As we celebrate the return of light this solstice, WFA also celebrates successes in fostering biodiversity and resilient food systems. In this month’s newsletter, we share highlights from a recent WFA field day and the Organic Grower’s Summit as well as information about our upcoming field day in February 2024. We also relay information about funding for designing and implementing pollinator habitat, and an exciting mandate that will impact biodiversity in the viticulture industry. Finally, we give an update on Inflation Reduction Act conservation funding from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and ask for your support in bringing nature back to our farms and ranches.
Enjoy this month’s news from the wild. We wish you peace and good health in the New Year!
Recent Field Day Showcases A Diverse Apple Orchard
On a chilly fall morning, over 35 participants gathered to discuss integrating nature’s services into apple production at Luz del Valle Farm in Corralitos, CA. The operation showcases a diverse farmscape that offers numerous niches for beneficial organisms. Stewardship is front and center on this farm.
Save The Date: King & King Ranch Field Day in Fillmore, CA on February 29, 2024, 8AM - 1PM
Join Wild Farm Alliance at King & King Ranch in Fillmore for an informative morning showcasing practices in avocados and citrus that support natural enemy insects, pollinators and beneficial birds for pest control. The event will feature a bird and habitat walk, a series of talks given by growers, researchers, and professionals, and a tour of a newly planted hedgerow. Registration will open soon for those who are interested in biological means for pest management. This field day is part of an in-person Ventura County gathering, held as part of CAFF’s 36th annual California Small Farm Conference.
New Pest Initiative Could Boost Organics
WFA’s Jo Ann Baumgartner recently joined a panel discussion about sustainable pest management at the Organic Grower Summit in Monterey, California. The panel examined how a new California “roadmap” for enhanced pest management could create a competitive advantage for organic growers, who are already doing many of the practices.
They also discussed how the organic industry needs to continually improve their nature based pest management strategies while better co-existing with food safety. Jo Ann shared the importance of having year-round habitat on farms so that beneficial insects and birds are there and ready to manage pests when needed.
Funding Available for California Farmers to Design and Install Pollinator Habitat
Wild Farm Alliance is partnering with Pollinator Partnership and Community Alliance With Family Farmers (CAFF) to help California farmers install pollinator habitat. Through the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Pollinator Habitat Program, each project will be designed so that regionally appropriate species are chosen to support pollinators and soils. A priority will be given to plant species that have high establishment rates, low cost, drought tolerance, low maintenance, and soil health benefits. Pollinator Partnership, CAFF, WFA are excited to work with growers to design and implement practices that support pollinators such as:
Napa Green Members Will Phase out Glyphosate
Napa Green, a nonprofit organization that provides certification services for regenerative viticulture and sustainable winemaking, will require its members to phase out the use of the herbicide Roundup and other glyphosate-based products by Jan. 1, 2026. Noting that "eliminating the use of glyphosate is not a silver bullet," Napa Green will also work with its members to phase out the use of all synthetic herbicides by two years later.
The group has developed a weed management toolkit and is planning a series of training workshops. It also established a fund to which growers can apply for support during the transition.
WFA is pleased to see Napa Green take this step in fostering biodiversity in the wine industry. See our video about how Grgich Hills Estate Winery in Napa Valley is utilizing biodiversity instead of trying to control it with chemicals.
Inflation Reduction Act Conservation Dollars Are a Vital Bulwark Against Climate Change
From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
On August 16, 2022 when the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was signed into law, it solidified an historic investment in addressing the climate crisis and reflected key priorities lifted up by the farmers and communities that NSAC’s members serve. Chief among these priorities was the IRA’s allocation of nearly $20 billion in new agricultural conservation funding in four key conservation programs: the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
More than a year later, this once-in-a-generation investment approximately doubled the funding available for the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) core conservation programs. These funds come at a time when farmers are experiencing ever more volatile climate impacts. IRA investments are building farmers’ resilience to climate-related challenges.
Support WFA with a Year-End Gift
Our dedicated community of wild farming advocates continues to be the driving force behind our shared vision for a wild and resilient food system. Help us continue this work in 2024 with a donation today. We are halfway to our goal of raising $30,000, your gift will help us cross the finish line!
By making a gift today, you can help us scale-up our work to bring nature back to our farms. You can help us expand our Farmland Flyways in the Midwest and beyond, supporting farmers with tools and resources on how to install native habitat to support beneficial birds. Your gift will provide education and outreach on wild farming practices to farmers and agricultural professionals through field days, webinars and presentations across the country. You can help reconnect our food systems with ecosystems by supporting WFA’s 2050 Vision, a bold plan that addresses the climate and biodiversity crises with effective solutions.
The first 100 supporters to make a year-end gift of $75 or more will get a choice between a Wild Farm Alliance organic cotton embroidered hat or a set of 10 Wild and Wondrous Greeting Cards. Donate $125 or more and get both!