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Agriculture and Wildlife Charles Havlik AXED 590 Aldo Leopold

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agriculture and wildlife

Agriculture and Wildlife

Charles Havlik

AXED 590

aldo leopold
  • “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land. By land is meant of the things on, or over, or in the earth. Harmony with the land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators; you cannot conserve the waters and waste the ranges; you cannot build the forest and mine the farm. The land is one organism.” (Leopold 1966)
  • “A good farm must be one where the native flora and fauna have acreage without losing their existence” (Leopold)
bill mollison
Bill Mollison
  • “On one level, permaculture deals with plants, animals, buildings and infrastructures (water, energy, communications). However, permaculture is not about these elements themselves, but rather the relationships we can create between them by the way we place them in the landscape.

The aim is to create systems that are ecologically-sound and economically viable…” (Mollison 1991)

  • Agroecology is the science of sustainable agriculture; the methods of agroecology have as their goal achieving sustainability of agricultural systems balanced in all spheres. This includes the socio-economic and the ecological or environmental.
sustainable agriculture
Sustainable Agriculture
  • Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals: environmental stewardship, farming profitability, and prosperous farming communities. These goals have been defined by a variety of disciplines and may be looked at from the vantage point of the farmer or the consumer.
  • The term permaculture initially meant "permanent agriculture" but this was quickly expanded to also stand for "permanent culture" as it was seen that social aspects were an integral part of a truly sustainable system.
interview questions
Interview Questions

1.Introduce yourself; your name, the name of your farm or ranch; and how long you have been un agriculture.

  • What type of an operation do you run? How many acres do you have? What is your specialty?
  • What kind of issues do you have with wildlife?
  • How do you deal with those issues?
  • Do you try to attract beneficial wildlife? If so, how?
rusty read
Rusty Read

“If you want numbers in livestock go to the feedyard, don’t overgraze your ranch. If you take care of your ranch, your ranch will take care of you”

Rusty Read

Rusty Read and his family own and operate 3 ranches and manage 1. The 3 that they own and operate are the Pagosa Creek, Shallowwater and Wheatland Ranches. The first two are near Las Vegas, NM and the Wheatland ranch is near Grady, NM. They also manage the O’Conner ranch near Las Vegas. Their family has been in cattle ranching all of their lives. In total they are responsible for 100,000 acres.
  • The Read family runs primarily Hereford and Angus hybrid cattle. Although, I have seen a minority of Brahma, Watosi and Longhorn cattle on their properties.
3. Wildlife impacts the ranches in positive and negative ways. The big issue Rusty has with wildlife is the Elk. They will ruin his fence and will compete for feed with the cattle. He states that a full grown Elk weighs in a 1000 pounds or more, while his yearling cattle will between 800 and 900 pounds. The other wildlife problems he faces are large predators. Rusty says that a mountain lion will eat a deer a week. Also the coyotes will eat the spring calves.

On the positive side of his wildlife issues are the deer. He states that the deer do not affect his beef operation because they are browsers and that they help control the oak brush. He also encourage a couple of bird populations to help control the insects on his property. They are the turkeys and the Eskimo Curlew.

In order to deal with his elk problem the NM Game and Fish issue between 7 and 10 depredation permits to the Read’s per year. However, Rusty says that those numbers are not enough in order to keep up with the population. In order to promote the deer populations and control the larger predators, the read’s will hunt and trap the lion and coyotes. Last year his son, Brooks trapped and killed two Mountain Lions.
  • Rusty says that in order to attract the Turkeys and the Eskimo Curlews they will plant food plots of winter wheat.
the walking b ranch
The Walking B Ranch

“We let nature do it’s own thing”

Bernardo Gonzales

Bernardo and Lilly Gonzales own and operate the Walking B ranch south of Romeroville, NM at the edge of the mesa above the Gallinas River. The two of them were born and raised into agriculture.
  • They run a temporary sheep and goat outfit on 148 acres. Most of their goats are Boer crosses.
  • Bernardo tells me that wildlife that has visited him in the past are coyotes, bears, deer, hawks and pumas.
4. In order to control the coyotes the Gonzales’ built a dog proof fence around the property. He also has some dogs that keep the sheep and goats company to protect the sheep and goats. Bernardo tells me that he does not mind the coyotes because they help to control the rodent population. The bear and the puma will show up every once and awhile and take a goat or two and Bernardo says that he is not bothered by that because they were obviously hungry and one or two is the price you pay for having small livestock in that country. The hawks also help to control the snake and rodent population down and he likes have the deer for “scenery”.

5. The Gonzales’ say that they let nature do its own thing to promote the wildlife they want around and don’t do anything special to attract what they do want around.

baca farms
Baca Farms

“We try to work in harmony with wildlife”

Ramona Baca

Introduction: Baca Farms is located in in Ancon, New Mexico. It is a small family farm that specializes in fresh vegetables and chicos. It is run by Ramona Baca and Rhonda Thompson. They have seven acres in production which includes the fresh vegetables and corn for the chicos. Ramona’s father has been involved with agriculture for 50 years mostly in the Cattle industry. Ramona, herself, has been involved in agriculture for 20 years. They also have a Community Supported Agriculture Co-op that they supply food for.
Wildlife Issues: In respect to the local wildlife in their area, Ramona told me a story about what happened to them a couple years ago. That summer, in the apple orchard they had a resident bear family live there and that summer the bears helped to keep the orchard clear of the fallen fruit on the ground. She said that they have heard of other people’s trees getting broken down and kept n eye on them. She told me that they helped each other out. The bears fed themselves on the overripe fruits while Ramona and Rhonda had one less chore to do that summer.
Wildlife is not always so helpful at Baca Farms, as is the case with Squash bugs. In bad years, Ramona said that she can loose most of her squash crop for the year, and the problem does not resolve itself because she doesn’t spray. That just adds to the to the problem in particular years when they have particularly high populations.

When I asked about deer, Ramona replied that they have not had many problems but some of her neighbors have had some problems.

san augustin farms
San Augustin Farms

“I would like to see more grain crops in the valley to attract porcupines, raccoons and other animals that will eat crawdads, because we have a crawdad problem in the ditch” William Gonzales

William Gonzales is the owner and operator of San Augustin farms in San Augustin, NM. He has been in agriculture for the last 5 years.
  • He is responsible for 313 acres in San Augustin. He has sheep, cattle, horses and chickens. Three of his acres are alfalfa fields and he has an orchard that consists of 28 fruit trees. The orchard includes 6 varieties of apples, 2 varieties of pears and 30 grape plants. He also grows flowers.
  • His main issue with wildlife is the occasional bear visit to the orchard.
  • He deals with the bears by picking up the fallen fruit daily.
  • In order to attract beneficial wildlife he grows flowers to encourage hummingbirds and beneficial insects to his property.
madison winery
Madison Winery

“If anyone is going to get into the wine business they better do their homework first”

Bill Madison

Bill Madison is the owner and operator of Madison Winery in Ribera, NM. He started the winery in 1985.
  • Bill Madison has three acres of French hybrid grapes and Baco noir grapes. He tells me that they buy more grapes than grow and he says that he more of a winemaker than a farmer.
  • When it comes to wildlife he says his major problem is with birds and the occasional bear. He also states that he has had problems with people and horses.
  • When it comes to dealing with the birds he uses netting to protect his grapes.
  • They also try to attract lady bugs to the vineyard to fight the pest insects.
owls and the jordan river valley
Owls and the Jordan River Valley
  • Baker Hasan Barakat, Shaul Aviel, and Dr. Safwan Fawzi examine a barn owl, a symbol of cross-cultural cooperation across the Jordan River after Israeli farmers told Jordanians how they used the birds to ward off crop-destroying rats.
owls unite middle eastern farmers by ben winograd associated press sheik hussein village jordan
Owls unite Middle Eastern farmersBy Ben Winograd, Associated PressSHEIK HUSSEIN VILLAGE, Jordan
  • To the world, the symbol of peace may be a dove, but to farmers on either side of the Jordan, it's Tyto alba, the common barn owl.
  • Political benefits aside, the project is driven foremost by environmental concerns.
  • Owls can eat up to 10 rodents a day. All the farmers needed was to build boxes where the birds could mate and raise their young.
Then came the peace treaty, Israelis and Jordanians got used to being good neighbors, and in late 2002 Israeli farmers planned a regional conference on barn owls to explain their advantages to colleagues across the Jordan River.
  • Many Arabs consider owls the same way others view black cats — as bad luck.
  • The project also has gotten support from political and former military leaders in both countries, including Mansour Abu Rashed, the former head of Jordanian intelligence.
Rashed, who heads the Amman Center for Peace and Development, said organizers are "under no illusions" the owl project will ease Mideast tensions; the goal is simply "to bring people together, to let them talk and build confidence."
  • But obstacles remain. After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Israeli farmers delayed the initial delivery of building materials to Jordan for the owl boxes because of the tense atmosphere.
a note on israel
A note on Israel
  • Israel is surrounded by enemies, therefore they need to make the “desert bloom” in order to feed their population.
  • There is little trade with their neighbors and only two Arab states recognize their right to exist, they are Egypt and Jordan.
  • Israel is leader in the field of agricultural innovation and the most cutting edge research projects come from there
honorable mentions
Honorable Mentions
  • Conservation practices and Crop Insurance on farms and ranches in California.
  • Feral Animals – i.e.: Pigs in Northern California
wildlife and farming
Wildlife concerns









Wildlife benefits



Predatory Insects



Wildlife and Farming
wildlife and ranching
Wildlife concerns

Mountain Lions



Wildlife benefits



Eskimo Curlew

Wildlife and Ranching
wild farm alliance
Wild Farm Alliance

The Wild Farm Alliance (WFA) was established by a group of wildlands proponents and ecological farming advocates who share a concern for the land and its wild and human inhabitants. Our mission is to promote agriculture that helps to protect and restore wild Nature. In essence, we envision a world in which community-based, ecologically managed farms and ranches seamlessly integrate into landscapes that accommodate the full range of native species and ecological processes.

projects for the agriculturalist
Projects for the Agriculturalist


Predator friendly live stock farming – using guard animals such as dogs and llamas

Bat houses – to control insects

Owl nesting boxes – to control rodents

Plant feed plots – to encourage insect- eating birds

Build homes for various pollinating and predatory insects, as well as feed plots. These insects would include orchard mason bees, green lacewings, ladybugs etc.

conservation planning on an organic farm
Conservation Planning on an Organic Farm
  • Inventory your farm/ranch
  • Obtain a topographical map
  • Create a farm/ranch map
  • Research what species lived on your land prior to agriculture
  • Asses the farm/ranch for opportunities to priority species and habitats
  • Find out about biodiversity conservation actions being taken by neighbors
  • Investigate incentive programs
  • Prioritize actions to conserve biodiversity
  • Create a conservation component of the organic farm plan

(Baumgartner 2006)

national wildlife federation habitat certification of a backyard habitat
National Wildlife Federation Habitat Certification of a Backyard Habitat
  • All you need to do is provide elements from each of the following areas:
  • Food Sources. For example: Native plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, nectar
  • Water Sources. For example: Birdbath, pond, water garden, stream
  • Places for Cover. For example: Thicket, rock pile, birdhouse
  • Places to Raise Young. For example: Dense shrubs, vegetation, nesting box, pond
  • Sustainable Gardening. For example: Mulch, compost, rain garden, chemical-free fertilizer



O’Conner, Pagosa Creek, Shallowwater and Wheatland Ranches: Rusty Read, interviewed October 3rd , 2007 on the Pagosa Creek Ranch east of Las Vegas, NM.

San Augustin Farms: William Gonzales, interviewed September 21st , 2007 at the Tri-County Farmer’s Market in Las Vegas, NM.

Baca Farms, Ramona Baca: interviewed September 21st , 2007 at the Tri-County Farmer’s Market in Las Vegas, NM.

The Walking B Ranch: Bernardo Gonzales, interviewed October 14th ,2007on the Walking B ranch south of Romeroville, NM.

Madison Winery, Bill Madison: interviewed October 4th , 2007 at the Madison Winery in Ribera, NM.

Contact information is available on request

Mollison, Bill. Introduction to Permaculture. Tagari Publications. Tasmania. Austrailia.1991

Leopold, Aldo

1st quote

Jackson, Dana L. & Laura L. eds. TheFarm as Natural Habitat. Island Press. London. U.K. 2002

2nd Quote

Baumgartner, Jo Ann, & Imhoff, Daniel eds. Farming and the Fate of Wild Nature. Watershed Media. Healsdsburg, CA. 2006.

National Wildlife Federation

Wild Farm Alliance,

Owls unite Middle Eastern farmersBy Ben Winograd, Associated Press

recommended reading
Recommended reading

Imhoff, Daniel. Farming With The Wild. University of California Press. London England. 2003