Extending Hedgerow Systems in California Agriculture
The goal of this project is to expand the use of hedgerows in California agriculture by increasing the knowledge base of agricultural resource professionals and providing them with tools to extend information about the implementation and benefits of hedgerows to farmers. A team of experts was formed to develop resource materials. Four workshops were conducted featuring a PowerPoint presentation, Hedgerows for California Agriculture: A Resource Guide, and a brochure to distribute to farmers. A Hedgerow Education Fund has been established to provide funding to workshop participants to promote hedgerows by establishing a demonstration hedgerow or organizing an outreach event.
The objectives of this project are to:
1) Increase the knowledge of agricultural professionals (specifically Natural Resource Conservation Service, Resource Conservation District, Cooperative Extension Service, 4-H Advisors, Pest Control Advisors) about hedgerows as a system component that can:
a) help reduce pesticide use
b) increase on-farm biodiversity and on-farm habitat for beneficial organisms and wildlife
c) reduce wind erosion of soil
d) reduce water erosion of soil
e) beautify the environment
f) diversify farm products (incorporating herbs or flowers, for example)
2) Extend the use of hedgerows as conservation and management tools to areas of California where they are not currently common.
3) Create a hedgerow resource kit for farmers and agricultural professionals that can be easily utilized throughout the state.
1. Formed a statewide team of experts that assisted in the development of educational materials, determined format for workshops and served as speakers and evaluators. (APPENDIX A)
2. Formed regional teams in four regions: North Coast, Central Coast, Northern San Joaquin Valley and Southern San Joaquin Valley, which assisted in review of materials, local development, promotion and implementation of training sessions.
3. Developed a comprehensive manual for use by participants after training and to extend information to farmers titled Hedgerows for California Agriculture: A Resource Guide. (APPENDIX B)
4. Developed workshop materials including a brochure to distribute to farmers that provides general information about hedgerows (APPENDIX C) and a PowerPoint presentation for distribution. (APPENDIX D)
5. Held workshops and tours in four regions: North Coast, Central Coast, Northern San Joaquin Valley and Southern San Joaquin Valley. Developed and distributed workshop announcements (APPENDIX E). Collected contact information from workshop participants (APPENDIX F). Prepared a workshop evaluation form (APPENDIX G). Prepared a summary of the evaluation results (APPENDIX H).
6. Planted a demonstration hedgerow in Tulare County, a region where hedgerows are not currently common.
7. Created and distributed information and application forms for the Hedgerow Education Fund (APPENDIX I).
8. Posted information about the project and a downloadable pdf of the "Hedgerows for California Agriculture: A Resource Guide" on the CAFF Web site (APPENDIX J). Contacted the media and published articles concerning farmscaping workshops and tours. (APPENDIX K) Assembled photographs of events. (APPENDIX L)
Work to be accomplished:
1. Review Hedgerow Education Fund applications and select projects for funding. Administer and oversee selected projects.
2. Conduct surveys of workshop participants to determine their use of the materials presented in the workshops.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
This project has created an extensive network of agricultural resource professionals with expertise in extending information about hedgerows in California agriculture. The formation of the statewide technical team brought together experts throughout the state to share the information they have collected and the experience they have gained throughout their careers and resulted in the creation of a comprehensive guide to hedgerows titled Hedgerows for California Agriculture: A Resource Guide. Teams were also formed in each region and input from all the teams was considered in order to develop additional resources and materials, select speakers and develop the format for the workshops. This resulted in the implementation of four high quality workshops each with their own regional focus. The workshops provided 80 participants with the information and training materials necessary to train farmers, farm managers, farm workers, youth in 4-H and Future Farmers of America and other members of the farming community on the benefits and implementation of on-farm habitat using native plant hedgerows. Workshop participants also received 50-100 copies of the hedgerow brochure to distribute to farmers. The professionals attending the workshops are in daily contact with farmers and having these resources on hand is extremely beneficial.
The availability of the resource guide was announced in CAFF’s monthly publication Farmer to Farmer that has a circulation of 1,500. The resource guide can be downloaded from the CAFF website making it readily accessible to anyone interested in learning more about these practices.
The Hedgerow Education Fund will further encourage the extension of knowledge gained in the workshops to farmers and farm communities with mini-grants to fund the establishment of demonstration hedgerows and/or outreach events.