News From the Wild Side - April 2019


FREE Resource: Supporting Beneficial Birds and Managing Pest Birds 

Bird_cover_page.jpgIn case you missed it, Wild Farm Alliance released a new resource aimed at helping farmers support beneficial birds and manage pest birds! 

This 64-page booklet includes: 

  • Colorful Accounts of How Birds Can be Beneficial in Crops and on Pasture
  • USDA‚Äôs Historic Economic Ornithology Division
  • How Best to Manage and Co-exist with Pest Birds
  • Why On-Farm Habitat and the Surrounding Landscape Influences Pest Control
  • What Farmers Can Do to Make Farms More Bird-Friendly and Resilient
  • How Birds‚Äô Diets, Foraging Strategies and Nesting Periods Affect the Farm
  • Inspiring Stories from Ten Innovative Farmers¬†

Click here to learn more and download your free copy!

Not surprisingly, growers tend to know a lot more about the birds that cause damage than about those that are beneficial. Losses can be significant for some crops, but the benefits of the pest control services provided by birds have not often been measured. This new resource discusses the research behind both beneficial and pest birds, getting new information into the hands of farmers.

By providing habitat for beneficial birds, farmers are improving the biodiversity of their operations which increases the resiliency of the farm. This new resource gives farmers practical and research-based information on the importance of specific birds to crops.

You can also purchase a hard copy for $10 - click here to order your copy today.

See You at WFA's Upcoming Field Days

Our March field days were wildly successful! We sat under a canopy of trees and on hay bales learning about how to support beneficial birds with information shared by the speakers. We are so grateful for farmers Duane Chamberlain and Julie Johnson for hosting us. 

Be sure to check out Wild Farm Alliance's Instagram and Facebook accounts to see pictures from the two events. You can also read an article about the Chamberlain Field Day in the Daily Democrat and one on the Tres Sabores Day at National Association of Conservation Districts blog. 

Wrights_Station_Vineyard_Flyer.jpgBenefiting From and Managing Birds and Bugs: Wrights Stations Vineyard, Los Gatos, CA - Wednesday, April 24, 2019

We are partnering with Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association to host the 2019 Spring winegrowers’ meeting. Topics will focus on supporting native birds as natural pest control agents and on promoting and supporting beneficial insects to consume winegrape pests like mealybugs, leafhoppers, sharpshooters and tree hoppers.

Jo Ann Baumgartner of Wild Farm Alliance will lead a discussion on the many positive contributions to pest control made by local bird life and what we can do to support that. She will also cover pest birds and their control.

Houston Wilson, PhD and Asst. Cooperative Extension Specialist, will present his extensive work with Napa growers on beneficial insect habitat and successful release of effective species.

Elissa Olimpi, PhD and avian researcher, will give a live presentation of local bird life temporarily captured from the immediate Wrights Station Vineyard edges in a mist net demonstration. Come on time as we will not hold the birds for long and you will have a chance to see up close our avian neighbors.

Free for SCMWA, $15 for non-members

To register:¬†[email protected]

Click here for more information

riverhill-farm.jpgAll Things Avian: Farmer to Farmer Field Day at Riverhill Farm, Nevada City, CA - Thursday, May 30, 2019

Almost 20 years ago, Alan Haight and Jo McProud transformed a dry grassland with a couple of ponds into a profitable farm and an oasis for birds and other wildlife. Their goal was to increase the biodiversity on their farm. Ornithologists and entomologists tell them they’ve succeeded. Counts show there are now more birds and insect life on the farm than in the surrounding natural landscape. They have sculpted the farm using crops, native vegetation and permeable fencing to allow for water and beneficial wildlife to flow right through, while holding the soil in place and reaping some pest control along the way. This field day will showcase their beneficial bird and insect pest control strategies. Registration will open soon!

Conservation Stewardship Program Enrollment is Open


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that farmers and ranchers have until May 10, 2019 to submit an initial FY 2019 application for the nation’s largest working lands program, the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Over 70 million acres across the country are currently enrolled in CSP contracts, and this enrollment period presents an opportunity for even more farmers to advance whole-farm conservation on their lands. CSP helps producers to improve their profitability and sustainability by protecting and enhancing soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat across millions of acres of agricultural land.

We urge all eligible farmers and ranchers to take advantage of this opportunity and to apply for CSP before the May 10 deadline.

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New Podcast: Flipping the Table


If you haven't already, be sure to check out this new podcast by WFA Board member, Michael Dimock. Flipping the Table: Honest Conversations About Food, Farming and the Future is full of inspiring interviews and conversations about our food system.

The production of food does more to damage the planet’s health than any other human activity. Global warming, degradation of species, soil, water, air and rural economies and epidemics of diet-related disease reveal the challenges. And yet there is real hope. Visionaries and revolutionaries are innovating to replace the harmful. They are creating or supporting agriculture and food enterprises that solve our many challenges. This podcast features dynamic and enlightening conversations with the people who are flipping the table to create new ways to feed the world. Listeners are energized and inspired in our challenging times.

Two episodes to put at the top of your list are conversations with other WFA Board Members, Dan Imhoff (Episode #8) and Paul Dolan (Episodes #13 and #14).

Listen Here

Two New Books for Your Reading List


The first book, The Farm Bill: A Citizen’s Guide, is by WFA co-founder and President Dan Imhoff, and Christine Badarraco. The 2018 Farm Bill is one of America’s most important pieces of legislation. Costing taxpayers nearly $100 billion per year, it defines the policies that shape nutrition assistance, local and organic food, the fate of family farmers and biodiversity, and more.

At nearly 1,000 pages, the Farm Bill’s thick web of technical jargon and acronyms makes it difficult to comprehend for many policymakers, let alone citizens. In the book, author Dan Imhoff applies twenty years of experience translating the Farm Bill into plain language to today’s most pressing debates.

With his co-author Christina Badaracco, he explains the basic elements of the Farm Bill, its origins and history, and the battles that will determine the direction of food policy in the coming years. The result is an accessible, graphics-rich 200 pages that break policies down into relatable concepts and offer a vision of a more democratic Farm Bill.

Click here to order your copy.



The second book is by a longtime friend and former Board member of WFA, Gary Nabhan.¬†In¬†Food from the Radical Center,¬†Nabhan tells the stories of diverse communities who are getting their hands dirty and bringing back North America's unique fare: bison, sturgeon, camas lilies, ancient grains, turkeys, and more. These efforts have united people from the left and right, rural and urban, faith-based and science-based, in game-changing collaborations. Their successes are extraordinary by any measure, whether economic, ecological, or social. In fact, the restoration of land and rare species has provided‚ÄĒdollar for dollar‚ÄĒone of the best returns on investment of any conservation initiative.

Click here to order your copy.

VR_cropped_color.jpgRewilding in North America and Europe

Rewilding Institute recently conducted an interview with Vance Russell, WFA Advisory Board Member. 

Vance Russell is the head of biodiversity at Ecosulis which provides a variety of services including rewilding, wildlands plans, and approaches to landscape-scale conservation. Vance was California Director of Programs for the National Forest Foundation where he managed forestry projects throughout the state. He was also director of Audubon California’s Landowner Stewardship Program, working with farmers and ranchers throughout California. Vance is one of the founding members of the Wild Farm Alliance.


  • Differences and similarities between North American and European Rewilding efforts.
  • Bridging the gaps between stakeholders‚Äô disparate views on biodiversity rewilding needs.
  • Farming then and now: how technology could help Rewilding projects.
  • The future of Rewilding globally and the need for all levels of participation: how you can get involved.

Listen Here

Build a Border Wall? Here’s an Idea That’s Better for Communities and the Climate

Nabhan-by-Dennis-Moroney-2018.jpgThis is an op ed by WFA friend and supporter, Gary Paul Nabhan, that was originally published in The Revelator, an initiative of Center for Biological Diversity on February 20, 2019. 

What border communities really need are solutions to address economic, health and climate problems ‚ÄĒ and the mesquite tree can help.

President Trump has declared a national emergency to fund a wall along our nation’s southern border. The border wall issue has bitterly divided people across the United States, becoming a vivid symbol of political deadlock.

But for many of us who actually live along the U.S.-Mexico border, the wall is simply beside the point. We know that a wall can‚Äôt fix the problems that straddle the boundary between our nations; nor will it build on our shared strengths. So a group of us ‚ÄĒ ranchers, farmers, conservationists, chefs, carpenters, small business owners and public-health professionals from both sides of the border ‚ÄĒ have come up with a better idea. We call it the¬†Mesquite Manifesto.

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 For the Wild,