News From the Wild Side - November 2017

Keep up-to-date on the latest news from Wild Farm Alliance! 

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You Are Making A Difference

We want to take a moment and thank you! We are incredibly honored for your generosity.

Your financial support means farmers across the country are incorporating more practices on their farms to increase biodiversity. Your support also means WFA will be able to help more organic certifiers update their organic system plans to ensure the integrity of the Organic Label is maintained. Over the last year, we worked with 10 certifiers, representing over 10,600 farmers. We are looking forward to reaching even more in 2018. We are also developing new technical resources on how to incorporate bird habitat and create more wild and resilient farmers.  

We can't do this without your support! 

Thank you for continuing to be our partner. We are excited about where our accomplishments have gotten us, and even more thrilled to keep moving forward. Thank you!


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Moving in the Right Direction to Protect Native Ecosystems

The October National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting was a success from the point of view of native ecosystems. Thanks to you and the hundreds of others that submitted comments about the recommended rule for protecting native ecosystems, the NOSB is sending this back to the committee, as we suggested.

In September, the NOSB published recommended language for a rule change. However, the language was problematic. NOSB members recognized the unintentional loopholes in the language offered, and were in agreement that they needed to change it.

We are continuing to work with the NOSB and our partners to protect native ecosystems. There is now time to craft a more meaningful recommendation that widens the scope of protection to lands with Native Ecosystems that have been cultivated or grazed in the past. We now have time to solidify the definition of “Native Ecosystems” so that plants can be used to systematically classify and describe ecosystem types.

Our Issue Brief describes the problems with the proposed language for the rule change recommendation and how to fix it.

We anticipate a new rule recommendation to come out before the April 2018 NOSB meeting.

To learn more, check out Eliminating the Incentive for Conversion of Native Ecosystems to Organic Production, our issue brief that outlines our work to push for a new rule.

Click here to download the new Issue Brief and learn more.


chickadee_photo_copy.jpgNative Trees and Shrubs Provide More Food for Birds

New research shows that backyards with more native shrubs and trees provide more food for birds like the Carolina Chickadee, and certain trees and shrubs are better than others. This four-year study happened in the metropolitan area of Washington, DC. Researchers monitored over 200 backyards, documenting the types of trees and shrubs present and the birds that came and went. 

They documented more than 375 species of trees that were present in the backyards, and over the course of the study they found 98 different species of birds. That is an amazing amount of diversity. However, the type of the tree these birds landed in was an important indicator. Native trees like oaks and elms host a larger food source (i.e. caterpillars and other insects) than the non-native trees, like gingkos and lilacs. The researchers even documented that some non-native trees didn't produce a single resource for the birds.

What this research shows is that habitats, even small ones like backyards, need to be better planted for our wildlife.

Choosing the right tree or shrub isn't that complicated - until you go your local store to purchase the plants. The problem with creating a native oasis in your farm or backyard is that local chains and nurseries often don't carry the right species. Non-native trees and shrubs are the majority of species available and that is a problem. Farmers and backyard gardeners have the enthusiasm for providing wildlife habitat, but don't have the resources necessarily to implement it.

The next time you are searching for the perfect tree or shrub, do a little research using Audubon’s Native Plant Database to find plants that work well for your area and nurseries that carry these native species. The birds (and caterpillars, insects, butterflies, and more) will thank you!

Read More


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In Case You Missed It

Wild Farm Alliance released a new publication last month. Making Biodiversity a Priority: Updating Organic System Plans, is a report of a review conducted by WFA that looks at US based certifiers' Organic System Plans (OSPs) and how well they are incorporating questions to protect biodiversity on organic farms.
In our review, we found that organic certifiers are moving in the right direction but, nearly two decades after the roll out of the National Organic Program (NOP), most are significantly deficient when it comes to addressing the intent and letter of the standards related to biodiversity. Across the board, for both cropland and livestock OSPs, certifiers need to update their OSPs to better address biodiversity conservation.

Click here to learn more and download the report.

 

 


Cover-Pest_Control_by_Birds.pngBecome a Sponsor for Our New Publication

Our upcoming guide, Building Resiliency on Your Farm: Pest Control by Birds, will show farmers and agricultural professionals how farms can both be resilient to climate change and reduce pest problems. 

Please consider sponsoring this publication and helping farmers build resiliency while also supporting the most fundamental component of agriculture - biodiversity.

We will share farmers’ stories, describe in farmer-friendly terms how a multitude of birds are beneficial to specific fruit, vegetable and livestock farms (based on scientific journal articles), and outline what kind of steps farmers can take in order to make their farms resilient. Insectivorous and carnivorous birds help year-round, while omnivores are beneficial during the nesting season when they feed their young insects but may need to be managed later on depending on the bird and the crop grown.

Sponsors will receive tremendous exposure and marketing benefits. Thanks to sponsorships, this important work will help to ensure that best practices on biodiversity conservation are the ones being implemented. By becoming a sponsor, your business will get your logo/name on the professionally printed guides and be thanked on all print and online promotional materials. 

Email shellyconnor@wildfarmalliance.org to learn more. 


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  • Shelly Connor
    published this page in News and Events 2018-01-22 11:36:37 -0600