Farmscaping Organic Broccoli to Increase Beneficial Insect Numbers
Burley tobacco farmers in the southern Appalachians are losing their tobacco markets and need alternative crops to produce income. This producer and his cooperators are planning to take advantage of the growing consumer demand for organic and identity-preserved (e.g. Appalachian Grown) vegetable products by initially focusing on Biologically Based Integrated Pest Management (BIPM) for organic broccoli production.
Production of high-dollar vegetables is a viable way to help tobacco farmers transition away from tobacco. The national standardization of organic certification under the USDA National Organic Standard will help to drive this system and aid in the transition.
The BIMP program will combine the use of timed sprays of Bacillus thuringiensis , farmscaped border areas with plants that provide a habitat for beneficial insects, pest and natural enemy population monitoring and, if needed, release of natural enemies.
This project aims to demonstrate the adoption of farm management decisions and practices that provide growers with practical options to aid in their transitions from tobacco. The producer will hold two field days and help to host a regional growers school that will highlight this production system and other sustainable agriculture practices in the southern Appalachians.