Food Safety in Agroforestry

Livestock are often viewed as a liability when it comes to food safety on farms. However, they are also key to making farms function more as healthy ecosystems. Livestock can be used in agroforestry systems for clearing weeds, controlling insects and pests, scratching and digging to prepare ground for planting, spreading and cycling nutrients through excretion, and cleaning up fallen nuts and fruits. But any farmer who integrates livestock into their system must ensure they are not compromising the health and safety of their customers. They must also ensure that they are not making their farm legally vulnerable.

Now Available in English, Spanish & Hmong

We partnered with Farm Commons, Wisconsin DATCP and a group of experienced farmers to tackle the subject of food safety when integrating specialty crops and livestock. The resulting guide outlines three steps to reduce food safety legal liability risks in agroforestry systems, three action steps for achieving regulatory consensus, and examples of how these rules apply to specific farms.

This free guide, developed by Farm Commons with input from experienced agroforestry farmers, is supported by a series of webinars and videos that share how to meet food safety requirements while integrating livestock in specialty crop systems.

The Guide Contains

  • Top 3 steps to reduce legal liability for food crops in agroforestry systems
  • Action steps for achieving regulatory consensus for food safety concerns in agroforestry systems
  • Examples of how food safety rules apply to farms integrating specialty crops and livestock
  • Spanish and Hmong versions coming soon

Hear from the Experts

a hazelnut bush in summer

Food Safety Expert Panel

GAP, Organic Standards, FSMA, Food Safety… oh my! The requirements for farmers grazing livestock in their orchards can be complicated. Check out this panel of experts and get some of your questions answered.

Check out the Featured Farmers

a hazelnut bush in summer

Hoch Orchard


Poop is important for a healthy agroecosystem. But food safety requirements can be complicated for farmers grazing livestock in their orchards. Hear from Harry Hoch of Hoch Orchard and Gardens how he manages risks and successfully grazes livestock in his agroforestry system. Owners Harry and Jackie have been tending their 94 acre organic, biodynamic orchard for over 30 years and are constantly striving for better livestock integration.

a hazelnut bush in summer

Mary Dirty Face Farm


Grazing animals in an orchard can help farmers like Rachel Henderson from Mary Dirty Face farm reduce pest and weed pressure. This integration, known as silvopasture, can also help by providing fertilizer in the form of animal manure. But food safety requirements for farmers grazing livestock in their orchards can be complicated. Hear from Rachel how she is deepening her relationship with livestock in her orchard and how her customer-first approach is what drives her plan for food safety.

a hazelnut bush in summer

Regenerative Poultry Production

Chickens belong in the forest. As the descendants of wild jungle fowl, chickens are a perfect fit for silvopasture systems. But food safety requirements for farmers grazing livestock in their orchards can be complicated. Hear from Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquín how he manages risks and successfully grazes chickens in his agroforestry system. Regi has been working with a team for over a decade to develop a scale-able poultry system based on agroforestry principles. In this video he shares the potential for large scale reform of a broken poultry industry with the help of tree crops.

a hazelnut bush in summer

Nettle Valley Farm

Dayna Burtness of Nettle Valley Farm has spent many years developing a successful pastured pork business. Now, she has dreams of incorporating tree crops into her pastured pork system. But Dayna has questions and concerns about how to integrate her pigs into agroforestry while meeting food safety regulations. Hear from Dayna as she describes her journey into silvopasture and what barriers she faces as she tries to diversify her farm.

a hazelnut bush in summer

Branches & Berries

Imagine a group of cattle grazing their way through acres of berries. Now suppose that in the process, some cattle manure lands on a berry bush. What do you do next? This is exactly the challenge faced by farmers like Wandy Peralta on his farm Branches & Berries. While Wandy has a solid plan and a great track record, he has had to develop his own guidelines and procedures to ensure food safety and in this video he shares what would be helpful for him to succeed.