The cultivation of trees on agricultural land helps to enrich soils, maintain soil moisture and stop erosion, provide vital habitat for wildlife, as well as store carbon. This practice, where tree and shrub cultivation is incorporated among crops or pasture, is called agroforestry and is the center of attention in a recent study looking at how to reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture.
Birds reduced insect pests in conventional alfalfa by over 33%, according to a new study published in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. Habitat is key: the reduction of pests occurs where crops are near habitat. The study found that the fields with bordering trees had a lower number of pest weevils near those field borders, indicating that birds are very important pest control operators. When farms provide habitat near food sources (in this case pest insects), they benefit more than those farms without habitat on the edges.
Happy New Year! Wild Farm Alliance is excited for 2016, and we are so grateful to begin this new year with you.
Your support is the backbone of our work. Because of you, we are starting off 2016 stronger than ever. Last year, you helped strengthen the capacity of farmers to adapt to the impacts of climate change through regenerative agriculture. You also helped to educate consumers about the impact on biodiversity that their food choices have. And finally, your support in 2015 helped finalize the new food safety rule that encourages wildlife habitat on the farm.
With our encouragement, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) written by Congress sought to make sure that conservation mandates would be addressed in these regulations, and that no conflicts or duplication would occur with the National Organic Program. While we don't like everything in this Produce Rule (there was no attempt to rein in misguided buyer requirements), we feel FDA heard our concerns about conservation.