Delta Farmland & Wildlife Trust
About the Trust
BCfresh growers are strong supporters and active participants in the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust. In 1993 local farmers and conservationists with an interest in conserving agricultural and wildlife resources in delta founded the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust.
Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust’s mission is to promote the preservation of farmland and associated wildlife habitat on the Fraser River Delta through sustainable farming and land stewardship.
Delta Farmland and Wildlife administer a number of stewardship programs that are made available to farmers that operate on the Fraser River delta. Under these programs they share the cost of specific management practices contributing to soil and/or wildlife habitat conservation and enhancement.
Current Land Stewardship Programs
The Grassland Set-aside program offers farmers the opportunity to leave fields sown with a mix of grasses and clover for a period of up to 4 years. The cost of managing the field over the period that is set aside is shared between the farmer and Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust. Soil organic matter and surface structure can be restored to the land in the program while simultaneously providing valuable wildlife habitat. They provide food, shelter and nesting habitat for many other grassland bird species. Set-asides also assist farmers in making the transition to organic production by spanning the 3-year pesticide and chemical fertilizer-free certification period.
Every winter thousands of acres of farmland are affected by the Winter Crop program. Once again, Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust shares in the cost of planting these important wildlife amenities. This program is intended to benefit soil conservation by protecting delta soils from the heavy winter rains that typically occur in the area. While reducing significant erosion over the winter, the cover crops also provide organic matter to be ploughed into the soil prior to spring planting thereby improving soil structure and contributing to higher productivity. The program benefits wildlife by the abundance of winter forage for the dense populations of waterfowl that congregate in the delta in the winter months.
The Land Laser-leveling Program shares in the cost of re-contouring fields with farmers so that the impact of water erosion on the fields is minimized. This program also contributes to reducing salination and compaction from winter water ponding by physically leveling the land. This in turn dries fields out more quickly and allows earlier access for planting in spring. Earlier planting dates give farmers more options on what to plant in their fields and also make it more likely that a cover crop can be planted on the field once the cash crop is harvested. Ultimately land leveling contributes to increasing productivity for both agriculture and wildlife alike
Field Margin Stewardship Programs
The hedgerow program is designed to assist farmers in re-establishing or retaining some of the values associated with field margins that are planted with native trees and shrubs. New plantings are established on farms and intensively managed to develop into complex and diverse year-round habitat for songbirds, waterfowl, beneficial insects and many other species groups present in the delta. Benefits to farmers include prevention of soil erosion by becoming a wind and rain barrier, providing a microclimate conducive to improving field productivity and in some instances providing shade and barriers for livestock.
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