Updated: Nov 11
The predictable rainy seasons in the spring and fall of each year that benefited our region decades ago have been replaced by an unpredictable series of prolonged droughts followed by brief periods of heavy rain. The sugarcane industry that drives the regional economy is experiencing a harvest roughly 70% below the average in recent years due to dry soil conditions..
At the Huasteca Regenerative Agriculture Center we are employing multiple regenerative strategies to assist farmers in retaining soil moisture through extended droughts. We are working with nearby farmers to place vetiver grass barriers in areas where erosion quickly depletes the topsoil during heavy rains. The rows are planted on contour so that rainwater soaks directly into the soil rather than flowing laterally along downslopes. At the same time, the deep grass roots help to break up the hard clay soil in our region, thus achieving greater water infiltration.
With the help of Jess Mayes of Terra Advocati, we produced our first batches of biochar. We now have three biochar kilns and plan to ramp up production using coconut husks and the trunks of invasive palm trees from our region. By activating our biochar with our liquid organic microbial fertilizer brew, we can revitalize depleted soil while further improving moisture retention.