August 2023 - News from the Wild Side


The hot, hazy days of summer roll on and the work of Wild Farm Alliance remains critical as many parts of the country continue to feel the effects of wildfires and extreme weather events. We stay committed to the work of building resilient farmscapes. This month, WFA is happy to release our newest video resource about the benefit of complementary natural enemy insect habitat on a farm. Now, more than ever, efforts to feed our communities using strategies that support ecosystem health and climate resiliency are truly needed. We also share information about upcoming field days and a podcast episode from Food Chain Radio featuring WFA’s Jo Ann Baumgartner. We give an update on WFA’s efforts to support climate-smart ag programs in the Farm Bill. We showcase a poem written by farmer Steve Sprinkel from the perspective of a hawk and information about two open positions at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Finally, we highlight our nesting structures resource and ask you to use, share, and support future resources to increase biodiversity on farms.

Enjoy this month’s news from the wild!

Blanket of Attack: New Natural Enemies Video Resource

Save the Dates for Field Days this Fall

FREE Technical Assistance for California Farmers Available

WFA Joins an Episode of Food Chain Radio

One Year Anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act

Hawk Diligence

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is Hiring

Support New Grower Resources

Blanket of Attack: New Natural Enemies Video Resource

Farmland that provides food and shelter for a variety of natural enemy insects can boost crop health and yield. Our new video resource, Blanket of Attack: Supporting Natural Enemy Insects, features Karell Reader of Luz del Valle Farm and Bill Snyder, professor of agroecology at University of Georgia. Karell shares her journey of increasing biodiversity on her farm and the benefits natural enemy insects bring to her apple orchards. Bill discusses how a farm that supports different species with different ecological niches provides a blanket of attack. No matter what the life cycle or location of the pest, there are always natural enemies around to attack it.

Watch the video here


Braga Fresh Wildflower Habitat

Save the Dates for Field Days this Fall

We are excited to announce two Farmland Wildways Field Days in November! The events will feature several speakers including farmers, ag researchers, conservation professionals and more.

Wednesday, November 1: Braga Fresh Farms in Soledad, CA

WFA is partnering with Braga Fresh Farms and California Marine Sanctuary Foundation on a field day that showcases the use of wildflowers and other kinds of habitat, ditch management and tillage. You’ll learn about natural enemy insect pest control and food safety and tour Braga’s low-till demonstration project.

Friday, November 10: Luz del Valle Farm in Aptos, CA

Karell Reader’s farm is featured in the new video resource above. Come see the farm for yourself and attend a field day that includes several speakers discussing different kinds of pest management strategies and highlights this beautiful, diverse farm. You’ll hear from Karell about snakes, birds and other beneficial species that help her control pests.


Three people assessing a farm

FREE Technical Assistance for California Farmers Available

Wild Farm Alliance is currently collecting information from interested California farmers who want to work with us to create conservation plans. We have received funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture to support California farmers to create one of the following types of plans: Beneficial Bird Habitat Plan, Pollinator Habitat Plan and Carbon Farm Plan. Together, we will assess your farm’s natural resources and concerns, identify multiple opportunities for improvements and prioritize plans for the best outcomes. 

The plans will help you be better prepared when applying for assistance with state and federal agencies such as CDFA and NRCS. If you are interested in working with us to create a conservation plan, please complete the interest form at the link below and we will be in touch.

Complete the Interest Form Here


Food Chain Radio

WFA Joins an Episode of Food Chain Radio

When a major food safety outbreak occurred a couple of decades ago, big produce buyers began discouraging the existence of wildlife on farms. 

The Food Chain Radio Show & Podcast with Michael Olson hosts Jo Ann Baumgartner, Executive Director of Wild Farm Alliance and Sam Earnshaw of Hedgerows Unlimited, for a discussion about allowing nature, and its wildlife, back on the farm. 

Topics include why some say wildlife should be allowed on the farm; ways in which populations of wildlife may be encouraged on the farm; and how consumers can help return wildlife to the farm.

Listen to the episode on the Food Chain Radio Website Here

Listen on Spotify Here


Inflation Reduction Act

One Year Anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act

Last year, congress allocated $20 billion in funding for extremely effective and popular Farm Bill conservation programs through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). These voluntary programs enable producers to adopt practices that build soil health, sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also improving surface and ground water quality, increasing water efficiency, building resilience to drought and flood, creating habitat for fish and wildlife, and protecting agricultural lands for future generations. We are working to protect that funding for climate-smart ag and to ensure that it is included in the 2023 Farm Bill. WFA joined hundreds of organizations in a Letter to Congress asking to protect IRA funding for Farm Bill conservation programs.

Read the letter to Congress here


Hawk on Fencepost

Photo: Jim Bahn

Hawk Diligence

By Steve Sprinkel

I’m not going anywhere.

Morning’s sun makes a world for me.

Twilight establishes my limitations.

My next great adventure

begins in the field below.

My talons are strong,

my legs firm as branches.

I fly from tree to post and

wait for the grass to move.

Now is the only now

and the dry grass will tell.


NSAC is Hiring

Wild Farm Alliance is a member of this national coalition where we partner with more than 200 groups from across the country to work on national policies that help to build a resilient agricultural system. We are excited to see these open positions and encourage qualified applicants to submit applications! 

Grassroots Co-Director

NSAC is seeking a collaborative, creative grassroots leader to support and empower their 130+ member grassroots coalition in transforming federal farm and food policy.

Research and Policy Analyst

NSAC is seeking a Research and Policy Analyst to support their policy development and advocacy. Through data collection and analysis, this position will contribute to NSAC’s policy and appropriations campaigns, annual priority setting process, and communications advocacy. The Analyst will also contribute significantly to NSAC’s efforts to identify policy changes needed to reform program access, delivery, and outcomes for historically underserved producers.

Read more here


Support New Grower Resources

Most fledglings have now left the nest. Unless you’ve been able to directly observe your nest boxes, you’re probably wondering which nest boxes were occupied and which birds were using them. Utilize our publication Nesting Structures for Beneficial Birds on the Farm to help identify, based on nest remains, which bird species used your boxes and learn how to clean out your nest boxes this fall. Haven’t installed nest boxes yet? This is a good time to start planning for next year and this publication will walk you through the steps.

This document is just one example of the many tools that WFA offers for growers and other land stewards to increase the abundance of beneficial wildlife on the farm. We rely on individual donations to fund our work and the creation of new publications. Help us continue to create and distribute new resources for farmers and ag professionals with a donation today!

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