News from the Wild Side - December 2018

Catch up on what is happening with Wild Farm Alliance! 

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Did you miss the special preview?

Last week we sent you a special preview of our new resource, Building Resilience on Your Farm: Supporting Beneficial Birds and Managing Pest Birds. 

If you missed that email, don't worry - you can still get a look at this exciting content by clicking here!

In this excerpt we showcase colorful accounts of how birds can be beneficial in crops and on pasture. Outlining some of the incredible research we found (and have done), we highlight pest control services of birds and the importance of habitat that supports them. 

To bring this to you, we reviewed more than 600 research articles, synthesizing them into readily accessible information that assists farmers in implementing practices which benefit the farm and wild nature.

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Besides this section of bird accounts, the final resource will cover:

  • USDA’s 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’ Diets, Foraging Strategies and Nesting Periods Affect the Farm
  • Inspiring Stories from Ten Innovative Farmers 

With this publication, we are spreading the knowledge of how all farmers can make the most of birds on their farms. 

If you haven't already made a year-end donation to WFA, right now is a great time to make a gift and a big impact. Once we publish the final guide, we will be offering this resource to farmers.

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For every $15 you donate, WFA will be able to print and mail this guide to a farmer. 

Thank you so much for your support! We are excited to share with you the final resource in early 2019. We wish you all a happy, healthy, and wild new year!

For the Wild,

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Apply for a Healthy Soils Program Grant

If you are a farmer or rancher and are considering implementing new practices on your farm to promote healthy soils and build resilience, you might be eligible for up to $75,000 in cost-share grants. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)’s Climate Smart Agriculture Program is allocating $15 million for these grants and is accepting applications which are set to open Friday, Dec. 28th. Applications are due March 8, 2019.

Starting in January, Wild Farm Alliance (info@wildfarmalliance.org) will be assisting growers who contact them. We will also be available at the 39th Annual EcoFarm Conference to discuss your ideas, answer questions, and start on the paperwork.

WFA can help you create a project design, timeline, budget, and estimation of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission reductions, and other co-benefits (e.g., pollinator habitat) needed for the application.

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Multiple Options Mean Your Organic Farm Is Likely Eligible

You can choose from a selection of the 25+ eligible Healthy Soils Program (HSP) practices to be implemented on fields where they have not been used previously. Besides storing carbon below ground and reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, the HSP also supports storage of carbon above ground, with windbreaks, hedgerows, riparian restoration or other conservation plantings.

Some of the most popular practices are hedgerows ($8.58/foot), cover crops ($126/acre), compost ($50/dry ton), mulching ($386/acre) and conservation tillage ($32/acre). Prescribed grazing on pasture ($22/acre) is now eligible.

Organic farmers and ranchers, who are required to maintain or improve natural resources and biodiversity, can benefit from this program even if they are using compost and cover crops on their fields, by applying for some of the other practices.

Cost-Sharing Can Give You a Better Chance at Funding

Cost sharing can be in the form of in-kind contributions or matching funds. An in-kind contribution is the estimated dollar value of any time, property, or supplies donated to a project, including costs associated with labor for work involved in the implementation of the proposed project. Matching funds refers to a dollar amount committed to a project from a source other than the HSP Program. Those who provide cost sharing may receive additional consideration during the project review.

There are also two other CDFA Climate Smart Agriculture Programs that support farmers and ranchers:

Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP)

State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) 

For more information, email info@wildfarmalliance.org!


OFRF_Guidebook.pngSoil Health, Climate Change, and Organic Practices

Earlier this month, Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) released a new publication in their Soil Health and Organic Farming Series. The resource, Organic Practices for Climate Mitigation, Adaption, and Carbon Sequestration looks at how organic farming practices can help mitigate climate change and includes steps farmers can utilize to combat the already devastating effects of climate change. This is the eighth guidebook in their series and they plan to host a webinar to discuss the content of the resource in more detail. 

Click here to learn more.


We Have a Farm Bill

5a.Lamb_in_Pasture_AdobeStock_80551218_clr.jpgOn December 20, 2019 the Farm Bill was signed by the President, giving way to implementation in 2019. Thank you to all of you who called, emailed, and sent letters to your Members of Congress urging the passage of a Farm Bill that prioritizes organic and conservation programs. Your work resulted in many wins!

The good news is the Conservation Stewardship Program remains a stand alone program in the conservation title. This was a major win as the House version of the Farm Bill wanted to see this program ultimately disappear. In addition, many positive things were approved for organic agriculture, including permanent funding levels for organic research. Over the last year, WFA worked with and supported two national coalitions on the fight for a better Farm Bill.  You can read about the wins and losses from our partners National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the National Organic Coalition

WFA's founder and president, Dan Imhoff, also wrote a piece about the passage of the final Farm Bill for Civil Eats. He points out that while there are some wins we can celebrate, the overall tone of the bill is business as usual and isn't forward thinking. 

Read Dan's piece here.


The Fruit Guys Community Fund

FG_CommunityFund-logo-3_2x.pngThe Fruit Guys Community Fund offers small grants (up to $5,000) to small farms for projects that have large impacts on the environment, local food systems, and farm diversity. This funding helps independent farmers become community leaders who serve as models of self-reliance and land stewardship.

Grants will be awarded in April 2019. Projects to be considered should help small-scale farms operate more sustainably, both environmentally and economically, as well as strengthen community outreach. Some examples of sustainability projects may include (but are not limited to): planting of cover crops to help with water management and soil fertility; planting pollinator-attracting perennials and/or installing beehives; installation of bat boxes or owl boxes to attract predators and keep rodent numbers down; installation of high tunnels or hoop houses to extend the growing season.

Learn More and Apply


Building a New Advanced Inspector Training

JBatIOIATraining.jpgNote: This is reprinted from a piece written by Jonda Crosby in the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) December Newsletter. WFA's Jo Ann Baumgartner, was one of the trainers at this training. 

IOIA’s goal for this training was to make this learning experience an eye opening and confidence-building opportunity for both experienced inspectors and for those who are not sure how to go about inspecting or reviewing for Natural Resource and Biodiversity Conservation (NR-BC) on farms. And to prepare inspectors to assess NOP Guidance 5020 – by learning the key visual cues and indicators for assessing the soil, water, wetlands, woodlands, wildlife, and other features on farms; as per “Role of Inspectors in Policy and Procedures of the 5020 Guidance”, it states: “Inspectors must be qualified to assess compliance with 7 CFR § 205.200. More specifically, inspectors must be able to recognize and evaluate areas where: 1) natural resources and biodiversity are already conserved; 2) conservation projects are planned; and 3) improvement is needed.”

Trainers for the course in Ohio included 3 amazing farmers that were identified by OEFFA and were quite remarkable in their capacity to explain their NR & BC goals, practices and outcomes. The instructors for the training included agroecologist Jo Ann Baumgartner (Executive Director of the Wild Farm Alliance); geologist Tony Fleming; and Bryan Lee, Ohio NRCS State Archeologist and Organic Champion.

Read More

Click here to see a video trailer discussing biodiversity on farms, with trainers Jo Ann Baumgartner and Tony Fleming.