Stay up to date on the latest from Wild Farm Alliance!
On-Farm Biodiversity Training
This summer Wild Farm Alliance partnered with International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) and Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association (OEFFA) to offer a 300 Level Advanced Inspector Training - Assessing Biodiversity and Natural Resources on the Farm.
We toured three farms in Ohio with inspectors and certifiers, helping participants to re-focus on biodiversity as a fundamental principle of organic farming and learn to look at a farm through new eyes. Tony Fleming gave the training along with WFA. Fleming is a geologist, longtime natural resources educator, former organic inspector, and IOIA's technical editor, with years of experience in soils, water, natural communities, and their relationships within the larger landscape.
Visiting these farms, we compared and contrasted how they were situated in a continuum of biodiversity—from simple to complex practices. The farmers shared an impressive array of activities, from using an 8-year crop rotation and excellent pasture management, to conserving riparian, wetland and forested areas because they value the native plants and animals. We also discussed the various conservation opportunities on each farm, relating all of this back to the NOP regulations.
New Legislation: Wildlife Disease Emergency Act
Just this month Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH) introduced H.R. 7005, the Wildlife Disease Emergency Act (WDEA). This bill would help address the threats posed by wildlife diseases by allowing the Interior Department to declare and rapidly coordinate responses to wildlife disease emergencies such as white-nose syndrome, which has devastated bat populations in places around the country. The legislation would create a federal Wildlife Disease Committee to help federal agencies and state governments respond to these diseases, and it establishes a grant program to fund states’ efforts to counter these diseases.
Wildlife diseases are a significant threat to our nation. For example, North American bat populations are currently suffering from white-nose syndrome (WNS), an emergent disease that is quickly spreading across the United States and Canada. Characterized by a white fungus that grows on the skin of hibernating bats, WNS has killed more than 5.7 million bats throughout 25 states.
Diseases like white-nose syndrome impact our nation’s economy. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that bats provide at least $3.7 billion in pest control services to farmers each year. The loss of just these species from diseases would be devastating to our nation’s agriculture, endangering our economic and food security.
The bill has been endorsed by the American Bird Conservancy, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. In New Hampshire, only one Little Brown Bat was found this past winter compared to the more than 3,000 that would regularly hibernate before the population was decimated by white nose syndrome. The legislation is cosponsored by Congressmen Matt Cartwright, Peter DeFazio, Richard Nolan, and Bennie Thompson.
TAKE ACTION: Farm Bill 2018
Congress is making policy decisions right now that will affect our entire food and farm system for years to come.
Both the House and the Senate have passed their own versions of the 2018 Farm Bill, and now we’re in the final phase: a conference committee is working to negotiate one final combined bill.
The choice is stark: a farm bill that supports family farmers, sustainable agriculture, wildlife habitat, and a more equitable future, or one that harms farmers and communities and strips away investments from conservation, local food systems, food assistance, and more.
We need Congress to make the right choice for the best possible 2018 Farm Bill. Can you join us in making a call today?
The message is simple:
"We need a farm bill that protects the Conservation Stewardship Program as proposed by the Senate. Please take this message to the leadership on behalf of constituents like me."
Your message TODAY matters – thank you for taking these four easy steps!
2) Then call your members of Congress - Call the Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121, ask to be connected to your Representative/Senator's office.
3) Ask to speak with the staffer who works on agriculture or leave a message with whoever answers the phone (see message above).
4) After you call, please email [email protected] and let us know you called and how it went.
Wildly Successful Farming - Now Available!
Transforming agriculture by breaking barriers between tame and wild - new book release by Brian DeVore
“We don’t have to choose between healthy land and productive land— we can have both. DeVore’s careful chronicling of Midwest farmers who practice an agriculture that respects and supports nature will give you hope for the future.”—Kristin Ohlson, author of The Soil Will Save Us
Wildly Successful Farming tells the stories of farmers across the American Midwest who are balancing profitability and food production with environmental sustainability and a passion for all things wild. They are using innovative techniques and strategies to develop their “wildly” successful farms as working ecosystems. Whether producing grain, vegetables, fruit, meat, or milk, these next-generation agrarians look beyond the bottom line of the spreadsheet to the biological activity on the land as key measures of success. Written by agricultural journalist Brian DeVore, the book is based on interviews he has conducted at farms, wildlife refuges, laboratories, test plots, and gardens over the past twenty-five years. He documents innovations in cover cropping, managed rotational grazing, perennial polyculture, and integrated pest management. His accounts provide insight into the impacts regenerative farming methods can have on wildlife, water, landscape, soils, and rural communities and suggest ways all of us can support wildly successful farmers.
BRIAN DeVORE is a contributor to farm and conservation magazines and an editor with the Land Stewardship Project in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up on a crop and livestock farm in southwestern Iowa and, while serving in the Peace Corps, managed a dairy cooperative in Lesotho, Africa.
Agriculture Spotlights at the Global Climate Action Summit
|CalCAN Executive Director moderates a farmer panel discussion to kick of the two-day CDFA event.|
Note: This is a repost from WFA's partner and ally, California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN) on the recent Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, California. WFA is a Coalition Member of CalCAN
In September four thousand delegates from California and around the world gathered in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit, hosted by Governor Jerry Brown.
CalCAN staff joined the delegation where we listened to international experts, presidents of island nations, indigenous and youth leaders and many more who laid out the challenges before us: global greenhouse gas emissions must begin to decline by 2020 if we are to avert the melting of tundra and polar ice shelves. This clarion call was coupled with meaningful reminders of how far we have come in California and around the world to increase our reliance on renewable energy, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and hit “peak” global emissions. We heard from U.S. mayors and governors stepping up to reduce their local and state greenhouse gas emissions in the face of a recalcitrant White House that wants to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement.
Climate activists protested outside, many of whom are opposed to carbon pricing schemes forwarded by California and other subnational and national governments. But those inside the summit and outside seemed well aligned on the need for urgent action to avoid the worst impacts of a changing climate.
Landscapes that Work for Biodiversity and People
A new review paper put out by Claire Kremen and Adina Merenlender, conservation biologists at the University of California, Berkeley, was published this week in Science. The paper outlines how diversifying working landscapes is likely the best way to conserve biodiversity in the face of climate change. WFA couldn't agree more.
How can we manage farmlands, forests, and rangelands to respond to the triple challenge of the Anthropocene—biodiversity loss, climate change, and unsustainable land use? When managed by using biodiversity-based techniques such as agroforestry, silvopasture, diversified farming, and ecosystem-based forest management, these socioeconomic systems can help maintain biodiversity and provide habitat connectivity, thereby complementing protected areas and providing greater resilience to climate change. Simultaneously, the use of these management techniques can improve yields and profitability more sustainably, enhancing livelihoods and food security. This approach to “working lands conservation” can create landscapes that work for nature and people. However, many socioeconomic challenges impede the uptake of biodiversity-based land management practices. Although improving voluntary incentives, market instruments, environmental regulations, and governance is essential to support working lands conservation, it is community action, social movements, and broad coalitions among citizens, businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies that have the power to transform how we manage land and protect the environment.
Give Farmers and Wildlife a Gift
Donate to Wild Farm Alliance and help to create a network of farmers, certifiers, agriculture advocates, conservationists, wildlife experts, and researchers pushing for a strong narrative that emphasizes using biological diversity to build resiliency.
Your gift will provide direct education for farmers, fund on-the-ground demonstration practices, and support critical advocacy at both state and federal levels!
For the Wild,