impacts on vegetation, soil biota and soil chemical, physical and hydrological properties in tall grass prairie. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 141: 310‚Äì322. Franzluebbers et al., 2012. Tall Fescue Management in the Piedmont: Sequestration of Soil Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 76:1016-1026. doi:10.2136/sssaj2011.0347 Machmuller, et al., 2015. Emerging land use practices rapidly increase soil organic matter. Nature communications, 6, Article Number: 6995 Rowntree et al., 2016. Potential mitigation of midwest grass-finished beef production emissions with soil carbon sequestration in the United States of America. Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society. 4 (3) Winter 2016 Jones, 2010. Soil carbon ‚ can it save agriculture‚ bacon? Agriculture & Greenhouse Emissions Conference, May 2010 http://www.amazingcarbon.com/PDF/JONES-SoilCarbon%26AgricultureREVISED%2818May10%29.pdf DeRamus et al., 2003. Methane Emissions of Beef Cattle on Forages: Efficiency of Grazing Management Systems. J. Environ. Qual. 32:269‚Äì277. Wang, et al., 2015. GHG Mitigation Potential of Different Grazing Strategies in the United States Southern Great Plains. Sustainability 7, no. 10: 13500-13521.
Sustainable Development Goals:
Health and wellbeing
Clean water and sanitation
Affordable and clean energy
Decent work and economic growth
Industry innovation and infrastructure
Sustainable cities and communities
Responsible consumption and production
Life below water
Life on land
Peace and justice
Partnerships for the goals
Research or Economic Modeling
Measurement, Reporting & Validation
Savory Institute was established to counter the over‚Äìsimplified and reductionist thinking that has dominated environmental management for decades, primarily as it relates to reversing grassland degradation, mitigating climate change, and assuring food and water security. Sequestering large amounts of atmospheric carbon requires management practices that optimize the carbon sequestration potential of the natural photosynthetic systems that kept our ecosystem in equilibrium for millennia before humans disrupted the balance. In a world governed by complex natural processes, working with nature offers our greatest hope for not just decelerating but reversing the damage we have caused. Applying a holistic approach to the management of grasslands - our planet‚ largest terrestrial ecosystem ‚ represents our greatest opportunity to utilize the carbon sequestration potential of plants and soils to draw down many gigatons of carbon each year. Savory Institute‚ mission is to facilitate the large-scale restoration of the world‚ grasslands and sequester large amounts of atmospheric carbon by instituting a systems-thinking approach to grassland management, known generally as Holistic Management (HM). This approach was pioneered in the 1960‚ by our founder, Zimbabwean rangeland ecologist Allan Savory, and used most often for land and livestock management. HM is comprised of a decision-making framework for actively monitoring and adaptively managing complex ecosystems. In the 50+ years it has been practiced and refined, HM has been demonstrated in geographies and landscapes across the globe to regenerate grasslands, build soil, and sequester carbon (Teague, 2011; Wang, 2015; Rowntree, 2016) while improving social and economic outcomes (Stinner, 1997).