365. Getting Dirty: Saving Our Soul & Our Soil w/ Regenerative Agriculture

Robert (Robby) Sansom

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Land steward and co-founder of Force of Nature, Robby Sansom, sheds light on regenerative agriculture and his farm's steps to create a consumer revolution pushing for better meat for the planet and our bodies.

Robert (Robby) Sansom is Co-Founder & CEO at Force of Nature, a regeneratively sourced meat company based in Austin, TX.


Robby’s roots run deep in the natural food community. As CFO/COO at EPIC, Robby spent much of the last decade studying regenerative agriculture at ranches all over the world. Through this education, Force of Nature was co-founded with the intention to accelerate the creation of a global regenerative supply network. Force of Nature works in partnership with land stewards, ranchers and farmers committed to creating a positive return on the planet. With Force of Nature, consumers now have the ability to invest in environmental regeneration by consuming meat that is good for the planet.


Born and raised in Austin, TX, he received both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Texas. When he’s not building businesses aimed at saving the world, Robby can be found on a trail, ocean, mountain, or field, always making time to appreciate nature and explore his surroundings. Robby is also a land steward at ROAM Ranch, where he owns regeneratively managed bison.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Discourse around meat production and eating meat is fraught with judgments, misconceptions, and a disconnection to the natural world and ecosystem at large. 

My time in Texas has brought me closer to the end cycle of an animal's life, and the courageous acts of butchery that conscious land stewards – such as today's guest, Robby Sansom – are committed to. I recently joined him during a harvest of a Bison which was mind-blowing. 

Robby's regenerative farm, Force of Nature, was founded on the belief that one can and should enjoy meat without sacrificing their values. We all know the dark side of industrial farming and have been force-fed a lot of hype around the virtuous wonders of plant-based eating and agriculture. On the other hand, regenerative farming offers the truly revolutionary opportunity to collaborate with the natural world in a way that's actually beneficial for the planet. 

Sink your teeth into this juicy episode where Robby and I carve out space for an alternative agricultural reality to the dysfunctional one that's eating this planet alive. 

03:50 — The Harvest of a Bison 

  • Nourishing life beyond its own
  • Giving consumers a choice to be intentional with what they eat
  • What it feels like being witness to an animal’s death
  • How the modern experience disconnects us from the natural world 

23:16 — Conventional, Organic, and Regenerative Farming 

  • The evolution of conventional farming 
  • Combatting nature’s food systems 
  • Exploring the organic food movement and its shortcomings
  • The environmental crisis caused by tilling soil 
  • Soil loss and food insecurity – imagining what will happen if we don’t move towards regenerative farming

46:54 — How Farmers Can Transition Into Regenerative Farming?

  • How Force of Nature helps land stewards shift gears
  • Variety of proteins and celebrating food diversity 
  • Livestock setting versus regenerative farming animals
  • How animals revitalize the soil
  • Allowing domestic animals to express their wild tendencies 
  • Engaging the consumer to vote with their meat purchases

1:26:20 — Debunking Myths About Meat 

  • Framing a profitable narrative 
  • The real carbon impact of beef
  • Monocropping of plants
  • Reconciling my relationship with meat 
  • Meat production and wasting water 
  • Why a synthetic, processed, plant-based meat disrupts the environment
  • The soil and weather connection 

More about this episode.

Watch it on YouTube.

[00:00:00] Luke Storey: I'm Luke Storey. For the past 22 years, I've been relentlessly committed to my deepest passion, designing the ultimate lifestyle based on the most powerful principles of spirituality, health, psychology. The Life Stylist podcast is a show dedicated to sharing my discoveries and the experts behind them with you. Robby, here we go. We finally did it.

[00:00:28] Robby Sansom: Hey, I'm glad. I think it's good to get together again. The last time we got together was pretty special. 

[00:00:33] Luke Storey: Oh, man, for real. That was a heavy day. Share with our listener friends what we did out at Roam Ranch that day.

[00:00:42] Robby Sansom: Yeah. So, you and several others who have communities of followers, not unlike this one, who care, and are interested, and curious, and want to learn, and be better, and strive to not only optimize themselves, but to create better outcomes for a broader group of stakeholders. We all got together and shared a journey of the human experience, and what it means to be alive on this planet at this time.

[00:01:15] And we shared in the harvest of a bison, and to use more biological words, we killed a bison together, and respected that animal, and learned from it, and then got a greater and deeper understanding of the value that it brings in an ecosystem, and like the key biological services that it employs on the land in living its life to the fullest. And then, segued that into the key services it provides in nourishing life beyond its own, right?

[00:01:55] And connecting that to the appreciation we all fundamentally have for the beauty of nature and the circle of life. But that one aspect of it, as you said, is very deep and heavy, and it's difficult for us as humans to sort of rationalize. But at the end of the day, everything that we consume has a story behind it that is equally deep and equally impactful, and that can be good or bad. 

[00:02:19] And the point of doing all of that and the point of sharing in that experience and that journey that we had was so that you and others could reflect that back to the masses that, hey, you have a choice. It's binary. It's one or the other. There's no abstaining, right? When you consume, you vote. And you can elect to support a system whose values align with your own, and whose story you appreciate, and want to contribute to, and see perpetuate, or you are complicit in supporting a system that is counter to the good you want to see done in the world, and counter to your own values, and counter to positive outcome for a broader group of stakeholders, right?

[00:03:04] And I think how that is interpreted is dependent on the person. We don't all have to agree, but I do think that transparency is important. I do think that we should give people and consumers the opportunity to understand those implications, and then make a choice that is conscious and intentional for them. And you came out and shared in that with us. I'd be curious if we did a decent job of laying that out.

[00:03:28] Luke Storey: I mean, I walked out of there, going, I want to be a farmer. It was like, it was a really cool experience. I think it was extra impactful for me, because just prior to that, maybe two or three weeks, I've gone out with Mansal Denton in this sacred hunting expedition, and I shot a wild boar. First time I've hunted since I was a little kid and I never killed an animal that substantial. And of course, didn't do so in a ceremonial, reverent way.

[00:03:57] My dad was a big hunter, so as a kid growing up in California, riding skateboards, listening to Zeppelin, smoking weed, that was not part of my everyday life. So, I'd go visit my dad and we'd have these really extreme wilderness adventures, because he's lived in Colorado his whole life. Avid rodeo star, stock race car drivers, snowmobile racer, ski patrol men in Aspen, just hunted from the time he was seven or eight years old.

[00:04:28] I mean, he gave me this little six-year-old .22 revolver, and it was really meaningful to me, because it was his gun when he was a kid. And so, he goes, hey, I want to give you this gun. It has a lot of meaning to me. I've had it my whole life. And I said, when did you get it, like when you were 16? He goes, no, like seven. He's running around shooting squirrels and skinning them, and I don't know if he was eating them, but he was definitely shooting stuff his whole life. 

[00:04:50] And so, my experience of the life force of a creature moving out of their body into the ethers was limited to pretty traumatic experiences, bear hunting, they'd tree a bear, shoot the bear out of the tree [making sounds] skin it right on the spot. I mean, it was like I think—and I've talked about this on the show. And yesterday, I did an episode, or came out yesterday with Mansal, but it's like I think because for many of us that are in "civilized", modern Western culture, the only time we see death in terms of the animal kingdom or anything, for that matter, or just see the insides of a creature, see the blood, the guts, like what we all look like on the inside is in horror movies, and it's always associated with some kind of violence in the media, right?

[00:05:41] So, as a kid, when I would witness those things, it was like Friday the 13th to me, right? It's like someone being ax-murdered was equivalent to seeing a deer process. So, going into that hunting experience, I had to really recalibrate what it means to be a human and really go back in my evolutionary DNA to kind of re-establish my connection to something that is so natural and so normal as a human being since forever.

[00:06:17] So, when we did the experience at Roam Ranch with the bison harvest, I was kind of fresh on the heels of that. So, that experience of seeing an animal die, even though it wasn't at my hand, I was pretty close to it was interesting, and I've always imagined that it's the same way when you witness life come into the world, when you watch an animal or a human being give birth, I sense the same things happening, but the moment that Tim Kennedy shot that bison out in the field, there was just this energy that permeated the space.

[00:06:51] And it's really hard to describe, but the closest thing I have been able to arrive at in the description is akin to some peak experiences with breathwork, meditation, and plant medicines, where you're in this very strange, etheric, quantum different kind of space, and it sort of takes your breath away. It's like a heaviness and a lightness of being at the same time. You just kind of go into this—for me, it's just like this wave of kind of like goosebumps, and I'm getting the goosebumps right now.

[00:07:26] It's heavy, but it's also normal. It just feels like this is what happens. This is life and this is death. And that was a really powerful experience, because even though I wasn't that close right after the animal was killed, which was done very expertly by, I think he's a sharpshooter, like military sharpshooter. So, if you're going to have anyone like execute an animal, he would be the most humane guy around to do it.

[00:07:57] But in approaching the bison right after it had been shot and watching, even though it was completely lifeless, meaning that its living entity that animated it with life had recessed, the body's still moving around like crazy. It's still warm. The lungs are pumping. There's blood shooting out everywhere. It's still kicking, right? Millions of years of bison evolution are in its nervous system, still trying to run away.

[00:08:27] And I remember Kyle Kingsbury and I both, I don't know why we two, but we just felt called to do that, but we both went up pretty quickly and just kept our hand on it. And I was just praying and just feeling the magnitude of that moment and the power of that animal, and really, the beauty of its sacrifice, as weird as that might sound. I can imagine people listening that are of a compassionate heart and perhaps even some people that don't eat or kill animals, it's probably hard to grasp that, but it was a really powerful experience for me.

[00:09:01] And that process of the animal's body settling into being lifeless seemed to go on forever. I mean, it must have been 15, 20 minutes where this was happening. So, it was wild. And then, even more so, having the opportunity to see the animal be butchered and see the organs taken out. And then, I'm holding a warm heart that was beating just minutes before, and then we eat the animal's liver, the animal's heart right there on the spot.

[00:09:33] I don't know how many human beings that are kind of living in an urban environment get to have that visceral experience of closeness to nature. So, that was kind of my overview of the experience, but more than anything, I think what was really interesting is just observing how that ranch and you so eloquently kind of led us through how that ranch is mimicking the model of nature, just the cycle of life, how nature works, and using that to produce sustenance for people.

[00:10:07] I kind of had an idea of how that works, but through some of the demonstrations, and just the lectures, and traveling around the different parts of the property, touching the soil, the demo with the different levels of water retention in the soil was really interesting. And it was just, you walk away, going, why isn't everyone doing this? Like what is wrong with people? This is so dumb, because it just makes such common sense to see when you're working in agreement with nature versus in opposition to nature, how much easier everything is and how much better it is for all living beings. 

[00:10:44] From microbes to bugs, to birds, to fowl, to ruminants, to humans, like all the way up the chain, it's better for everyone. So, it was really inspiring, and I think one of the reasons I want to interview you. It's just like, wow, more people need to know about this. And I know it's an emerging kind of subculture, but I look forward to the day when this becomes more mainstream, and the lost art of generating food in alignment with nature's laws is commonplace and just the way that things are done.

[00:11:15] Robby Sansom: What a great recollection. Holy cow. Well, so I'm glad to hear much of that, right? Because I think to your point, once you have had the opportunity to experience something like that, it does become an obvious question, why isn't this the standard? And that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to make that the standard. And that's why we had you out, and that's why I'm doing this and having this conversation. Not just to learn, and be better, and grow myself, but to share that we have that potential for this to be the future of our food system. And it comes at the hands of consumers signaling that this is what they expect, right?

[00:11:54] This is what they desire. And when consumers are allowed to send those demand signals, and they have, now, a new awareness, and then following that access to make a purchase like that in the marketplace, then others can respond, and more good actors come on to the scene and more good practices begin being implemented on the land, right? And I think some important things to touch on there, too, I agree with you wholeheartedly that now more than ever, we have lost touch with what it really is to be human in so many ways. And there's probably a whole podcast on that, right? You likely have already done one or many of them.

[00:12:35] Luke Storey: I have done quite a few, yeah.

[00:12:38] Robby Sansom: And I think we look at, and if we're not careful, we see that event, the death of this bison as the end, when in reality, it's not the end or the beginning, right? It's part of the cycle. It's part of the harmony. And it's not that life died, it's that life goes on, right? And that we are not separate from that bison, we are part of that bison, especially now that we've consumed a part of that bison.

[00:13:04] You know what I mean? And that we're all part of an environment. We're all part of this organism called Earth, right? And we all have a role to play, and we should be allowed to fulfill that role, and fulfill our potential, and do the things that we evolved to do, and make the contributions we evolved to make. And in this modern human experience, we've been disassociated with so much of that.

[00:13:30] And I think that's what our capacity for empathy, and our capacity to feel grieves and remorse in those sorts of instances sometimes can blind us from the reality of its beauty, and the importance of having that deep feeling so that we can allow that reverence to influence and catalyze our behaviors that follow. Let's respect that animal, not let it become part of the 40% of food that goes to waste, right? 

[00:13:56] Let's honor all animals and all food that will come to nourish us by ensuring that their experience prior to that is one that we're proud of. And that honors that animal in the environment the animal came from, right? And I think that is what we're trying to expose, not just create a provocative scenario that generates a bunch of emotion, but actually opens up a deeper understanding of food, and the sourcing of food, and the truth behind where our food comes from, and how agriculture largely works, how it's practiced today in the United States, how it's practiced today, broadly, the history of it.

[00:14:40] There's so much nuance to that. But the truth is, there's some bad actors out there spreading some pretty insidious lies about what change is, and what good can be done, and what the path forward looks like, that I think consumers deserve to know the truth. And I felt like that was an important lesson, and opportunity, and experience we wanted to share broadly. So, thanks for coming out and so eloquently relaying yours.

[00:15:06] Luke Storey: It was amazing. I mean, when you look at this—I mean, I can't call it anything but propaganda around meat consumption being vilified, and the thing that's going to decimate the climate, and that we've all got to get on these fake processed soy burgers and stuff. When you go out onto the land in person, and touch the soil, and look at the density of vegetation, and also, what was really interesting to see in the different fields at the different stages of regeneration, because we're in a former conventional farm.

[00:15:43] And so, this pasture over here is this old, doing it this way, that one, we just started on, that's the oldest one. And you can really see the variety of different plants and all of the different birds that are now coming in, because those plants are attracting different bugs. And just the way the whole thing works, because it's a totally different picture of what you get when you see a video of the rainforest in South America being decimated to turn into corn and soy-fed cattle farms or whatever, right?

[00:16:13] So, I don't know. I don't think anyone could go to a farm like that, and be like, this is ruining the environment. It's like you're sequestering CO2, you're sequestering rainwater, right? I mean, it's just like I don't know how much more perfect it could be. So, I'm actually looking forward to kind of debunking some of this stuff, because I'm obviously not an expert, that's why you're here. 

[00:16:35] But just fundamentally on a foundational level, when you just look at how a farm like that works, even without knowing how the rest of the people are doing it, you just know like this is the way you do it if you're interested in sustaining life on Earth and not only for us in terms of our food, but really the environmental impact. And so, as a former vegetarian who did so because I thought that was healthy, and maybe it was for a short period of time, and someone who felt a connection to animals and a compassion for animals, you think that all farms and all food production are the same, and that there's this inherent suffering of everyone in the animal kingdom involved in that.

[00:17:20] But in that experience, I don't know, the animals look pretty stoked to me. They're just eating plenty of great food all day, and the one that was slaughtered probably had one of the most humane deaths imaginable, especially if you consider how a prey animal would die in nature. They would probably be having their organs eaten by hyenas, or wolves, or coyotes, or whatever, while they're still alive, I mean, the amount of suffering that takes place in nature is just kind of part of how it works, when you look at those shows, the nature shows that are filmed in Africa, and you see the lions chasing down a gazelle.

[00:18:02] It's like I'm always rooting for the gazelle, and I noticed that. I'm like, why am I not ever rooting for the lion who's hungry and is trying to feed its cubs or the vultures that are going to come eat the entrails or whatever the thing is. So, it's a really fascinating topic. But anyway, I could go on and on. I digress. Let's maybe just give people an overview of the difference between conventional farming and regenerative farming just as kind of a starting point. And then, we could get into some of the nuances about soil, the environment, the quality of the food, the actual day-to-day life of the animals on these farms and things like that.

[00:18:40] Robby Sansom: Yeah, I'd love to. And I think maybe we touch on organic in there, too, because I think it's important to aid in the further understanding. I think we've talked a lot about the beauty of nature, and the harmony of it, and our experience as humans with within it. And when we're talking about regenerative agriculture, we're not talking about going backwards, we're not talking about rewilding, we're simply saying, billions of years of evolution has created a pretty solid blueprint, and there is a lot of complexity to it that we can't take a reductionist approach to untapping.

[00:19:21] But we can certainly work within it. That's why we're here today, because that potential and opportunity exists. And we can certainly take the brilliance of human minds and ingenuity, and apply modern understanding capabilities, technology and sciences along with that ancient wisdom and create a better food system, that one that works with nature, one that amplifies the very fundamental, symbiotic relationships in nature that led to us being here where we are, led to the United States having the most fertile soils in the world, and then becoming occupied, and then growing and integrating the soils, and so on.

[00:20:12] We've been extracting what nature gave us and degrading what nature gave us, because our conventional approach to agriculture has taken a few evolutionary turns in terms of practice, right? So, a few hundred thousand years ago, at least, humans were hunter-gatherers. Maybe 10, 12,000 years ago, we figured out cultivation, and started taking a few simple crops, reducing down the complexity of our food supply, creating some reliance on access to food by beginning to farm, and maybe doing some plowing, maybe doing some planting, and maybe doing some selective breeding. 

[00:20:56] That allowed us to start to create societies and build around these systems. That evolved into the industrial age, in getting tractors out, in getting chemicals out, and really tilling a lot of land so that we could plant more simplified crops and spray lots of chemicals. As we began seeing the impact of degrading our soils for short-term gains, our yields and productivity started to decline.

[00:21:27] So then, you get fertilizers, then you get—and because we were creating monocultures, you get plagues of pest, so you get pesticides, right? And you have similar imbalances, which result in fungicides, and repeated applications, and all of these things so that you have this major shift in agriculture, starting with the industrial age. And then, even more recently in response to, again, evolution of plants, you have now GMOs, where we're genetically modifying our plants and our foods so that they can withstand direct applications of toxic chemicals.

[00:22:05] And this industrial agriculture and this modern chemical agriculture and biological agriculture advancements really stem from nature evolving, right? What we are doing, what we have fundamentally done with these conventional systems is apply chemical and mechanical warfare against nature so that we can create synthetic monocrop systems of limited life forms. And nature comes back, and says, whoa, wait a minute, I want this here, we need this here in order to promote a balanced system, a healthy and diverse system, which you destroyed to put this food plot here or this crop field here, I need to put more plant, diverse plant species on there.

[00:22:48] I need insects in there. These all have jobs. They're there for a reason. There's a purpose. It's happening as a result of like the billions of years of evolution that we talked about. And every time nature comes up with a way to overcome one of these disturbances, a chemical, we have to apply more chemical, because the efficacy begins to wane, because nature is evolving, or we have to invent a new one to respond to nature, right?

[00:23:14] So, why do we continue this definition of insanity, where we keep banging our head against the wall, trying to combat nature when there's clearly evidence, and it's not niche, right? This is globally accepted, right? I mean, I'll give several examples of how massive the scale of these ideas and concepts are beyond just the historical precedents. Why do we keep supporting these systems?

[00:23:38] And the reality is, it's not because of the farmer, the farmer's a victim in this scenario. And it's certainly not because of the consumer. The consumer is a victim in this scenario. And it's not because the land dictates or acquire, it's because the land and the ecosystems are a victim, right? It's because there are some very large industries propped up on maintaining and perpetuating the status quo and the conventional chemical agriculture system, right? 

[00:24:01] When you think about roughly 11 billion acres around the world being farmed, that's a lot of tractors burning a lot of petroleum going back and forth numerous times a year, right? There's a lot of chemicals, fertilizer, pesticide, fungicide, herbicide, rinse and repeat, right? Lot of chemical industry propped up there and so on and so forth. So, there are these massive monetary incentives to these mega large complexes or industries that are propping up and maintaining.

[00:24:33] And that's a large part of the reason that you see so much support for new food technologies, relying on those same monocrop, those same industrial chemical agriculture systems that like Impossible Foods, like Beyond Burger taking soy or pea protein that come from GMO chemical-laden, heavily tilled, combating nature food systems. And they're trying to claim to take advantage, and to mislead, and to benefit from the misdirection of consumers, good intentions, to say, hey, we're going to address challenges by vilifying meat, but truthfully, behind the scenes, we're actually not driving solutions.

[00:25:13] We're just vilifying meat. We're perpetuating the same systems that created the problems that we claim to be driving solutions for. So, that's a little bit of a long-winded answer to juxtapose conventional food, and how we got to where we are, and what regenerative really is. Now, there's some specific nuance to how to apply regenerative, and why it works, and the science and details behind it. We can get into that, but I just wanted to frame it in that way.

[00:25:36] Luke Storey: That's beautiful. And I'm glad that you threw the organic thing in there, too, because I think, because of public demand, organic, thank God is trendy, right? I mean, even I go in the, what's it? The H-E-B. H-E-B, it's a new chain to me. But I went in there, and I'm like, oh, God, I just walked in the front door, and think, this is all poison. And I'm like, they wouldn't have an organic section, do they?

[00:26:00] And then, eventually, I find the little aisle, oh, thank God, there's a few things. But when you even, thank God that's there, and thank God I have the resources to buy the organic food and not have to buy the cheapest thing in there just to get some calories, but going through the organic aisle at H-E-B, it's still largely just processed foods. And I think many brands just are able to get that organic classification, but it's still not food that's necessarily good for you.

[00:26:30] And I'm guessing when it comes to agriculture and the raising of plants and animals for us to eat that even though a farm might be technically USDA organic, they're still operating within that same system, where there's soil depletion. And maybe the inputs are just less poisonous in general, so they pass by with that stamp of approval, but they're still within that old paradigm. Is that a correct assessment or is that too broad?

[00:26:57] Robby Sansom: Let me take a moment with that, because I think, generally, you're right, but I think it's important we talk about some of the nuance there, right?

[00:27:05] Luke Storey: Okay.

[00:27:05] Robby Sansom: The organic movement is and was critically important to raising the standards in our food system, right? I don't want to have somebody come away with the misunderstanding that or organic is bad, right? Because organic is better. And it was a step up from the truly industrial, chemical, agriculture, nasty complex, right? What organic does in the standard does is it limits or eliminates in an input-based mindset what you can do, right?

[00:27:41] So, it says, you can't spray certain toxic chemicals and you can't do other certain things that would likely have bad outcomes for land or consumers, but it doesn't necessarily achieve the standard of regenerative either. So, what I think of it is as an important milestone, right? I think what's exciting about organic also is that in only a couple of decades, I think last year, what I heard was as much as 80% of households purchased at least one organic item.

[00:28:10] So, what it's been able to do is show that consumers are willing to pay a standard and they want a better product that can be a little bit healthier for them, a little bit healthier for the environment, a little more mindful of a broader group of stakeholders, right? It substantiates and validates where consumer direction and expectations are, or desires, and expectations, and trends are.

[00:28:31] I think that that justifies continued improvement and continued raising of the bar. And I think that what most consumers think of when they think of organic is like, the family farm with diverse animals and diverse crops, and it's beautiful, and it is harmonizing, and it is regenerating land, and adding resilience, and creating thriving fertility in this space and in this community, and you have a happy farmer, and a happy family, and a happy community, right? That's what we all desire for, but that's not exactly what organic is delivering on in every case, right?

[00:29:11] And to your point, there are shortcomings, right? Organic, because it eliminates chemical applications,it relies heavily on tillage. And I would say that the till behind a tractor is probably the single most insidious humanmade invention in our history, right? We have altered the landscape of 50% of the landmass of the planet that isn't covered in ice. One-third of the legacy load of carbon in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution is the direct result of tilling, right?

[00:29:41] Luke Storey: Wow. That's crazy.

[00:29:43] Robby Sansom: And I would argue that the greatest environmental crises and threats to our species that exist on this planet today are the loss of top soils and the loss of soil carbon, the direct result of tilling.

[00:29:56] Luke Storey: And is tilling necessary, because you've killed that top layer of living soil, and I want to dive into soil in a minute specifically, but is that why one needs to break up the land in order to plant, because it's become more dry and compacted so that you can't get seeds into it that are going to germinate and grow properly?

[00:30:16] Robby Sansom: There's a lot of reasons. Some of them are cultural. Some of them are the result of having to make do with a degraded and compromised soil system, right? I think generally, tilling is done to mitigate weeds, tilling is done to allow for permeation, water to permeate, and a variety of other things, because we've always done it that way. And even despite the many of lessons from the Fertile Crescent and the area where human life spawned, turning into a desert to loss of great civilizations, like the Mesopotamians, and the Romans, and the Mayans, all the way down to the Dust Bowl here domestically. We've learned this lesson over and over again, and yet we failed to heed its warnings, right? And now, we're doing these things at a global scale.

[00:31:11] Luke Storey: Why are humans so equally brilliant and stupid at the same time? It's wild. I was watching a documentary about Egypt the other day, and they were talking, you look at Egypt, I mean, it's just barren desert, right? Maybe there's a piece of land where there's some water running through a river, and there'll be a little bit of green and some palm trees, but they were saying that it used to be just lush green nature, and now, it's not. 

[00:31:38] And is that because of farming? Are these dust bowls in existence because of the agricultural revolution? And when we started to learn to cultivate, we just, out of our own ignorance, or greed, or laziness, just decimated the soils, and now, you have more deserts on the planet? I mean, is that a thing that's widespread? Is that what you're alluding to?

[00:31:57] Robby Sansom: I mean, that is the definition of desertification, and it's what we talked about integrating soil systems. And I don't want to—again, it's a complex, right? I think that nuance deserves to be recognized, but ultimately, as human civilizations grow and expand, we tend to degrade our resource base largely to create food, right? Because that's what keeps us all going, understandably. 

[00:32:25] And when we practice human agriculture on a fixed piece of land long enough, we see it degrade, then all of a sudden, we can't rely on that piece of land, and it compromises the ability to feed our population, and we need to go find new lands, which is why you see so much expansion of historical civilizations onto new lands, because then they would use that for their food production and enslave those people to produce their food, right? That's why you see a lot of large countries today buying up land all across the world and buying up land particularly in developing countries, right? So that they can export, continue to mine, and degrade, and export the nutrition of those lands to their homeland, which can no longer sustain itself with its degraded food system.

[00:33:12] Luke Storey: So, a lot of the imperialism then is rooted in this folly.

[00:33:16] Robby Sansom: Absolutely. And again, there's other issues, too, right? But at the end of the day, when we get hungry and food gets scarce, claws come out, right? And that sort of a fundamental compromise in a society leads to a lot of tragedy. And in some cases, the desertification of those land bases and the altering of them, damming, moving water, eliminating keystone species off of the land, which performed key ecosystem services, like megafauna and other lifeforms, which, again, in symbiotic ways, created those thriving and beautiful lands. 

[00:33:52] Yeah, it's all tied to the expansion of our species. And one of the key tenets of that is how we practice and have practiced agriculture. It's pretty scary stuff. And then, if you look at even the United Nations issued a report and a statement, maybe it was 2015 or so, and it called in question the number of generations that we have left, saying, it's probably one, maybe two generations left if we continue to degrade our soil systems of food production.

[00:34:21] And they said that our soils under our current practices degrade—our food production capacity degrades by about a half-a-percent per year. So, effectively, we're racing towards this cliff. Whatever we may innovate that extends that timeline or whatever we may do, if we don't begin to regenerate our soil bases, and we don't begin to regenerate life and ecosystems, and allow for the broader planetary system to function as it evolved, we head towards an end, a demise, a cliff, and no amount of slowing down that path changes the outcome.

[00:35:00] Alright. We have to stop, recognize, acknowledge where we are, and see that there's an opportunity here to reverse course and to actually start to bring that back, right? And that's what you saw and that's what you experienced with Force of Nature in the event that we held at Roam with you and so many others, is look at how obvious this is, right? And it's not just soil loss and food security, or the opportunity for photosynthesis to sequester carbon out of the atmosphere and put it back into the soil of where we need it to be, or the removal of toxins from the food that we put into our bodies, or from the land that our food puts into its bodies, or into the waterways, or into the oceans, or the loss of the reefs and the loss of pollinators, which support our food systems.

[00:35:49] It's all of those things. And it seems, for me, before I had gone down this journey and had this level of understanding, these all seem like major global crises, threatening life as we know it, and all separate, and disparate, and independent. And the truth is, they all come together at agriculture, and that some subtle shifts, not even crazy shifts, subtle shifts in how we think and practice the production of food can mitigate or resolve all of them.

[00:36:18] And that's beautiful to me. And that's why you say, it just seems so obvious, it seems so simple. Once I see how these pieces fit together, this obviously is a system that I want to support. And that's where Force of Nature comes from. That's why Katie, Taylor, and I started this company. We need to tell the story. We need to create awareness to this reality and allow consumers to be educated, to pull the veil back, and take the blinders off, and say, look, pay attention to what's happening in the story behind your food so that you can make sure that you're proud of that story now and others can benefit from your good deeds later.

[00:36:55] And in addition to creating that awareness, Force of Nature, being on a national scale, and available across channels and across different protein types, we're making it accessible so that consumers now have a call to action that's actually convenient. Not to just promote our own brand, but I think we've had a lot of people come out, and do ranch tours, and experience the regenerative operation, and come away with a similar epiphany as you.

[00:37:24] And what's frustrating is it's difficult to then translate that into meaningful action that drives change. And that's what we want to be. We want to be a catalyst that supports good producers, and ranchers, and farmers, and helps justify them to continue to raise the bar, and elevate their efforts, and improve their practices, and connect them to a market that reaches consumers that want to reward them and celebrate the work that they're doing.

[00:37:47] I mean, some other sad realities and tragedies we haven't even talked about, and I said the ranchers aren't the villains here, right? We lose on average five to 10,000 farms a year in the United States. I mean, we're talking about generational wealth disintegrating, because the ability for them to continue to maintain their business is nonexistent in the current environment, where they are effectively sharecroppers.

[00:38:12] They are being squeezed by these large interests, just as the rest of us are being underserved and disserved. Imagine that, five to 10,000 farms a year. These are families, right? And now, Bill Gates is the largest landowner in North America. Somehow, there's a profit opportunity for him at the expense on the backs of Americans, right? And these are people that literally did bet the farm to feed strangers.

[00:38:34] That's heroic by any definition, right? And these sorts of systems provide better outcomes for them, too. And in many parts of the world, you look at India, you look at other, the rates of suicide by farmer are higher than the rates of veterans returning from war. This is the plight of the farmer in this system. We've talked a lot about the land. We've talked a lot about consumers.

[00:38:55] But when we transition to these regenerative practices, we're rebuilding resilience into their land, their profits go up, their revenue, they're able to produce more revenue streams, because they have more diverse life and food on their land and their community benefits. And we stop seeing communities degrade and decline as well as we centralize food. Remember, first month of COVID or whatever, I remember a couple of these large, hyper efficient meat production plants got sidelined for a few minutes, and all of a sudden, we had a meat shortage.

[00:39:29] So, we had excess demand, but simultaneously with excess supplies, because those animals were alive on the land, they just couldn't get them anywhere to slaughter. So, this hyper efficient, but hyper brittle and fragile food system has led the farmers now failing as a result of having animals to feed consumers who wanted them, but they couldn't get access to those markets.

[00:39:47] I mean, it's complex and there's a lot to it, but in supporting regenerative agriculture, you truly are supporting and replacing a vicious system with a virtuous one. It is better for land. It is better for ecosystems and the environment. It is better for consumers. It is better for farmers and their communities. It's truly better for all stakeholders other than those who have continued to pursue profit interests at the expense of all the rest of us.

[00:40:14] Luke Storey: How does the process of transition work for a farmer, for a small farmer? And do you guys help facilitate that? I know from what I understand, you guys work with a number of independent farmers, and I guess you're sort of the distribution and marketing chain for the products that they produce on their farms. Is that, in essence, what Force of Nature does, I mean, as its core?

[00:40:37] Robby Sansom: In many cases, because I think there's a few questions there.

[00:40:41] Luke Storey: Yeah. That's how I roll. 

[00:40:43] Robby Sansom: What does Force of Nature do? What is the transition?

[00:40:43] Luke Storey: I'd give you 10 questions. I guess let's start with, say, I mean, do you guys solicit farmers or do farmers come to you, saying, hey, we're under the thumb of Monsanto, we're in debt, like we're sharecroppers, this sucks, we're going to lose the family farm, can you guys help us transition to a more sustainable, and thus, profitable model? Is that something you do? And if so, what does that look like in a nuts and bolts kind of way for a farmer just to start over and change the way that they do things?

[00:41:14] Robby Sansom: Yeah. I mean, obviously, there's all different sorts of stories, but generally speaking, it looks something like maybe a couple of more prominent paths, right? A very progressive community member paying close attention and being willing to challenge convention saw an opportunity and began to change their practices and behaviors, right? And they serve as a house on the hill, if you will, as others question them and maybe mock them, and they become an outcast in their community, and then time goes by and they start to recognize, hey, in this last drought, they didn't have any issues, or in this last good year, they outproduced everybody, or, hey, their family isn't in debt to the bank like we are or whatever it may be, right? 

[00:42:00] And they start to realize that there's an opportunity, right? I think that combined with a path where it's a Hail Mary, I'm desperate, I got nothing left. It's either I lose the farm that it has been in my family since the 17 or 1800s, or I swing for the fences and try something different that's counter to what I learned in school and counter to what my community has sort of culturally encouraged me to continue with, right?

[00:42:34] And I think you gave me a lot of credit for being one of the foremost experts. I would say I have achieved a level of expertise relative to the general population, right? But there are many brilliant people across an array of sciences, whose research I read and books I've read, as well as organizations that do promote these practices globally, and train farmers, and build communities to create the support networks, and to do the education, and the fundamental programming and platforming that helps somebody get started.

[00:43:07] And so, we help facilitate those connections and have a level of understanding enough to encourage and help, but there are more, and more, and more of these NGOs, and these not for profits, and these community groups popping up to help lend a hand, and lift each other up, and recognize that there's a rising tide opportunity here. And for them then, how they get into regenerative agriculture is sort of dependent on their own context, right? 

[00:43:33] Where are they located? What's the weather like there? What's the land like there? Are they a farmer, or are they a rancher, or are they both? How do the seasons treat them? All these things matter. Again, we can't—I know as much as we like to be reductionist in every way nowadays, we can't do that. We have to be thoughtful and sensitive to what is nature trying to do there, and how can we work within that beautiful blueprint and use that model our ingenuity, and our practices, and our capabilities to figure out how to create more and as many food products for humans in a way that continues to celebrate that, that harmony and balance, right?

[00:44:13] And then, to your point, so yes, Force of Nature helps some make the initial transition from conventional into regenerative. For others, they're already on that path and we help justify their ability to scale that operation. And for us, it's, what is the need of that operate? Number one, are they a good actor or are they aligned, they have the mindset that's right? Are they willing to hit our minimum standards and recognize that our minimum standards are going to raise every year?

[00:44:39] We expect improvement. There's no minimum bar where you dig your heels in, and then we sell a bill of goods, right? And for different operations, you have somebody that—we have some people that manage hundreds of thousands of acres of land, and they don't want to have a brand, they don't want to have to address the consumers, they just want to make sure that they get rewarded for doing the good work that they do.

[00:45:06] And yeah, for them, effectively, we take their animals, well, we buy the animals, and then we process them and we make them available on a national scale for consumers. And ideally, as we grow, we continue to have more and more opportunities to do that locally, right? The larger we get, the more we can support, making sure that Texas bison, or cattle, or whatever are staying in Texas, and California staying in California, and so on and so forth, right?

[00:45:31] And again, that's an opportunity. Like we are not perfect in anything that we do. We just say it right now, we are not perfect, but we want to be transparent about where we're not perfect, and we want to recognize that we're on a journey, and we will not let perfection be the enemy of progress, but we will not water down our vision for goodness, because of conveniences. Then, there's also other larger organizations that do have their own brands, but they desire to scale.

[00:45:54] And sometimes, if they're vertically integrated, they get stuck with inventory in a good year or bad year, and we can help take some of that and move it. And so, we partner, collaborate, right? It depends on the circumstance. But if we can help good land stewards further their mission, and grow their operation, and reach more consumers, are making it easier for them to support regenerative agriculture, that is lifting up the industry, and that is what Force of Nature is doing.

[00:46:21] Luke Storey: Do you guys sell directly from your website or only through stores?

[00:46:27] Robby Sansom: We sell both. 

[00:46:27] Luke Storey: Oh, okay.

[00:46:28] Robby Sansom: Right? And in some cases, through restaurants, right? So, that's kind of the big three channels, the things that make us unique in our ability to do those things I just said. We are a brand on a national level, we're a brand, which is somewhat rare in meat. I mean, if you ask the average person, what brand of maybe milk, or a center store grain product, or what brand of different types of food do you like?

[00:46:57] They can quickly tell you, oh, I support this brand, I support this brand, I support this brand. You ask somebody what brand of meat they buy, you typically get a pause. Most of them don't know their farmer, let alone a brand. And what they come back with as well, this is where I go to buy my meat. So, being a brand is rare, being a brand on a national scale is rare, being a brand that is offered across channels intentionally to be convenient for consumers.

[00:47:21] So, we are available in retail stores all across the country. We're available online. We will ship anywhere to any door in the country for convenience, right? And we're also available in many restaurants, and growing food service outlets and opportunities. We sell to other brands who are doing good things, too, right? And promotional stuff, with like Serenity Kids. It's a wonderful baby food company that's incorporating healthy animal proteins into their foods, and we work with them. And then, beyond that, we have, as you know, a variety of proteins, right?

[00:47:49] It's not just beef, and pork, and poultry, and some traditional proteins, but some non-traditional ones, all doing different things that are good, or at least above the standard in a different way all over the place. So, we, by design, did all of that, because we, again, want to create a brand that consumers understand the values behind, and that they can trust, and that they can access from anywhere they are. However, they prefer to access it for whichever type of protein that they're looking for, for that meal, or week, or whatever it may be.

[00:48:19] Luke Storey: I think that's cool, too, in terms of the variety of meat, because a natural human living on the landscape, a hunter-gatherer of sorts, wouldn't be eating just cattle all the time, right? I mean, they'd be eating a wide variety, not only of different animal products, but also different plants. I think that's what was interesting, too, about going out to Roam Ranch is seeing not only that there are a few different animals, and I'm sure there are other ranches that have even more variety, or elk, bison, deer, cattle, chickens, hogs, wild boars, et cetera, but also seeing the diversity of plants those animals are eating also.

[00:48:57] I mean, even if you have a grass-fed cow, maybe you have a good grass-fed meat provider, and they're eating kind of a monocrop of alfalfa or whatever grass-fed cows eat, they're eating the same plants all the time, and then you're eating the same product all the time. It's sort of antithetical to just the natural human life way, right? You'd be eating just a variety of plants and animals all the time, and I think we've reduced down to just a few foods. I forget how many, but your average American eats five plants their entire life and three types of animals. And those animals are probably eating largely the same type of food. So, in terms of the diversity of nutrition, I think that's really interesting to kind of mix up the meats that you're eating, too.

[00:49:41] Robby Sansom: Yeah, I think at any point in time, we may have something like 500 million acres of corn in the United States. So, we largely hear, to your point, not only do we eat less, but we eat less, because it's become convenient for large organizations to produce less, right? So, it's corn, soy, peanuts, cotton. That's kind of what we grow here. And that's not to say we don't grow other things, but when it really comes to scale and where the really big industries are, like we've simplified it down in an unhealthy weight to a few things.

[00:50:14] And I think the same thing with meat, right? And how weird is it that we appreciate all the nuance and flavors of so many different types of foods, and scotches, and wines, and chocolates, and olive oils, and vinegars, and all these different plants. When we travel, we talk about the culinary experiences and the different things we got to try, but here, we expect all beef to taste the same and everything else to taste like chicken or whatever it may be, right?

[00:50:38] Luke Storey: Right.

[00:50:39] Robby Sansom: Again, one more example of us forgetting what it is to be human. And I think to your point, too, understanding the diversity of foods that we benefit from and the variety of ways from getting to eat. And similarly, when we look at what we're doing, we're a business also, but why would our business not want to celebrate diversity? Why would we not want to be multifaceted? If we think nature has the perfect model for things, I think that's a key learning to take away from her.

[00:51:05] Luke Storey: When you guys are dealing with ranchers that raise, say, wild boars, or elk, or deer, what's the difference in those animals' diets versus a kind of conventional deer, elk, or hog farm, right? Because I think about eating wild game for that reason, the biodiversity of the food that they're eating, right? If there's a deer, elk that's traveling great expanses of land and eating all kinds of different things, their organ meats and their muscle meats are going to have a different flavor and nutrition profile, versus like a bunch of elk raised somewhere that are just being fed basically the same diet as conventional cattle. So, how does it work in the raising of those still largely undomesticated animals? And I guess bison would be included in that, too, meaning that a cow is not like a true animal, it's kind of a hybrid animal.

[00:52:04] Robby Sansom: Again, all the different proteins coming from different contexts, and they're different animals, and they have different opportunities and needs. but the ruminants are largely similar, so I'll kind of address those in one, and then the wild boar, it's a whole different situation, right? And it's really interesting. And I think it ties to something I was going to bring up around what is an ideal source of food versus what food is available to us today and how can we bridge that gap? Right?

[00:52:38] I think in an ideal source of food, we would be hunters and gatherers, right? We'd be not just having an experience like we had with the bison harvest, but we would be on a land and we would be trailing an elk through the mountains for the better part of a day or multiple days of effort, and struggling, and failure, and working together, and building that human bond and spirit to go eventually overcome the odds.

[00:53:04] Along the way, you're probably munching on the stuff that we came upon, and nourishing ourselves in that way before we got this great bounty. I think that's why that's probably what I love most about hunting and the experience around it, is it taps into those primal, and fundamental sense and desire that I have, right? And maybe that's what you were explaining earlier in your experiences. That can't be topped.

[00:53:30] And I think the next best thing would be for there to be a farm like Roam Ranch, a regenerative operation down the road that offers all the food that you want. And you know that when you go there, they are doing all the things that we've been talking about in celebrating nature, and practicing regenerative agriculture, and building a resource base to be proud of, and celebrating positive outcomes across a broader group of stakeholders, and not putting profit above all else.

[00:54:00] And they lived down the street from you, right? And they are part of your community and the food is part of your community. That would be the next best. But we live in a world where the level of education required for a consumer to be able to validate that is significant. And the access to those sorts of operations relative to these massive population centers that we've developed sort of on the coast, and then scattered throughout, makes that unrealistic.

[00:54:26] So then, the next best thing is an organization like Force of Nature doing the job of telling the story of food, finding where those operations are, working with them, getting the trust and advocacy of consumers to do that job, and collaborating, and telling the story, and trying to make that more broadly available. So, I'd say we're the third best way to access food, but at scale, the most achievable with the greatest reach.

[00:54:56] And so, sort of to your question, what's the experience of an animal in a livestock setting that we're promoting versus a wild animal? That wild animal will be eating a diverse diet and truly living its evolutionarily and biologically evolved best life, right? Cows are different, because we bred them to be something different. And in our system, where we've selectively bred different animals, well, to become cows, which have been bred to be docile and to grow rapidly and produce certain amounts of intramuscular fat development for a flavor profile that the USDA deems better than others, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:55:48] That kind of was bred to sort of support the more conventional CAFO sort of operation, an animal that doesn't want to move can be happy sitting still for the last half of its life, standing in its own filth, propped up in a synthetic environment, right? What we're trying to do is say, okay, well, we've destroyed the herd of bison, used to be somewhere 40, 60-plus million animals, lost the numbers of elk, and venison, and I should say white tail and pronghorn that we once had.

[00:56:19] We fenced off these lands. We've dammed up waterways. That natural potential no longer exists globally, but certainly speaking in the context of the United States, and then further, we've put up fences to impede migration paths, and so on and so forth. But we do have this privately held land, publicly held land, and land in production for agriculture, where we can emulate those symbiotic processes and allow for the right types of animals to be in the right places at the right time to emulate what would have been occurring through the millennia in nature, right?

[00:56:52] And so, that's where you have terms come up like mob grazing, and holistic management, and rotation, and all of those sorts of things, where in your original example, a herd of elk and what would be the more profound would be a herd of bison, roaming across the plains, having a massive amount of impact on the land it is on. I think Lewis and Clark Journal showed herds of bison taking greater than a week to migrate past the path they were on, so they were at a standstill until the herd moved through.

[00:57:22] Luke Storey: Oh, that's so cool.

[00:57:23] Robby Sansom: It's a load of impact, right?

[00:57:24] Luke Storey: That's incredible.

[00:57:25] Robby Sansom: But those grasslands evolved for that. And what that does is it compresses oxidizing, and dead, and decaying organic matter from above the ground to the ground, to the soil surface so that the microbial life in there can begin to do its job, right? And as they roll through, they eat and disturb the grass in such a way that it catalyzes a process of that grass re-growing, sloughing off, and giving some carbon to the soil life beneath it, which causes it to thrive, and then provide nutrients back to that plant.

[00:57:55] And as those animals are roaming through, they're defecating and urinating, which is providing essentially water in times of drought and organic matter, fertilizer, and all these things. And then, those animals move on and they don't come back for months, right? And that's the system, right? And while they're there, maybe they're watering these bison, right?

[00:58:12] And in that water, it creates a watering hole that is literally the only environment where certain amphibian species will ever live. And they leave behind tufts of fur, that certain field mice and other mammals require to put in there, or birds put in their nests, or put in their homes, right? So, it's all of that symbiotic that are those things that don't happen anymore.

[00:58:31] Luke Storey: That's so interesting. And then, also, I think I was watching a documentary with Joel Salatin years ago, and he was showing how he migrates the different animals around his farm in Virginia, I think. But it was so interesting to me when the ruminants pass through, they defecate and urinate, then that draws bugs, then after the bugs, the birds come, and then small predators come to come after the birds.

[00:58:56] It's like everything's eating everything in this cycle, right? And then, all of that then not only sustains the life of that whole chain of predation and consumption, but the soil is the ultimate benefactor of it. The land is actually getting the end benefit of all of those different creatures coming through, passing through, and making their contribution. And then, there it goes again. Is that kind of how it goes, how I remember it?

[00:59:22] Robby Sansom: Yeah, I think exactly, except that I might reframe it. I might say that everything that you just pointed to is the life above the surface of the soil. And I would invert your example. I would say, all of that happening allows for the complexity of life beneath the soil to do its job, to support the life above the soil, right? What soil is, is this tiny, tiny, thin crust. You take a image of the globe, and soil is almost immeasurable when it comes to the amount that is there circling the globe.

[01:00:01] And it is that soil that allows for life to exist. Anything above the soil is a reflection of the health of what's beneath it, right? And it is our soil resource that Plato wrote about, and Thomas Jefferson wrote about, Teddy Roosevelt spoke about, and all these great leaders all across the world all through time that understood, soil is the key to life, and hence, why degrading it is so troubling and problematic to all stakeholders and why allowing it to erode to the extent that the Environmental Protection Agency says soil is the number one pollutant in our water system today in the United States, right? 

[01:00:40] These are very scary things that are hard to understand and appreciate if you don't recognize that soil is the foundation, truly, of life, and it's becoming compromised at a global scale. And the implications of that are truly catastrophic in every sense of the word. And so, we have a tremendous responsibility and opportunity to address that, right? And so, getting back to your question, right?

[01:01:07] In farming in a regenerative way, you look at your land base, and you say, okay, within my limited context, what can I do to emulate these processes, and these relationships, and these opportunities? And some of that is, well, ranches where they put pollinators, they may be a beef operation, but they put pollinators on the land, and instill wildlife habitat, and do certain things, right? There's all different ways to approach it, but that's sort of what you might see in a regenerative operation versus a wild elk roaming the range. 

[01:01:37] Luke Storey: When it comes to ranching and including, say, elk and deer on the land, what are the different requirements? And how are those animals managed that would be different from a hybrid, docile, lazy cow? Like I remember, for example, being on Roam Ranch, and after they had slaughtered the one bison, they wanted the rest of them to move out of the next pasture, so we could all go in there safely.

[01:02:05] And I remember someone saying, well, bison, there's this little cute saying they had like, bison don't do what you want them to do, they do what they want to do, or something like that. And I realized, I was like, oh, you can't just go out there with a couple of little dogs nipping at their heels and like make the bison move to the other field, they're kind of autonomous, because they're still wild, right? And I would imagine it would be somewhat the same way with deer and elk. Like what are the different management practices, and I guess, the space needed for having more diverse animals like that?

[01:02:37] Robby Sansom: Yes. So, that axiom in the bison industry is you can convince a bison to do whatever it wants to do.

[01:02:42] Luke Storey: Okay. That's what it was. Yeah. I thought that was funny. And then, I got to see it demonstrated because we were all kind of waiting in the sidelines like, well, there's still a few left, and they're just kind of hanging out until enough of them left, then the other ones were like, oh, that's our cue, we're going to follow the herd.

[01:02:55] Robby Sansom: Yeah. And as funny and quippy as it is, it's also important, right? Well, you can convince bison or whatever, so how do you make sure what you want it to do is what it wants to do? Well, it's letting it express its evolutionary and biological behaviors, right? It's opening a gate, so it gets access to new food, new water, new opportunity, right? And one of the other things that I didn't get a chance to mention, difference between a wild animal and a domesticated animal, a wild animal, it's going to live every day in fear, in fear that it won't be able to find food, in fear that it won't be able to find water, in fear that it won't be able to protect its young, or in fear that it itself will become prey.

[01:03:36] And in a domestic situation, cows and bison, where you saw that animal lives every day in peace. It never has to experience fear or suffering of any of those things. It will always have access to food, always have access to water, always be safe and secure. It is the farmer or the rancher who bears the suffering and the stress to keep those animals and to give those animals access to those things that they need.

[01:04:02] So, it's a very interesting juxtaposition I don't think many average people understand. In the case of bison and how you might manage those differently than animals that have been bred to behave in the way that we would prefer, you don't try to control them, you don't try to force them to do something, right? They are still wild animals. They haven't, like you said, bred to be docile or grow fat, and lazy, and be sedentary.

[01:04:25] So, be thoughtful of that as you're managing them and working with them, and don't put yourself in danger. And by the way, when you put yourself in danger, you're putting the animal in danger, too, right? You're exposing it to a risk and threat, so don't do that. Give it an environment and an opportunity where it feels safe and feel secure and doesn't feel threatened, doesn't feel the need to act or do anything in a way that would be counter to the overall objective, which is keeping them safe, keeping you safe, allowing them to grow and be healthy.

[01:04:56] I know that sounds like a really shortcut answer and esoteric in a way, but it really is true, and that's sort of what makes it beautiful. And I think the differences that you might see on a ranch that is raising deer, or elk, or bison would be subtle relative to what you'd see in a grass-finished or in a regenerative way, would be subtle to what you might see in a beef operation, because, beef operation, you might be able to get closer to the animals, and do more, and certain parts of the year when they're breeding and stuff with less threat to you.

[01:05:36] But ultimately, it's all the same outcome and it's the same purpose, because they're the ancestors and the result of similar genetic backgrounds performing however much we've caused them to be different, at least, beef from bison or whatever in the last few thousand years, still millions of years of evolution, and DNA encoded, and behavior encoded in there, which is largely similar for ruminants, at least.

[01:06:03] Luke Storey: Right. As would have been indicative of the way that bison's body behaved after it was not alive anymore.

[01:06:12] Robby Sansom: It's a big animal. 

[01:06:12] Luke Storey: And I think a lot of the people standing around, I remember it, yeah, actually, they were, they were like, I don't it's dead, because it's still running, and the heart's still pumping. And then, I think it was Tim or maybe you explained like, no, this is just the nervous system, the evolution of its nervous system. It's still running, because there's still, I guess, maybe an electrical impulse in the nerves still, right? Like when you cut off a lizard's tail, it keeps squiggling. It's not alive. But that was really interesting to see. And I'm guessing that would have not been the case had that been a domesticated cow, or at least not to that degree.

[01:06:47] Robby Sansom: Hard to say. Probably so, given the life that that animal lived and just how much bigger there was in it, right? 

[01:06:56] Luke Storey: Yeah.

[01:06:59] Robby Sansom: And to relate that to other things, right? You've heard the expression of a chicken with his head cut off or similar, you want to see something crazy, cut the head off of a snake, and that lasts for hours.

[01:07:12] Luke Storey: Really?

[01:07:13] Robby Sansom: Yeah.

[01:07:13] Luke Storey: Wow.

[01:07:14] Robby Sansom: So, you're talking about truly, by all definitions, a deceased animal like with no sentience, but there is force there. There is energy there. And there's probably a lot to be explored and considered in that in and of itself, right?

[01:07:27] Luke Storey: Fascinating. With the wild boars, I think that there's some regulatory condition wherein like if I'm a hunter here in Texas, I can't go shoot a elk, and then go sell that elk meat to a restaurant, is that right? I mean, maybe different states have different codes and statutes, but when it comes to like wild game, like a wild boar, what's the kind of regulatory nuance of being able to then sell that commercially? Because I know in some states, you can't just go sell your wild meat to a market or a restaurant. You can consume it, but you can't sell it. How does that all work?

[01:08:08] Robby Sansom: Yeah. So, there's a lot to that, because it's regulatory. It changes by country. It changes by state here. I think generally, and I'm not even the foremost expert on my team on the subject, but when it comes to wild animals that are wild harvested, there are certain animals that are protected and they're treated differently. When it comes to wild boar, they're non-indigenous. They are feral species.

[01:08:39] In fact, open hunting, open harvesting on them year round, because they are a pest and a nuisance to ecosystems and to agriculture, right? They do hundreds of millions, if not approaching a billion plus dollars in damage to agriculture every single year. And they outcompete natural native species, excuse me, for land and resources, and that becomes problematic, right? And so, they're not protected.

[01:09:15] All of what we do goes through a USDA processing facility. And that controls for some health and safety, and food processing, and stuff like that, right? But if I was to go out into the whole country with you right now, we were to pack up our gear, and head out, and go shoot a wild deer, we couldn't turn around and put that into our food supply, right? Because it came from public lands and it has these sorts of protections.

[01:09:45] But if we were in an operation that is raising a herd of deer, much like the bison that we were talking about or the cattle that we've been talking about, and it's been in a controlled environment, and it goes through a regulated processing system, whereby we can say with confidence that it hasn't been mistreated or been exposed to something that could be harmful to consumers and we could make it available for someone.

[01:10:07] Luke Storey: Oh, okay. That makes sense. So, because of the genetics of those animals, they're still, for all intents and purposes, wild game to the end consumer, even if they were raised on a farm. If they're eating the food that they would eat on a regenerative farm, for example, there's not much difference in terms of the nutrient profile, taste profile, et cetera, from a wild deer versus a deer raised in that sort of agricultural system.

[01:10:34] Robby Sansom: Yeah, it's important to understand the difference between what wild game is and what it means to harvest something in the wild.

[01:10:39] Luke Storey: Got it. Okay. Cool. That's interesting. I like details. I like to know how things work. It's really interesting.

[01:10:45] Robby Sansom: And the boar is an interesting one, right? Because apologies for elaborating that, we keep coming back to it, I think it's something that's really interesting, is to talk about what sort of solutions are out there and available. These are growing their range. There's, I think, upwards of tens of millions of wild boar now, where there used to be none. And they're having this harmful impact on people, and lands, and animals, as I've kind of laid out a moment ago.

[01:11:17] And there's a lot of solutions being proposed out there. Some of those solutions are fly around in a helicopter with lots of ammunition, and shoot them, and kill them on the spot. And even the agriculture commissioner in the State of Texas proposed mass poisoning to try to eliminate them, which think about the unintended consequences of that, bright? I mean, it's just atrocious. And yet, we have a lifeform that it's not their fault. They didn't ask to be put in this situation.

[01:11:45] They don't deserve undue suffering any more than anything else does, and they taste really good. They taste really good, right? And so, for us, it was, hey, we can take a bad situation and create a market, where the consumption of these animals can help drive their numbers down or at least offset the growth of them, because they grow at a remarkable rate. I mean, they have these monster, lit, they become sexually mature extremely young, their litters are huge, and they can have multiple in a year. And they have no natural predators, and they're incredibly intelligent, and they're omnivores. So, there's a real need to address this, and they're very wild.

[01:12:27] Luke Storey: Someone told me that in Texas, like normally, you'd need a hunting license to shoot an access deer or something, right/ And it would be seasonal and you have to pay for it. Someone told me that there's essentially a bounty on wild boars, where you get 20 or $40 if you shoot one or something? Is there any truth to that?

[01:12:44] Robby Sansom: I don't know. 

[01:12:45] Luke Storey: As an incentive for people to just limit the population density.

[01:12:49] Robby Sansom: I couldn't speak to that. I know that when you get a hunting license, there are certain things, where there are seasons and limits. And then, there are things where there are no seasons and no limits. I'm not sure what the regulations are for hunting on wild boar. I always just have a hunting license, so I don't think twice about it, right?

[01:13:05] Luke Storey: Yeah.

[01:13:06] Robby Sansom: But yeah. So, that's sort of the genesis of our wild boar line, right? They taste amazing. There's a problem, we can help address it. And so, we have partners all across the state on ranches, trapping these animals in humane ways, transporting them humanely into processing facilities that are USDA-monitored, and then incorporating it into the food supply, so we could feel good about how we're working with that.

[01:13:28] Luke Storey: So, it's not the Wild West, some good old boys just throwing a bunch of dead pigs in the back of a truck, and then they're at Whole Foods.

[01:13:37] Robby Sansom: Yeah. Whole Foods would not let that happen.

[01:13:39] Luke Storey: Okay. That's interesting. Yeah.

[01:13:40] Robby Sansom: And we wouldn't want to do that anyway.

[01:13:42] Luke Storey: So fascinating, God, what a cool business model you guys have. Is there anyone else that has a similar model to you, that's sort of a supply chain, middleman, so to speak? Are there other companies emerging like this or are you guys kind of alone in this space?

[01:14:00] Robby Sansom: I think we're unique in doing all of the things that I've kind of laid out that we're doing. There are vertically integrated ranches, White Oak Pastures, I'm sure, is one that you're aware of or have spoken about, and they do some amazing stuff. And we partner with them. They have the land, they have the animals, they have the processing facility. They're located out in Georgia.

[01:14:26] Will Harris, and his daughter now, Jenni, are great friends of mine, and I think they're doing incredible things to grow this mission, and to serve land, and animals, and consumers. But even we're not doing what they're doing. They're not doing what we were doing either, right? And so, I think it takes all different types, right? And so, the good news is there are a ton of farmers, and land stewards, and producers out there, and ranchers doing good things all across the country, all across the world.

[01:14:59] And there's tons of, like I was saying a moment ago, not for profits or for-profit training organizations looking to facilitate and train adoption of these new practices. And there are tons of other organizations with conscious dollars to be invested in good, donations to be made that are looking to invest in these. And there's even financial institutions that are out there looking at how can we recapitalize debt focused on supporting these operations. 

[01:15:31] And so, literally attacking a complex problem with a complex set of solutions coming at it from every angle right now, today. So, it's a very exciting time for what it is that we're doing and talking about in this discussion today. And like I said, what we're doing is unique, and I think one of the things that we're doing that's most unique is really taking what we've been working on for the last decade, which is promoting these ideas, and getting these practices in place, and recognizing that the single biggest catalyst to driving change and accelerating the momentum is the consumer.

[01:16:04] And we've shifted almost all of our energies, still maintaining, and working with, and doing, and managing everything we talked about, but really focused on engaging with and mobilizing the consumer. And there's really not anybody that's made that change to the degree that we have, right? And there are some organizations out there that get a lot of credit and have recognizable names, but much like the incumbency they seek to replace, there's a lot of misleading marketing, and misdirection, and false claims being made there as well.

[01:16:41] Luke Storey: Got it. Would you give us a little bit of intel on the environmental issue? I know there are a lot of people, because I think it sounds good on paper, that are eating a plant based diet and are interested in eliminating animals from agriculture, and some of the propaganda that I spoke to earlier. And I think based on my limited research, and also, my just inherent common sense, hopefully, that it seems like without animals as part of this process, that there is no process.

[01:17:16] What would be your answer to someone who says that if people continue to eat cows, climate change, this kind of stuff, I don't even know what exactly the propaganda is, because it just kind of sounds like noise to me, because it just doesn't make sense on its face, but what are some of the main arguments against animal agriculture that are prominent now? And what would be your counter to that from the regenerative standpoint, in terms of just environmental sustainability?

[01:17:50] Robby Sansom: Yeah, there's a lot of intellectual dishonesty taking place, and sort of selective measures to construct and frame a narrative that's profitable, right? I'm going to be grossly succinct in trying to go through some of these, right? I think starting at the top, carbon, atmospheric carbon, CO2, methane, unchanged, or burps, I think that there are some life cycle assessments that show, and Impossible Foods is one that used the same lab that we use, Quintus Labs, to do a study, and it's called a cradle to grave study.

[01:18:33] And it measures the total carbon impact of a product. And it looks at all of the things that go into producing that product through the production of and ultimately landing on a finished product. And if you look at the worst example, if you want to construct a straw man, you look at the worst example of beef, it's terrible on that measure. It's something like 30 pounds of carbon or carbon equivalents produced for every pound of beef. And so, that's what is used. What a great talking point, let's just run with that, right?

[01:19:10] I think Impossible and Beyond, I forget which order, these great solutions, one of them emits three-and-a-half pounds of carbon equivalence for every pound of sludge, and one is four pounds. So, they are less bad than the worst example that could come up with a meat to attack, right? A regenerative beef animal, we funded a study, the prior organization I was with, we funded a study at Wide Oak Pastures to represent what a holistically managed regenerative operation could do. And what we showed is for every pound of beef produced in our regenerating system, you can sequester three-and-a-half pounds of carbon out in the atmosphere.

[01:19:48] Luke Storey: So, it's carbon negative.

[01:19:49] Robby Sansom: It's carbon negative. So, the easiest way to think about that is for every Impossible burger or every Beyond Burger that is consumed, you need to eat one regenerative burger to offset the carbon footprint.

[01:20:00] Luke Storey: To get a net zero.

[01:20:01] Robby Sansom: Yeah. So, that's carbon. And then, on the methane part of it or the burps part of it, there's more sciencey nuance to that, but I mean, at the end of the day, we're talking about biogenic methane. There is methane in the environment. Methane, it's not evil on itself, right? There is methane atrophic bacteria that process it. There's been ruminant since the beginning of time or animals since the beginning of time producing methane, a bigger—so like there's a natural cycle of methane that takes place that isn't worsening because cattle exist, right?

[01:20:40] And further, tthat process is much different than CO2, in that methane begins to break down in the atmosphere in about 10 years. CO2 takes about a thousand years. So, as long as our population of these contributors is relatively consistent, it's breaking down as fast as it's being contributed, and it's sort of at this sustaining biogenic level. Now, we have none, we have other biogenic contributors, too. Marshes, termites, all these things that are doing decomposition, because we're talking about a gas as a result of decomposition. We have non-biogenic sources and larger contributors than cattle like landfills, right?

[01:21:21] So, there's a lot more nuance to it than it would be presented. Another issue is, obviously, sentience, and lifeforms, and loss of life, right? And it's sad that something has to die to create life, but I mean, that's the way things work on this planet, sadly. Something has to die to create plants, too. And I mean that literally. Something has to die and decompose to create the organic matter that plants need and the nutrients that plants need to survive. And in the monocropping of plants, you can create the loss of billions of lives, all sentient.

[01:21:50] Luke Storey: Yeah. That point right there was something I really had to grapple with when I made the decision to not be vegetarian anymore. And it's been a long time, and I feel much better in all ways. But I was just thinking about, you take a piece of raw land, and you think, I want to grow a bunch of spinach, or kale, or broccoli, or whatever, soybeans, corn, any plant-based diet foods.

[01:22:13] You think about how many thousands of creatures you got to kill to turn that into a crop, from all of the insects to the amphibians, to the reptiles, to the birds, to the vermins, its mice, gofers, squirrels, all those creatures that called that their home. It's like from a philosophical point of view, what makes their life less valuable than if you took that same land and you raised one cow to slaughter?

[01:22:44] You know what I mean? Like you're going to kill one cow that's just grazing on land, where you don't have to kill anything, except maybe things that it steps on, right? You just have one pasture with a cow on it, the caloric value you're going to get from that one cow versus a monocrop of corn, and how many more animals actually died to produce that corn versus the one animal that you slaughtered to get that meat?

[01:23:08] Robby Sansom: Yeah. And it sort of begs the question, how big does it have to be and how visible does it have to be before it factors into your own personal calculus? And judgment-free, you choose yours, but either you have some measure, where you're like, well, as long as it's a bit smaller than this or as long as it's not a mammal, which mammals are dying here. So, I don't understand that argument, because to me, I see that as fundamentally flawed. But to each their own, you still have to answer that question.

[01:23:39] Luke Storey: Yeah. I mean, it was a question I had to arrive at. And I think where I eventually landed was, and this would sound like a copout to anyone who's vehemently against eating animals, but everything is energy and energy in nature just consumes other energy. It's just a cycle. And if I die right now and you throw me out in the field outside this building, I'm going to be energy for other things that are going to come eat me, bacteria, fungi, et cetera.

[01:24:10] Eventually, I'll become part of the soil that then becomes grasses that ruminants come eat, and then wolves, and coyotes, and bears come eat them, and so on and so on, right? It's just like, I don't know, I just arrived, I guess this is just the way nature works, and I have to get out of, for me, again, personally, just the guilt trap of like it's almost like martyrdom. It's like I would rather, when I was a vegetarian, it's like, well, I would rather suffer and have ill health than have a cow, or a chicken, or fish have to die for me.

[01:24:43] In other words, like reconciling my own self-importance while my life's more important than a cow, so they have to die, so I can eat them. Like I had to just get all of that out of my thought process and just kind of understand that this is fundamentally the way things work. And that is not to vilify anyone who chooses a higher value for a gofer that they have to kill to grow some plant food than a grasshopper.

[01:25:12] You know what I mean? That's up to you if you have that value judgment system, but I don't really have a value judgment system now in terms of one sentient being's life being more valuable than another, because they're all just the same life force energy that are animating each and every creature. Some of those creatures are more further developed, perhaps intellectually. 

[01:25:31] With humans, that could be debatable based on how dumb we are sometimes, but I mean, I think it's like, also, humans have, generally, a much harder time killing something the closer it is to us, right? Like to me, killing a bear, when you see a skinned bear, it looks pretty close to a person. Next after that, a pig. Even more so, like a primate, an ape, baboon, et cetera, right? So, seems like we're OK with killing animals the further away they get from us.

[01:26:01] And I think within that might be the reconciliation of our own mortality. And I had that when I butchered the pig that I shot. It was like when I cut it open, I was like, shit, that could be me hanging there. That's what I look like on the inside. That's where my organs are. My lungs and heart don't look much different from that. So, if it can happen to me, then comes that sort of intrinsic fear, shit. It's like, we're all mortal.

[01:26:30] And I think when we accept our own mortality and really build our natural relationship to our own temporary state in a body, then it's sort of like everything becomes fair game, no pun intended. But anyway, that's kind of been my emotional, spiritual, intellectual process of reconciling that going from a pretty committed vegetarian for a long time to someone now who is obsessed mostly on meat. I mean, I don't eat a hell of a lot other than animal products now, because that's what my body tells me it wants, and I listen.

[01:27:02] Robby Sansom: And it goes back to what we were talking about a moment ago, the human experience and our detachment from nature. Do we even understand what life is? Do we even understand what death is? Right? And how we may misinterpret these experiences based off of the lens and perspective of modern times, right? And going back to the sentience, and the loss of life and food production, what about the experience of the migrant workers that are producing that food or the family farms that are producing that food that lose their land, their generational wealth, and maybe feel so anxious and depressed about it that they lose their own life?

[01:27:39] Again, it goes deep and there's a lot to it. And I don't think that we can just be so selective in what we choose to acknowledge and not acknowledge, right? Another myth would be water use. Another popular myth. They say, I don't even know what they are. I think they say that it takes hundreds or thousands of gallons of water to produce a pound of beef or a bathtub to produce a pound of beef, whatever.

[01:28:06] I mean, you've seen the ads that mock it, and to, again, remove a lot of the science, they kind of measure the stuff based on blue water, green water, and gray water. And the truth is 95 to 98% of the water that they attribute to creating a pound of beef is rain, and river, and pond water. It's water-growing grass that those animals should be eating. That doesn't seem like they should be penalized for that.

[01:28:32] The water that's part of a natural cycle and in nature doesn't seem like it's a cost or an externality of the production of something. What I would be concerned about is how much water are we having to drill wells, to spray, to irrigate fields, to augment lack of rain in these deserts that we've turned into monocrop areas where we cultivate food, right? To me, that seems synthetic, not rain filling a tank and watering the grass that a ruminant's going to graze, and then come up to and drink from, right?

[01:29:12] So, again, that's the sort of intellectual dishonesty that we're talking about. And I think some of that sentient stuff that you were pointing to is the sort of cognitive dissonance that is convenient to manipulate if you're one of these bad actors trying to take advantage of the good intentions of people that don't understand the complexities of all these processes.

[01:29:32] Luke Storey: The water point, and I'm glad you remember to throw that one in, because I watched a documentary about, ah, I forget the name of it, otherwise, I would put it in the show notes. But it was about California, which is just rife with water problems. And it was about almond farming, all of the nut tree farming going up in Central California, and how those trees, and you think like, oh, I'm going to drink almond milk, because it's good for the environment, right?

[01:29:59] Because I don't want to drink cow milk, because cows are drinking all the water, to the water piece, you're like, no, it's the freaking nut trees, especially almonds. So, it does get so nuanced and I don't mean to paint this as like, haha, we're right, they are wrong, because the us and them thing is part of the underlying problem with all of this, right? But I think it's important to acknowledge, as you said, some of the intellectual dishonesty or bias in an effort to get to the solution.

[01:30:28] So, imagine someone is a farmer that farms almonds and is losing this farm, because there's no more water, because the neighbor next door drew too many wells and is now sucking all the water out of the aquifer for his almond trees, if this farmer of these dead almond fields threw a bunch of ruminants out there and started going in regenerative agriculture, could he not then start sequestering what little rain there is and actually restore the aquifers by capturing that water that doesn't become runoff? Right? I mean, how does the water sequestration element play into this? And not only some of the misinformation out there being propagated that raising cattle waste so much water, how are regenerative practices actually conserving and utilizing water?

[01:31:21] Robby Sansom: Yeah. And let's not forget in those almond examples, too, that they take semi trucks and put bees on them to bring them into those environments, because they're so degraded and sick that they don't have the pollinators there to actually produce those elements. And about 50% of these bees die in that journey and experience, because it's so unhealthy for them and they get exposed to all these toxins.

[01:31:39] And then, almonds are, what, 30 bucks a pound, or more, and then people are concerned about meat being too expensive, right? I think I want to get into the water piece, but just maybe my last point n infiltration and stuff, but my last point on some myths around agriculture and plants versus animals, I think one of the easy ways to synthesize it down is to say, we removed animals from the land, and we tilled up those lands to create monocultures. 

[01:32:12] And that became more difficult, so we invented new technologies, and chemicals, and practices to continue to perpetuate and stand up this synthetic system that is losing the battle against nature. And we've created a myriad of global crises in the process. And right now, this popular proposed solution is to remove more animals from the land and do more of the very same things, to create, to take ecosystems and put monochrome plants on them, and then process them further into other forms of food.

[01:32:43] And that is not a solution. Do not fall for that trick. They are playing you to get rich on intellectual property. And I think when you are allowed to have these sorts of conversations and break it down that simply, it's pretty obvious what's going on, especially when you look at some of these companies having two billion dollars of money that they've raised or cash in bank accounts in an industry, these plant-based meat alternatives, they sell about not even 500 million dollars in sales a year, but these companies are valued in billions.

[01:33:14] The industry is tiny, it's not that big, we're just being misled by press, and media, and influence. But what about water issues in all of this? Real water issues, right? When you practice conventional agriculture for too long and you disrupt the life beneath the soil, one of the things that happen is organic matter oxidizes, which releases carbon into the atmosphere.

[01:33:43] The life, because we're all carbon-based life, the important nutrient energy cycles that would take place to sustain life beneath the soil are no longer happening. All the ecosystem services from above and below that we were talking about below, so the soil begins to actually die. The organic matter continues to come down. As you till, you break up life, mycorrhizal fungi and other life forms that are large, some of the largest lifeforms on the planet, very complex, and very nuanced, and amazing, almost magical, the things that they can do if we were to get into that.

[01:34:15] But by tilling, you break them up, you disturb them, you destroy them, you expose them to sun, they oxidize more carbon into the atmosphere, right? When you break up the networks, and the communities, and the stickiness of the life that forms these aggregate structures, the soil begins to no longer hold its form and structure, and begins to collapse to be more like dust or dirt.

[01:34:36] Then, you're running these blades over it, you're exposing it further, it is becoming compacted. And it's less porous, there's less air, there's less opportunity for it to breathe. And you're exposing bare ground to sun, where if it's covered, you can keep it 20 to 40 degrees cooler in the hottest of days and warmer in the coldest of days. But when it's bare and it's exposed, it bakes, it gets to upwards of the temperature that actually kills life, right? 

[01:35:07] Upwards of 140 degrees. Again, you're killing that microbiology. We talk about gut biome and microbiomes, and the importance of biomes, you're killing the soil biome. More carbon oxidizes into the atmosphere, the soil becomes more lifeless. Now, we're down to the average plot of land in the United States where these processes have happened year in and year out for the last few generations since the Industrial Revolution. 

[01:35:34] And you have soil that used to have maybe 8% organic matter in it and thriving down to some of the stuff that we saw, right? Less than 1% organic matter, and it's not functioning. It's not producing nutrients. It's not allowing water to infiltrate. And it's causing soil erosion, because that soil itself is not protected. And water infiltration is an interesting one, right?

[01:35:58] Because I think when we talk about issues that we're facing, we talk about, wow, it's weird, we're getting all these crazy bad storms, and hurricanes, and heavy rainfall events, but then that is offset by these crazy periods of drought where we don't have rain. And I think what people don't realize is the massive amounts of land that roughly third of the planet that agriculture is practiced on influences weather patterns. 

[01:36:24] Having life on the land, and moisture in the soil, and organic matter in the soil, and having small weather systems, and fog, and precipitation in the area promotes continuous ongoing small rain events in between these large ones, right? And everything I just talked about that degrades the soil and leaves us with this lifeless substrate will not cause the soil to compact, and then rain can't infiltrate. Healthy soils can infiltrate rates of rain of up to 10, 15 inches an hour. That's a big rain, like a heavy rain event.

[01:36:55] Luke Storey: It's like a sponge.

[01:36:56] Robby Sansom: I mean, a heavy rain event is five inch an hour sort of rate for a short period of time. So, you get when these big rain events, what should happen is that should infiltrate healthy soil and that organic matter in the soil allows it to hold that water and keep it through any eventual period of drought. Unhealthy soil causes that water to runoff, which results in, guess what, a flood.

[01:37:21] And then, all that water that should have been retained in the soil and stored there to keep the soil health there, and functioning, and precipitation in the system, it was no longer able to be used effectively and it's gone. So, now, in a period of drought, they become brittle and dry. And these things perpetuate themselves. And it's a cycle that gets worse and worse if we don't resolve it.

[01:37:44] Luke Storey: Wow. Dude, thank you. I think we did it. When I know we're good, I get this little voice inside that's like mic dropped right there, you guys are good. Yeah. Anything else you want to say? I think we covered everything I wanted to really get into today.

[01:38:03] Robby Sansom: I would thank you, of course, and thank the farmers and land stewards out there that are putting everything that they know and have on the line to feed all of us, and ask that we recognize them, and celebrate them, and be thoughtful of them and their experience in the land and the animals, just like everything else that I know that we all care about, in the communities of people that rely on them for their livelihoods.

[01:38:25] And then, for anybody listening that is a consumer, I want you to recognize the power that you wield. It is truly in your hands. This isn't something that you can abstain from. You're involved and being a part of the solution or perpetuating something else. And I encourage you to educate yourself to the ability that you can. I, at Force of Nature, if you do nothing else, please follow us. We have forceofnature.com. You don't have to buy anything.

[01:38:52] Just go check it out, and learn, and get a sense of what's going on, and arm yourself to be a better steward of the things that you do care about and the things that you think are important for the future in your community. And if you do want to support us or support anybody that we work with in your purchasing and your consumption, fantastic. I would love that, right? But more than anything, I'd love for you to spread the word about how you can make a difference in supporting good systems, and being a catalyst for meaningful change, and join the regenerative revolution.

[01:39:20] Luke Storey: Awesome. Thank you for that. Who have been three teachers or teachings that have influenced your life and your work?

[01:39:25] Robby Sansom: Oh, that's a good one. Asking for three, huh? I'd say I'd start with my parents, just encouraging me, and supporting me, and helping me to believe in myself and work hard, but not to forget that life is short, and relationships with people, and family, and communities are important, and that experience is something that can't ever be redone. So, try to do the best you can every day. I've mentioned White Oak Pastures, Will Harris out there. He's absolutely a mentor of mine. I respect the hell out of that guy. And he's a true leader in more ways than one and is a special person. And for a third, I feel like it changes every chapter of your life, right?

[01:40:24] Luke Storey: Well, I'll probably interview you again at some point and you can give us your three current at that time.

[01:40:28] Robby Sansom: I know. I feel like I should choose some stoic philosopher right now, but I'm not there yet. I would say that I had a group of mentors in my life, and I probably couldn't distill it down to one, but I can distill it down into one message that they gave me that was life changing for me, and that was to not settle, and don't let complacency and comfort be the siren song that prevents you from following your passions and your dreams. I think in some ways, that gets dumbed down into do what you love and success will follow, and it's true, right?

[01:41:14] But I think there's so much nuance to it. And I think an understanding of that saying that many a false step was made by standing still, right? And I see too many people accepting an existence and a life that doesn't inspire them, it doesn't fulfill them, it doesn't energize them mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. And they have so much potential within them. We all have genius within us, right? So, go find that and recognize that success looks like being able to do that, not some other contrived notion that is popularized on social media.

[01:41:49] Luke Storey: Nice, brother. Thank you. And a great conversation. Thanks for joining me today.

[01:41:53] Robby Sansom: Well, thanks for letting me talk too much, probably.

[01:41:56] Luke Storey: No, I love it.

[01:41:57] Robby Sansom: I appreciate it. I enjoyed it as well. It's always fun.

[01:41:58] Luke Storey: We do deep dives here, man. In the first couple of years, I tried to truncate the messages, and I'm just like, it's way too much work. I just want to go. I want to get everything out. Because the thing is, too, you never know when you're going to see someone again, too. Like always about an hour in, I'm like, is this too long ago? And I go, yeah, but when is this going to happen again? There's only one moment, like let's get it all in. And for those that stay the whole ride and listen to the whole episode, great, and those that just get the first little bit, good for them, too. So, no, I love it, dude. I love your depth of passion, and knowledge, and expertise, so thank you so much.

[01:42:29] Robby Sansom: Well, I appreciate it. Thank you as well. Thank you all for listening.


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