April 17, 2008
Agroforestry is a system that intentionally combines growing trees and shrubs with other crops and/or livestock. A well-managed agroforestry system may just be part of the solution to sustainability. It improves soil and water quality, reaps economic benefits for the producer, and yields a suite of environmental benefits. Once established agroforestry projects may require less labor compared to agricultural crops of equal economic value.
Agroforestry Resource List
Brad Riphagen, Field Coordinator, Trees Forever (Marion, IA)
Trees Forever has funding through a NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant to provide technical and cost share assistance (75% up to $3,500) to ten producers annually to establish agroforestry buffers for organic crops. They assist producers in planning and planting practices. In exchange for the assistance, producers allow the plantings to be showcased through a field education day coordinated by Trees Forever staff.
Richard Straight, Lead Agroforester, USDA National Agroforestry Center (Lincoln, NE)
The USDA National Agroforestry Center had its origins in the 1990 Farm Bill. It began as a Forest Service Research and State & Private Forestry effort in 1992 and expanded into a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in 1995. Their offices are located in Lincoln, NE, so it was a natural fit for them to setup the Agroforestry Field Site at Arbor Day Farm to demonstrate some of the most effective conservation practices available. This attractive, natural setting is home to terraces and buffer strips, alley cropping demonstrations, the planting of switch grass and alfalfa alternating with standard row crops, an infiltration basin, a living snow fence, and woody crops like hazelnuts and chestnuts, small fruit crops, Christmas trees, and small decorative and ornamental crops like pussy willow.
Brown Bag attendees will learn:
* Agroforestry design examples and labor requirements.
* Agricultural sustainability through improved crop production
* Economic viability through supplemental income.
* Environmental benefits such as reduced water and wind erosion, stopping agricultural drift, and improving wildlife habitat and corridors.
* Challenges of agroforestry such as lag time between investment and return.
About the Brown Bag Lunch Series
The Brown Bag Lunch Series is the Alliance for Community Trees’ monthly webcast series held at the lunch hour and made possible through support from The Home Depot Foundation and USDA Forest Service. The goal is to create informal training opportunities for local urban and community forestry organizations. The content is geared to mainly serve the needs of volunteer organizations and community groups, although webcasts are open to all.
The trainings leverage local successes by amplifying to a larger audience the model organizations’ methods, materials, and approaches. Sessions are planned to last no more than one hour, with two presenters speaking on the same topic from slightly different perspectives, each for 10-15 minutes, followed by 10-15 minutes of questions and answers.
Register for the Heading Towards Sustainability- Part I: Agroforestry Brown Bag Lunch Series.