Conservation for Profitability

Session II: 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Cover cropping, buffers, soil building, and other conservation practices can enhance nutrients, increase moisture, slow erosion, improve soil, control pests, and otherwise improve farm ecology. These “regenerative” practices are not only the cornerstone of organic farming but also essential strategies for resilience amid a changing climate and extreme weather events. Learn about their economic impacts on the farm from increased yields, lower nutrient input requirements, reduced time and fuel costs, and more.

Speakers: Anne Schwartz, Blue Heron Farm; Bill Snyder, Washington State University; Mace Vaughan, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Speaker Bios

Anne Schwartz graduated with a degree in Animal Science from Washington State University, (WSU) in 1978 and has been farming in the Skagit Valley in WA since. Blue Heron Farm produces certified organic vegetables and berries marketed regionally.  Anne was active with organic certification issues at the state and national levels for over 25 years.  Anne was an active advocate in the creation of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR), at WSU, and has served on their Advisory Council since 1989.  She served on the Board of Tilth Producers of WA for 35 years, and was recently reelected to Tilth Alliance Board.  She continues to serve on other non-profit boards to promote organic and sustainable agriculture research, and regional food systems.  Her latest focus, inspired 40 years ago by the failures of cost/benefit accounting taught in Ag Econ classes to adequately value "externalities", is to create an Initiative to integrate True Cost Accounting into the research and teaching structure of the College of Agriculture at WSU.  In her spare time, she trains her Border Collies to work livestock.

Bill Snyder did his Biology BA at University of Delaware, M.S. in Zoology at Clemson, and Ph.D. in Entomology at University of Kentucky. A stint as a USDA Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison preceded his move to Washington State University in 2000, where he was promoted to Full Professor in 2010. The Snyder lab is interested in links between farm biodiversity and environmental and human health.

Mace Vaughan (Moderator) serves as The Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Program Co-Director and also as a Pollinator Conservation Specialist with the USDA NRCS West National Technology Support Center in Portland, Oregon. Mace has led Xerces’ Pollinator Conservation Program since 2003. During his tenure at the Xerces Society, the pollinator program has grown from a small pilot project on California farms to a national program, implementing pollinator and beneficial insect conservation projects and trainings across the U.S.  Helping to oversee a team of twenty-four pollinator conservation specialists and several consultants, Mace helps to manage the largest pollinator and beneficial insect conservation team in the country. Mace has written numerous articles on the conservation of beneficial insects, and is co-author of several books, including Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies and Farming with Native Beneficial Insects. He was a lecturer on honey bee biology and beekeeping at Cornell University, from which he holds Degrees in Entomology, Natural Resource Management, and Teaching.