Pests are something that can really intervene with the natural flow in agricultural productions. They can be anywhere from insects to rodents, to larger mammals like raccoons or foxes. On smaller farms and mostly for rodents, farmers can invest in a professional company similar to to help them eradicate the infestation, whether it be rats, mice, perhaps even a roost of birds which is common in barn structures. As for crop pests like insects, this is where it gets messy. However, we, as a farm, are slightly different. We are not an organic farm, but we do use IPM (Integrated Pest Management). When using IPM, a farmer scouts his fields for a threshold of insects before spraying. If the threshold is not reached, then we do not spray. We follow the label on the product and wait more than the suggested days to harvest. We use natural and sustainable methods of farming such as companion planting, no till planting (planting directly into the sod), and plasticulture. Plasticulture is the practice of growing crops on plastic mulch. A machine lays long rows of plastic in the field over rows of soil that have been mounded up to a height of 8″. Under the plastic is irrigation (drip tape) for the plants or seeds. Mounding the soil up helps with drainage and facilitates harvest. We poke holes in the plastic and put the vegetable transplants in or put the seeds in the hole. This is very efficient because it reduces runoff from irrigation and puts the water at the roots of the plants, resulting in less water being used. The need for herbicides is greatly reduced because the plastic prevents weeds from growing. We also use different colors of plastic mulch which deters bugs, allowing us to use less pesticide.

Remember, we are eating our own produce and feeding it to our own families. We are the second,third and fourth generations to farm this land. We are passionate about farming and want to sustain our land for future generations. Farmers are the original environmentalists. Without our land we would not be able to continue to support ourselves, our community, and our future.

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