AFTA Poster Presentations

Day 3 – Tuesday, Dec. 8th, 2020

3pm – 4pm

AFTA Poster Presentations

Carbon Farming:  Agroforestry and Soil Data

Dr.  Linda F. Hezel, Owner/operator Prairie Birthday Farm LLC, [email protected]

Molly Gosnell, GISP, Midwest GeoInfo LLC, Owner is a certified geographic information systems (GIS) Professional and certified arborist. [email protected]

Dr. Bob Kremer, Consulting Soil Scientist and Adjunct faculty, School of Natural Resources, Professor of Soil Microbiology, School of Natural Resources and Division of Plant Sciences, University of Missouri, [email protected]


Development of a Carbon Farming Plan through Assessment of Tree/Shrub Agroforestry Data for Increased Production, Resource Valuation, Carbon Sequestration and Related Ecosystem Benefits


Problem:  According to recent climate reports emphasizing rising greenhouse gases, Midwest farmers face more weather extremes (heat, drought, torrential rains, humidity) with more crop diseases and pests.

  1. Ecologically sound land stewardship via carbon farming is best accomplished by understanding and acting upon the complex and interdependent value of ecosystem benefits of agroforestry land management.  Carbon farming is a collection of crops and agricultural practices that sequester and store carbon in the soil and trees/shrubs.  
  2. Economically Viable – Quantifying carbon farming benefits is necessary to monetize agroforestry.   It prepares farmers to participate in emerging carbon markets. 
  3. Socially Responsible – Agriculture and ecosystems are necessary for survival. Conservation and valuing of ecosystems services can no longer be left to voluntary, undervalued, non-reimbursed chance.


Project Objectives:

  1. Measure and increase carbon farming by focusing on the current and potential role of trees/shrubs on this small-scale peri-urban farm (PBF).
  2. Identify, inventory, and map the farm’s existing agroforestry tree/shrub data.
  3. Analyze and monetize the carbon farming and agroforestry related ecosystem services.
  4. Design, develop and produce a carbon farming plan that values current agroforestry practices and increases carbon sequestration and storage for regeneration, resilience, diversity, and sustainability – in progress.


Data Collected to Date:  ecosystem services on 866 trees and shrubs.


Hedgelaying 101

Jim Chamberlin, [email protected]


Hedgelaying is a centuries old practice used to build and maintain a living fence that will hold livestock and deter predators. This poster will describe the hedgelaying process, explore the various traditional hedgelaying techniques used in Europe,  and describe our first experience with laying a hawthorn hedge at Island Lake Farm.  


A Pilot Geospatial Model to Identify Wildlife-Friendly Farming Sites in the NY Champlain Valley   

Alex Caskey, [email protected], Barred Owl Brook Farm


The unique working landscape of the New York Champlain Valley, located inside the Adirondack Park, hosts numerous farms, and agriculture is a crucial sector of the local rural economy. The region is also home to an abundance of diverse wildlife habitat and is a focus area for conservation organizations. Wildlife-friendly farming (WFF), a set of farm management practices ranging from non-lethal predator control to the establishment of wildlife habitat on the farm, has emerged as a possible solution for mitigating some of the negative impacts associated with traditional farming activities while maintaining a farm’s economic viability. However, little information currently exists to inform initial WFF implementation efforts. The focus of this analysis was to create a pilot geospatial model utilizing publicly available datasets to identify agricultural land that is most suitable for the implementation of WFF practices. The analysis used fuzzy membership and reclassify, two geoprocessing tools in ArcMap, to create a composite agricultural land suitability map to identify potential implementation sites. While there are many non-spatial factors that influence where WFF is likely to be successful, results indicate that the model has the potential to help focus initial efforts. The model could also be modified to include spatial characteristics of interest relevant to specific agroforestry or other farming practices.


Stories of creativity and collaboration: how women access land for perennial ag in the Midwest

Barbara Decre, [email protected], UW Madison Nelson Institute


Secure land tenure is a requirement for any farmer to feel confident about investing in perennial agriculture. However, the trend current in the US is towards the consolidation of land into large farming operations, and accessing land is increasingly more challenging for young farmers. Acquiring land is especially difficult for individuals without a farming family and no prospects for acquisition through inheritance. Land access for women farmers can therefore be a big challenge. 

Women farmers leading their own activities tend to farm smaller parcels of marginal land that they most often rent. They are innovative and creative and oftentimes approach farming differently than most men who farm. They are more attracted to alternative practices than to monocropping and rely on community markets. These collaborative tendencies have led to creative and innovative ways to access agricultural land.


For this research, I interviewed twelve women interested in perennial agriculture in the Midwest about their land access story and the role that networks played in the process. This work is a compilation of those stories – from more traditional land access stories to unconventional ownership agreements. This work aims to highlight the challenges that women farmers face in accessing land for perennial agriculture and celebrating the ingenuity of these farmers. These narratives will shed light on existing pathways towards land access and raise awareness about land access challenges that women encounter.


Prairie and Tree Planting Tool PT^2 (1.0): A conservation decision support tool for Iowa   

John Tyndall, [email protected], Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University. 

Emma Bravard, [email protected], Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University. 

Melanie Bogert, [email protected], Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University


With the PT2 (1.0) users locate Iowa farms or properties of interest in an online aerial photo and mapping geographic information system (GIS). Users explore areas for tree or prairie plantings by examining different data layers: aerial photos, soil maps, 2-foot contour elevation map, LiDAR hillshade, and a map of current land values (based on estimated land rent). Once an area of interest is delineated, users select from drop down menus tree/shrub species or prairie seed mixes that are suitable for the soils present, and select basic long-term management options. PT2: 1.0 estimates total annualized costs for planned tree or prairie establishment, long-term management, and opportunity costs (based on area weighted expected soil rent), and factors in the potential benefit of utilizing government cost-share programming, e.g., Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) or the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). PT2 1.0 calculates a 50-foot “buffer area” surrounding all tree/prairie areas designated as pollinator habitat. This area data is input data for the parallel spreadsheet based decision support tool (PT2 – IPM) allowing users to select various Integrated Pest Management options so as to determine total field costs of not just the pollinator habitat, but also all ancillary management changes relative to adjacent cash crops (e.g., costs of IPM). The code is open source and we actively seek partners to expand the data set to other states.


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