The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is currently offering free hedgerow plants for California farmers. NCAT is also offering free consultations for farmers that may be interested in planting hedgerows. California regional director for NCAT, Rex Dufour said they want to work with farmers to help increase hedgerow usage and the benefits they provide.
“We prefer if at all possible, to talk to the farmer and actually visit the farm site to walk around with the farmer. We want to know what the farmer’s goals are for the hedgerow,” Dufour noted. “That’s an important component because do they want pollinators? Do they want beneficals? Do they want a windbreak? Do they want all three? What are the farmer’s goals? Do they have irrigation to the site?”
Hedgerows can provide a variety of different benefits. They can provide habitat for multiple different types of beneficial insects. Hedgerows also help attract pollinators and provide much-needed habitat. The planting of hedgerows has also been shown to sequester carbon as well. Dufour said that they have a variety of different plant types available and can work with farmers to help decide what would be best.
“California natives require less maintenance once you plant them and a lot of the native beneficials have evolved with these plants. So, we prefer to have the farmers go the native route instead of planting non-native plants,” said Dufour. “These native plants, if you mulch them and water them, they grow very quickly.”
After the first few years with irrigation, many hedgerows will no longer need it once the plant has become established. The free hedgerow plants and consultations are being made possible by funding provided by the Environmental Defense Fund as well as the Regenerative Agriculture Foundation. Anyone interested in the offer can contact Rex Dufour at NCAT.