Final report for EW15-014

Collaborative Approaches to Increase the Integration of Functional Agricultural Biodiversity in Western Farming Systems

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2015: $67,699.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2018
Grant Recipient: Oregon State University
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Gwendolyn Ellen
Agricultural Biodiversity Consulting
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Project Information

Abstract:

The concept of functional agricultural biodiversity (FAB) embraces a variety of living organisms with beneficial roles on farms and adjacent lands, and the habitats supplying resources that support them. FAB management practices sustain the flow of ecosystem services within farming systems.  Teaching farmers FAB practices can help restore important ecological services which include biological crop pest suppression, crop pollination, and increased soil and watershed health.  Implementing FAB practices such as establishing in-field and farm margin insectary plantings and hedgerows can reduce production costs, raise or stabilize yields, increase biological pest management, enable cost-effective compliance with environmental regulations and farm bill conservation programs, and provide access to markets that require biodiversity-friendly production.

Despite these potential advantages, the Western Region FAB Work Group 2012 needs assessment identified the following impediments to FAB implementation by farmers across the western region (ID, OR,WA and CA): a lack of appropriately localized knowledge, poor continuity in programs, and limited flow of information and feedback among diverse institutional and farm stakeholders.

The FAB Work Group, founded in 2007, has developed a collaborative network of professionals to address the impediments to FAB research and adoption of conservation biological pest management practices in Oregon (OR), Idaho (ID), Washington (WA) and California (CA).  Our mission is 1) to foster regionally-relevant communication, FAB research and outreach 2) to preserve and enhance crop pollination by native pollinators, management of pests by predators, parasitoids and pathogens and 3) to promote the interlinking positive aspects of functional agricultural biodiversity in forest, rangeland, and farms.   This is the report of our second year of a SARE PDP project to increase the integration of FAB practices into western farming systems using a highly collaborative, network advocacy approach.  This approach uses local experts and farmers as teachers, working farms as classrooms and established networks and collaborative events as platforms for increasing knowledge and technical skills in the adoption of agricultural conservation practices.

Project Objectives:

To develop and conduct a summer 2016, on-farm Habitat Establishment Field Course to increase technical skills in establishing on-farm habitat in the chosen pilot state for farmers, extension researchers, crop consultants, sustainable agriculture organizations and conservationists, and to provide training in developing a local FAB network. The Work Group chose an Oregon commercial farm to highlight, crop-specific, local, agricultural conservation practices that promote functional agricultural biodiversity.

To develop a tool to evaluate, analyze and map the geographical and sociological scope of our state and regional networks and their effectiveness in influencing the adoption of FAB practices, and farmers’ perception of FAB. The network survey and analysis involves the FAB Work Group network with its members from Oregon, Washington, California and Idaho as well as the participants of other project activities described below. Data collection will occur throughout the project and a report will be compiled and disseminated in 2018. Qualitative and quantitative post-event, IRB approved, evaluations will also be conducted at the other project activities described below and incorporated into the project on an ongoing basis.

To develop the first ever, Western Functional Agricultural Biodiversity Summit in Portland, Oregon in March 2017 with farmers, conservationists and researchers as co-presenters.  The Summit’s target audience was farmers and those who support farmers (such as NRCS, Soil and Water Conservation District, Resource Conservation District and university extension personnel and industry consultants). Its purpose is to inform participants of current on-the-ground practices and research projects being done throughout the western region, teach implementation of conservation practices and habitat establishment and provide trainings for strengthening local FAB networks and resources. 

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Rex Dufour
  • Dr. Rachael Long
  • Ken Vance-Borland

Education

Educational approach:

Twenty-first-century agricultural educational systems are made up of diverse actors and multiple learning pathways that encompass experiential learning from practice, technical learning from scientific outreach and social learning from other people (Bartholomay et al. 2011, Hoffman et al. 2014 and Lubell et al. 2011). This is a far cry from the 19th century’s conventional, top-down mode of universities’ knowledge transfer from research to extension then to the farmer.

This project’s agricultural education approach employs the experiential knowledge of local experts such as farmers, native plant experts, beneficial insect researchers, agency personnel such as Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservationists and soil scientists, non-profit personnel such as Conservation District and Soil and Water Conservation District, National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and Xerces employees and industry consultants combined with university collaborators and established social networks to build the knowledge and adoption of practices that increase functional agricultural biodiversity across the western United States. It highlights actual adopted farm practices to demonstrate the benefits of functional agricultural biodiversity using commercial farms as the classrooms and the occurring beneficial organisms and native plant habitats as educational tools supported by the latest agro-ecological research.

The increase in the education level of farmers and specialized professions within the agricultural industry such as biological control pest control advisors and IPM consultants creates a widely distributed knowledge system (Lubell et al. 2014). For farmers wishing to adopt FAB practices and support personnel wishing to teach and aid in the adoption and development of such practices there is a broad learning curve. Practitioners must understand the biology and ecology of crop pests and the beneficial organisms that prey upon them. They need to learn how to select appropriate on-farm habitat (perennial or annual) that provides the resources the beneficial organisms need within the time frame the beneficials require them and the pests are occurring on their farm. They also must determine the best site for the habitat, employ proper habitat establishment techniques and choose the appropriate plants for the habitat. It is nearly impossible for the farmers to have all this knowledge themselves in addition to the skills in crop production, labor management, marketing and business they must have to succeed. It is also nearly impossible for farmers to find all this knowledge in one place.

For farmers wishing to increase functional agricultural biodiversity, optimizing their learning within a widely distributed agricultural knowledge system becomes vital. At the same time, broadening the agricultural knowledge system to include concepts from the conservation knowledge system is important in developing FAB practices which often include established conservation practices such as restoration of on-farm wetlands and remnant ecosystems that also conserve on-farm biodiversity. As Garbach and Long found in their recent research (2017) networks are important in the adoption of biodiversity practices such as hedgerows and other insectary plantings.

Regional agro-ecological systems have been described as examples of complex, adaptive systems where sustainability is promoted by social networks that facilitate information sharing, cooperation and connectivity among specialized components of the system (Levy and Lubell 2017). This project and the Western Region FAB Work Group have brought together specialized components of biodiverse western agro-ecosystems for years. Through regional field courses and workshops, the first western US FAB conference and annual meetings of a diverse group of FAB experts from Oregon, Idaho, California and Washington we have dispersed the latest scientific and experiential knowledge, innovation and adoption of FAB practices across the western US and at the same time broadened and strengthened the social network from which this dispersion could occur.

Mark Lubell, a researcher of agricultural social networks contends in Extension 3.0 and Knowledge Networks that social networks have been crucial since the emergence of human society. He explains that they have also always been an important influence on farmer decision-making. In this paper he describes four guiding principle put forth by Borgetti and Cross (2003) for enhancing network-based learning. The principle actors must be aware of what knowledge is held by others; actors must value the knowledge held by others; actors must be able to access other’s knowledge; and the cost of knowledge access must be low (Lubell et al. 2014). This project has adhered to these guiding principles by recruiting a diverse range of participants who value FAB, building local networks of these and other practitioners who can aid in the development and adoption of FAB practices, dispersing the latest, scientific-based technology in the realm of functional agricultural biodiversity, demonstrating the benefits FAB brings to farming systems across agro-ecosystems and using farmers as mentors to teach the FAB practices they have implemented on their farms.

This project has generated two years of survey data on the western regional FAB social network. This data guided the development of the workshops in the 2017 FAB conference as well as project outreach meetings across Oregon, Idaho and California in its third year. The survey paints a scientifically derived portrait of the FAB network, who the actors are and how they are connected. It shows the network is geographically heterogeneous and broadly diverse in the agricultural skill and expertise it spans. Data from project events and the network survey demonstrate just how invaluable the FAB network has been in spawning collaborations, dispersing technical and experiential knowledge and aiding in the development and adoption of FAB practices across the western US. The overarching goals of the project were to conserve and increase functional agricultural biodiversity using an agricultural educational system that is experimental, adaptive and creative as we need to be in the face of drastic climatic changes and dwindling natural resources. The author and all the project collaborators strongly urge SARE to heartily support projects that utilize adaptive and creative agricultural education systems that particularly include experiential knowledge from diverse local sources and local and regional social network learning.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Education and Outreach Initiatives
Objective:

To increase the use of practices that promote agricultural biodiversity across the western United States through an agricultural education system that employs the experiential knowledge of local experts and farmers, technical learning from scientific outreach and social learning from established and emerging social networks in agro-ecology.

Description:

The descriptions of this project’s outreach and education activities and methods are located in the education and project outcome sections of the final report. The author feels these sections are somewhat redundant.  After consulting with Jim Freeburn of the Western SARE office on May 15th, 2018 it was decided directing readers to the other sections for these descriptions would be appropriate.

Outcomes and impacts:

Details of the outcomes and impacts of this project’s education and outreach activities and methods are located in the project outcome section of the final report.

Educational & Outreach Activities

12 Consultations
6 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
2 On-farm demonstrations
2 Published press articles, newsletters
2 Tours
22 Webinars / talks / presentations
3 Workshop field days
2 surveys and a regional conference

Participation Summary

17 Extension
22 NRCS
25 Researchers
49 Nonprofit
5 Agency
16 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
59 Farmers/ranchers
12 Others

Learning Outcomes

214 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
148 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

12 Grants received that built upon this project
52 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

Outcomes and Impacts

Multiple project data sets show that this project has significantly increased the exchange of Functional Agricultural Biodiversity (FAB) experiential knowledge and research and demonstrated local practices farmers currently employ and the resources they use to do so among University, agency and agricultural support personnel.  It has also increased the adoption of FAB practices on farms throughout the western United States. The project utilized an established social learning network called the FAB Work Group and an broad array of local experts including extension, industry and non-profit personnel and farmers as teachers in the following events: a Work Group annual meeting, four collaboration/network capacity building meetings, a regional FAB Conference and an all-day indoor workshop and an accompanying field course. Project collaborators gathered two years of data on the geographical span and breadth of knowledge of the FAB network and how it has been influenced by the project events.  In total, over 200 project event participants not only have more FAB regional and local information to provide education programs in their states (OR, ID, WA and CA), but they have also been provided direct training and technical support to adopt and teach conservation practices that support agricultural biodiversity in multiple agro-ecosystems. At the same time supportive, local collaborative relationships to help integrate the adoption of FAB practices have been strengthened by an infusion of new contacts, information and opportunities to network.

Please refer to the 2016 Annual Report for details of the February 2016 FAB Annual Meeting in Portland. Details of the August 2016 FAB indoor and field Course called the Integrated Biological Pest Management Practices for Oregon Farmers and its impacts can be found in both the 2016 and 2017 Annual Reports. Partners for this event included the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s California Office, the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Corvallis Plant Materials Center (PMC) and the Benton Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). The ever cascading impacts of these collaborations are also described in the Success Stories Section of this final report.

The 2017 Network Capacity Building Meetings in eastern and central Oregon, Davis, California and south eastern Idaho and their impacts have been chronicled in the 2017 Annual Report along with details of the first PNW FAB conference,  Agricultural Biodiversity on Western Farms; Conservation Practices Working for Farmers Conference in Troutdale Oregon on March 15, 2017. Data from all the project education and outreach activities have been presented here in the final report.  

Network Survey and Analysis:

Social networks aren’t new. Mark Lubell at the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior at the University of California Davis contends that social networks have been crucial since the emergence of human society (Lubell et al. 2014). Network analysis began in the 1930’s when J. Moreno developed a “sociogram” using nodes to represent people and lines to represent relationships between them (Moreno, 1934). Social networks, though not widely researched in agricultural and natural resource sciences assumes: (1) relationships among participants are important; (2) relationships between two participants represent a flow of resources; and (3) network structures enhance or inhibit participants’ ability to act (Wasserman and Faust 1994). A 2011 study in the western US shows that collaborations between scientists and stakeholders are a factor that can contribute to greater participant conservation adoption and success (Vance-Borland and Holley, 2011). A more recent California study shows that networks help farmers in their decisions to develop on-farm hedgerows and other insectary plantings (Garbach and Long 2017). This research supports the description of regional agro-ecological systems as examples of complex, adaptive systems where sustainability is promoted by social networks that facilitate information sharing, cooperation and connectivity among specialized components of the system (Levy and Lubell 2017). More broadly, social networks have been found to be among the most important variables for innovation and cooperation (Prokopy et al.2008, Baumgart-Getz et al. 2012) and can help accelerate them.

This project’s network surveys have generated two years of data on the western regional FAB social network. The Western Region FAB Work Group is an established network of farmers, industry consultants, NRCS, SWCD, RCD and non-profit personnel, and university researchers. For 11 years it has acted as an incubator for collaborative projects, educational events, the dispersal of technical aid and demonstrations of diverse agro-ecosystems in California, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

The first FAB network survey was launched August 2016 and ran until December 2016. The second survey ran from June until November 2017. The survey asked 15 questions about respondent interests, priorities, capacities, and other aspects of their agriculture work related to FAB, and three questions about the people that they have either shared information and ideas about FAB or collaborated with on FAB-related work, or have not worked with before but would like to do FAB-related work with in the coming year (Appendix One: The Survey Tool). In between the two surveys four project meetings and the 2017 FAB Conference were conducted along with other on-project FAB events in Oregon.

The survey data paints a scientifically derived portrait of the FAB network, identifying all the actors and how they are connected. It demonstrates the network is geographically heterogeneous and composed of collaborative relationships that represent broadly diverse agricultural skill, expertise and resources across the western US.

Table one shows the number of people across Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California invited to take the surveys for both years. The respondents are the numbers who actually took the survey. Ninety-one took the survey in 2016 with a total response rate of 75%. Fifty more people took the survey in 2017 after opportunities to participate in various project meetings including the 2017 FAB conference.

Table 1: Respondents

 

2016

2017

State

Sample Size

Respondents

Response Rate

Sample Size

Respondents

Response Rate

CA

13

11

85%

15

13

87%

ID

28

18

64%

21

15

71%

OR

57

44

77%

119

90

76%

WA

24

18

75%

26

23

88%

ALL

122

91

75%

181

141

78%

 

*Sample size is the number of people invited to take the survey.

*Response Rate is the percent of invitees who answered all or part of the survey (not just those who reported info and ideas ties).

 

Table 1A shows the broad diversity of affiliations represented within the total survey respondents for both years with farmers being the largest affiliation group. “None of the above” most commonly included students and interns. All numbers in each affiliation increased in 2017 except for farm managers. In all other data sets farm managers were included in the farmer affiliation.

 

Table 1A: Respondent Affiliations

Affiliation

2016

2017

Ag Ed

4

6

Ag Ext

9

14

Farmer

22

31

Govt Agency

12

19

Farm Mgr

6

3

Non-profit

7

11

Ag Research

11

13

Conservationist

3

24

Consultant

8

9

None of above

9

11

In the context of learning within the FAB network there is a broad source of knowledge from farmers, conservation experts, non-profit personnel, industry consultants and university researchers. Many of these affiliations represent high degrees of education and technical knowledge whereas others represent place-based experiential learning among diverse agro-ecological systems. These agro-ecological systems include but are not limited to conventional and organic, grain, vegetable, orchard and pastured meat production in high prairies, sage-brush steppe, fertile, temperate valleys and dry upland savannahs of the western US. Table 2 shows the diversity of affiliations by state. The data demonstrates that the structure of the FAB network is also heterogeneous across contexts/affiliations. For example, agricultural educators as actors in the FAB network were not equally distributed across states. In 2016 in Oregon, 67% of the survey respondents were agricultural educators and in Washington only 33%. Or another way to look at it is that in 2016 Oregon has twice the number of agricultural educators in its local network than Washington. Washington and Oregon however for that same year have a very similar percent of farmers in their local networks, 53% and 63% respectively. Table 2 also shows how different types of agricultural knowledge is distributed across the states for the two years.

TABLE 2: Affiliations by State

 

2016

2017

 

CA

ID

OR

WA

CA

ID

OR

WA

Ag Ed

64%

40%

67%

33%

42%

7%

61%

57%

Ag Ext

55%

60%

51%

47%

58%

43%

51%

21%

Farmer

55%

93%

63%

53%

17%

64%

53%

50%

Govt Agency

18%

53%

34%

20%

50%

64%

37%

21%

Non-profit

82%

87%

43%

27%

100%

64%

51%

36%

Ag Research

55%

20%

43%

20%

0

21%

23%

36%

Conservationist

18%

0

29%

7%

42%

0

53%

7%

Consultant

73%

0

34%

33%

42%

7%

23%

21%

None of above

9%

0

14%

27%

8%

0

3%

0

 

155 Agricultural service provider participants who used knowledge and skills learned through this project (or incorporated project materials) in their educational activities, services, information products and/or tools for farmers
80 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Additional Outcomes:

Network Survey and Analysis continued: 

The FAB network can be described in social learning terms as a “ boundary organization” where participants from multiple groups, in this case non-profit and government agencies, university extension and agricultural research, farmers, industry and agricultural educators, work together to co-produce knowledge. As a boundary organization the FAB network helps build local social networks that connect participants with different types of experiential and technical knowledge spanning both the agricultural and conservation realms. Research shows us that these diverse social networks can accelerate knowledge exchange, practice adoption and innovation and contribute to the resilience of complex adaptive systems that adopt FAB practices (Lubell et al. 2014). This project’s knowledge exchanges took place in 2016 at the annual meeting and the field tour and short course, in 2017 at project meetings in OR, ID and CA and at the FAB Conference in Portland. All the evaluations from these events show a high degree of use of the material learned by conservationists, educators, industry and farmers alike. Please refer to the evaluation summaries of these events in the 2016 and 2017 Annual Reports for more details.

Data from both network surveys demonstrate the FAB network’s diverse, multiple learning pathways across states and affiliations. Tables 3A and 3B show who the different affiliation groups reached out to for FAB knowledge by year. It includes total survey respondents and is not broken out by state. For example in 2016, 82% of farmer respondents reached out to fellow farmers and 59% reached out to non-profit personnel(SWCD, RCD and others) for FAB information. All non-profit personnel respondents reached out to farmers whereas 75% of the conservationists, 67% of the industry consultants and 44% of the agricultural extension reached out to farmers for FAB information. Tables 3A and 3B also demonstrate the heterogeneity of how knowledge is distributed in the FAB network and who is trusted to deliver that knowledge.

 

TABLE 3A: Who Affiliation Groups Reached Out to in 2016

2016

 

Ed

Ext

Farmer

Govt

Non-p

Res

Conserv

Consult

None

Ag Ed

80%

80%

80%

40%

40%

60%

40%

60%

60%

Ag Ext

44%

67%

44%

33%

67%

56%

0

22%

0

Farmer

35%

41%

82%

18%

59%

12%

6%

24%

6%

Govt

30%

20%

50%

70%

60%

10%

20%

10%

0

Non-profit

100%

75%

100%

50%

88%

25%

25%

50%

13%

Ag Research

64%

73%

45%

18%

36%

82%

9%

27%

36%

Conserv

50%

25%

75%

75%

25%

25%

50%

25%

0

Consult

67%

56%

67%

11%

56%

22%

33%

67%

11%

None of above

67%

33%

33%

0

0

67%

0

33%

0

 

TABLE 3B: Who Affiliation Groups Reached Out to in 2016

2017

 

Ed

Ext

Farmer

Govt

Non-p

Res

Conserv

Consult

None

Ag Ed

100%

63%

25%

38%

50%

13%

38%

13%

0

Ag Ext

25%

75%

42%

25%

42%

42%

25%

17%

0

Farmer

52%

38%

62%

28%

45%

17%

24%

24%

3%

Govt

31%

31%

46%

100%

85%

15%

23%

23%

8%

Non-profit

60%

80%

60%

40%

90%

0

40%

80%

0

Ag Research

60%

50%

30%

10%

40%

80%

10%

20%

10%

Conserv

48%

35%

48%

52%

57%

4%

91%

4%

0

Consult

67%

44%

67%

33%

44%

22%

33%

22%

0

None of above

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Survey Maps

The following survey maps graphically depict the geographic span and the diversity of relationships among the FAB network by state and its growth by year. The 2016 FAB Network Survey Map (Figure 1) shows 156 people in the FAB network with 639 information and idea sharing relationships or ties. The gray nodes are for California participants, the light blue for Idaho, the dark blue for Oregon and the green for Washington.

Figure 2 depicts 50 new participants and 189 new information and idea sharing relationships in 2017. This was a considerable amount of growth for the FAB network with a 31% increase in people and a 30% increase in information sharing relationships. In the maps people from the same state occur closer together although there is considerable information exchange across states as well. The more incoming connections a person has (creating darker areas around the dots) the more that person has been named as an information source. They are considered in social network analysis as “thought leaders”.

Figure 1 2016 FAB Network Survey Map

Figure 2 2017 FAB Network Survey Map

 

Other Characterizations of the FAB Network

Data from the 2016 FAB Survey indicating specific areas of interest was used to design the workshops and panels of the Agricultural Biodiversity on Western Farms; Conservation Practices Working for Farmers Conference at Troutdale Oregon, March 15, 2017. Topics of interest identified included ecosystems services provided by FAB, how to integrate FAB practices in different farming systems and technical information on installing on-farm habitat that increase agricultural biodiversity. These topics remained of high interest in the 2017 survey as well.

In both 2016 and 2017 FAB network members identified the following as areas of their greatest strength: (1) Installing on-farm conservation practices; (2) Providing technical assistance for implementing farm conservation practices; and (3) Developing on-farm research projects.

In both 2016 and 2017 the top two benefits of participating in the FAB network in order of priority were gaining new ideas and knowledge and enhancing collaborative opportunities. Network members identified over 73 collaborative efforts inspired by their participation in the FAB Network throughout OR, WA, CA and ID. Cross-disciplinary collaborations were the third benefit of participation in the network for 2016 respondents as on-farm demonstration sites were for the 2017 respondents.

The number of network participants that were very interested in using their strengths to help FAB partners gain such skills remained the same for both years, 35. The number that was “somewhat interested” in doing so almost doubled from 28 in 2016 to 52 in 2017. In 2017, network participants’ perceived ability to have an impact on enhancing agricultural biodiversity increased by 12 people. The number of participants that perceived themselves not very experienced but willing to learn to enhance agricultural biodiversity doubled.

Perhaps the most telling impacts of participation in FAB events are seen in the data on the topics FAB network members have incorporated into their program/farms work and collaborations that has been inspired by the FAB network. Survey respondents have listed over 75 collaborative projects inspired by their participation in the FAB network. Snapshots of some of these projects will be listed in the Success Stories Section of this report.

As seen in Table 4 all topic areas incorporated into network members work increased from 2016-2017 except “network leadership” which lost one person in 2017.

 

Table 4: Topics Incorporated into FAB Network Participants’ Program/Farm Work

Topics

Number Incorporated

2016

Number Incorporated

2017

New collaborative projects

26

28

Increasing local networks/workshops

16

33

Regional FAB policies

3

6

Training for local technical advisors

18

26

Increased on-farm habitat

55

76

Increased regional FAB resources

6

7

Network leadership

9

8

 

Conclusion

Twenty-first-century agricultural educational systems are made up of diverse actors and multiple learning pathways that encompass experiential learning from practice, technical learning from scientific outreach and social learning from other people (Bartholomay et al. 2011, Hoffman et al. 2014 and Lubell et al. 2011). Data from all the project events and the network surveys demonstrate just how invaluable the FAB network’s role has been in agro-ecological education systems. It has and continues to spawn collaborations, disperse technical and experiential knowledge and aide in the development and adoption of FAB practices across the western US. The network surveys not only document the diversity of knowledge and geographical span of the network, they demonstrate the growth in the FAB network by people and information and idea sharing relationships spurred by project and other FAB events for the past five years.

EW15-014-Appendix-Two-Final-Report-Literature-Cited-

Appendix-Two-Final-Report-Literature-Cited-EW15-014

Success stories:

These truly inspiring phrases are snapshots of the FAB network’s own success stories. They are from respondents of the 2016 qnd 2017 FAB Network Surveys. The question was “What other projects, habitat, or program work have you done in the past three years that has been inspired in some way by your association with the FAB Work Group?”

Oregon

Salmon Safe for Wheat/Pea farmers-Eastern Oregon Cooperative Extension

Local work groups- Native plant nursery, Mosier

Underground irrigation project 2012 -2014 Monument OR. Cover crop systems in eastern Oregon- Farmer and teacher, John Day

Half moon restoration project {collaborative project with farmers}-Oregon State University Weed Researcher

Mindful of FAB biodiversity information while working with Salmon Safe-non-profit certifier, OR

Have developed CRP plans with pollinator habitat included.   Currently working on a short pollinator publication (info sheet)with OSU Extension “Living on the Land” publication series.- 2017-Held IBPM Field Tour in May, 2017. Toured 3 farms in Mosier, The Dalles, and Klickitat area. -Wasco NRCS

Obtained an NRCS-CIG grant to promote soil and nutrient enhancement. I am on the advisory committee for the national SCRI pollination grant.- 2017-Just received a NRCS CIG grant to demonstrate and evaluate soil bio-diversity in orchards.-Wasco Cooperative Extension

Grant applications for Oregon SWCD training and funds to support farmer workshops across the state. During 2016 & 2017 the District’s theme has been pollinators, with pollinator-centric native plant sale product list and local blogs and workshops. Benton Soil and Water Conservation District

Noting areas of existing diversity within the farm I manage.-Orchard manager, ornithologist and teacher, The Dalles, OR and White Salmon, WA

Developing habitat for beneficial predators and bees.-Cherry orchardist and field class host, The Dalles

2017-Increased habitat for beneficials and native pollinators, much more to do in conjunction with new plantings and new properties. Secured funding for projects. But very busy with new properties.-Cherry Orchardist, The Dalles

2017-Gave a pruning course and tour of our farm with beetle banks, bee habitat, bee conservation, planting for early mid and late pollination, changing our spray program to conserve and protect beneficial insects.-Hazelnut Orchardist, Molalla

2017-I have attended Gwendolyn’s workshops over the years. I teach organic gardening, biological control and mason bee workshops. We no longer are a commercial farm (organic garlic). We have implemented insectary banks, hedgerows, biological controls, etc. on the farm. We continue to develop more areas using lessons learned from her programs.-Educator, Albany

2017- Developing and delivering workshops on integrated biological pest management and beneficial insects-Polk Soil and Water Conservation District

2017-Secured funding for training to SWCDs and Extension agents and funds to support them as they host IBPM workshops in their areas. {This program trained 561 participants which were mostly farmers across Oregon in FAB practices that promote integrated biological pest management. Teachers included conservationists, farmers, university researchers and other non-profit personnel}-Benton Soil and Water Conservation District, Corvallis

Hosting annual Farmscaping with Native Plants Field Days 2011-2013, Native Plant Propagation Workshops 2012 & 2015, Pollinators for Parks Workshop 2016, Trial on establishment and pollinator utilization of commercially available wildflower/pollinator seed mixes 2014-2016, On-farm field trial of native insectary rows in a vineyard planned for 2016- 2017- helping with development of NRCS beetle bank practice specification-Oregon NRCS Plant Materials Center, Corvallis

Trying out organic hedgerow prep with landscape cloth- 2017-Experimented with organic options for FAB style plantings-Oregon farmer and teacher, Albany

Development of insectary plantings to encourage/enhance biological agents for minimizing new invasive pests- Oregon State University Entomologist

2017- Teaching farmers the importance of beneficial insects, and researching overwintering of beneficials in cropping systems-Oregon State University undergraduate Biology student

2017-I produce containerized native plants and was inspired by attending the regional conference to install some permanent plantings that will protect our plants from spray drift. also, I would like to establish a display garden to educate customers and to become more involved in encouraging people to include pollinator habitat in their project plans. However, I could use help in developing good designs for our facility.Nursery manager and teacher, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservations, Umatilla

2017-Installing demonstration insectary plantings, integrating beneficial habitat on learning farm for vegetable IPM workshops, creating an online module on ecological insect management, IBPM train the trainer and IBPM workshop in Aurora.- Oregon State University’s North Willamette Research and Education Center Researcher

2017-Leading workshops for cranberry growers on the southern Oregon coast that promote IPBM-Agricultural Research Service, Corvallis

2017- Provide technical assistance to farmers/landowners to increase habitat diversity and pollinator habitat on their property.-Marion Soils and Water Conservation District

2017-I have incorporated FAB Work Group examples in the classes I teach, as well as in a textbook I am writing. Oregon State University Horticulture Professor

 

California

CA Dept Pesticide Regulation grant for outreach on field edge planting for enhanced biodiversity on farmlands. 2017- research on ecosystem service benefits and concerns on hedgerows on farms.- UC Davis Crop Advisor

My work as an NRCS TSP in organics, as well as NIFA/BFRDP-funded workshop about ecological pest management/IPM/Pest & Beneficial ID, and work with Mien strawberry growers pertaining to best management practices (BMP), National Center for Appropriate Technology, CA

Incorporating new material into courses on IPM, finalizing and publishing on-farm research on the effects of perennial non-crop plants in farming landscapes, securing research funds for polyculture intercropping and anaerobic soil disinfestation and natural enemies as suppressive tactics for cabbage maggot, secured funding for student internships to increase diversity among agroecologists and to create a new major in agroecology and sustainable food systems. UC Santa Cruz Researcher/Teacher

FAB educated a key OR policy maker about farm conservation which led to the National Sustainable Ag Coalition and WFA getting critical language included in the Food Safety Modernization Act. 2017- Created publications about conservation-based agriculture – Wild Farm Alliance

Interest in partnering with other public interest and non-profit groups such at Oregon Tilth and TNC. Western IPM Center, Davis

Working with producers to think about FAB practices as a whole, having them take a step back and look at the bigger picture. 2017- 2017- Recognition of multiple conservation practices that can be used-NRCS, Visalia

2017- continuing work on installing habitat on farms- Consultant, CA Coastal areas

Idaho

Attempting roadside pollinator habitat in SW Idaho (dry land) with Xerces. First seeding started Winter 2016. Idaho Farmer, Boise

Developing a trial/demonstration looking at establishment and management practices for showy milkweed. 2017- Presentations on on-farm habitat installation and maintenance. Establishment and management trials for showy milkweed.-NRCS Aberdeen Plant Materials Center

Much of my contribution has been through a gained knowledge on biodiversity and increased habitats for beneficials. This information has been shared with producers in my area as we create plans for their operations. This information has also been incorporated into my research on cover crop mixes. I help producers understand the benefits of cover crops as an added use in habitat building, even as a border or interior pollinating strips. University of Idaho, Hailey

Live Certification for vineyard – Idaho farmer and teacher, Parma

Practices also involved with EQIP funding/ Conservation District projects-Idaho NRCS, Bellevue

2017- Working with the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides and the Xerces Society to assess, train, install and evaluate beneficial habitat on organic farms in Idaho, working to identify pest pressures on small farms and develop resources for these farmers to protect beneficial insects. University of Idaho, Boise

2017-Installing field border plantings, hedgerows and pollinator strips on the properties I manage. Idaho Fish and Game, Bellevue

Washington

Putting on a hedgerows workshop and working with a landowner who was subsequently interested in installing a long hedgerow.-2017-Strengthening local conservationist ties — and planning/proposing future on-farm habitat tours in the area; gaining local agency board of supervisors’ approval for on-farm habitat cost-share projects; supporting one farmer’s new hedgerow. Underwood Conservation District, Underwood, WA

Farm functionality and valuation assessment program.-Industry consultant, Seattle and much of western WA

Networking, leading people to lots of information, implementing modified ways to bring these practices into greenhouses and other controlled growing settings, as well as public non profit garden program work in my home town.- Industry consultant, Bellingham and much of OR and WA

Identifying native bees associated with native plants bordering cherry orchards- Wenatchee Valley Community College educator

Installation of alternative habitat for beneficials- Evergreen College teacher, Olympia

I try to incorporate some habitat augmentation into the viticulture classes and field days, but I haven’t spent time one-on-one with farmers to look at sites.- WSU Extension, Pasco

Working with USDA researches on beneficial insect research, codling moth control and Brown Marmarated(sp) stink bug identification and location. Orchard consultant, WA

Food Alliance farm inspections in Washington and Idaho that stress/encourage habitat biodiversity; biodiversity training provided by OSU/WSU; joint effort by Grant-Adams Master Gardeners & Grant County Conservation District to put on Columbia Basin Eco-Gardening Symposium workshops in Moses Lake, WA that stress biodiversity- WA NRCS, Grant County

2017-I am currently working with the NRCS on developing borders and habitat areas on the farm. Farm advisor and teacher, Walla Walla

2017-We have installed two new windbreaks with some shrubs for habitat. Mercer Canyon Farms, WA

2017-I have worked with the Clark Conservation District & volunteered at their native plant sale and have also planted habitat along the stream on my farm.-WA Farmer

2017-Increased beneficial insect habitat on this farm, worked with another FAB member to increase beneficial insect habitat on their farm. –Columbia Basin Permaculture and Linwood Farms, Connell, WA

 

Recommendations:

SARE has always encouraged projects that include collaborators from all aspects of agricultural sciences and affiliations and that they be relevant to farmers across agro-ecosystems but teaching educators, support personnel and researchers how to successfully engage in such a process has been limited. The fact is to do so means one must learn how to recognize and find, participate in, support or create social learning networks within the agricultural sector.

Those of us who wish to promote and participate in a diverse agriculture education system need mentors to learn how to recruit local experts and farmers as teachers, how to facilitate these local experts as educators, presenters and collaborators and how to design workshops and research that utilize diverse farming systems  complete with diverse agricultural biodiversity that brings vital benefits to agricultural production.  This type of learning facilitation and research takes more planning, more time and more communication among diverse agricultural affiliation groups because the farms and the local experts are already housed within social learning networks.  These types of projects also need much more support from USDA, SARE to develop, strengthen and help these social networks to become established, to demonstrate their value and study their impacts. 

Funds to begin work groups are available, funds to continue them, study them, and utilize their diverse skills and expertise to mentor other local social networks are few and far between.  As time went on the FAB Work Group and its network collaborators’ grant proposals were increasingly turned down with the most comment being “the FAB Work Group is an established group and needs no more financial assistance” or “we are interested in funding new work groups”. How does that make since as the more established the FAB network has become the larger its impact has been in building knowledge, research and local social learning networks that support the adoption of agricultural biodiverse practices across the west?

Our recommendations are simple: (1) recognize the incredible social and education capital in agricultural social learning systems; (2) fund them generously way past establishment and maturity; and (3) learn from them, research their impacts and use them to teach others about establishing and maintaining them. 

Finally, Use your funds to encourage the development of diverse, alternative education systems in all sectors of agriculture including through non-profits , industry consultants, agency and especially university extension that historically has replaced many local farmer social learning networks.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.