Organic farming gets more research dollars
The 2008 Farm Bill gave organic agriculture a significant boost by increasing funding for organic research from $2 million a year to $20 million, according to an article in the New York Times.
Reporter Jim Robbins outlined some of the research that is underway across the country, opening with work at the UC Davis student farm, where native sunflowers provide a "bed-and-breakfast" for beneficial insects, according to farm director Mark van Horn.
Robbins also described the work of UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Rachael Long, who has studied bats' role in battling codling moth in walnut and apple orchards. According to her research, bats eat their weight in bugs every night.
“They eat a ton of insects,” Long was quoted. “They also eat cucumber beetles and stink bugs, which affect tomatoes.”
Scientists are continuing their research to identify a blend of systems that will grow food and support the natural ecosystem on the farm and beyond.
“That’s the holy grail,” Van Horn told the reporter. “An agricultural system that mimics a natural system.”
Bats help organic farmers by feeding on crop pests.