The farm, located in the Capay Valley of northern California, has woven nature into its 400 acres of produce, flowers and livestock pastures. The urgency, in part, Dru says is because it takes five years for the hedgerows to become mature. Each 10-12-acre block is surrounded by hedgerows or Cache Creek’s riparian corridor, which ensures beneficial birds and insects are close by providing their pest control services. Besides vegetation supporting birds, Dru is pleased to have Barn Owls nesting in their buildings, helping to keep the rodents down within a quarter mile.
Dr. Olivia Smith is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Georgia Athens College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Her research examines the relationships between crop and livestock practices, landscape features surrounding the farm, and crop contamination by birds. In this video Olivia describes how birds on farms with natural areas are the lowest risk to food safety, whereas birds on farms surrounded by high intensity livestock production are a much higher risk.