David Buck is an experienced apple farmer in Oregon. He is deeply committed to sustainable farming, using the principles he learned as a Horticulture student at Oregon State University. He purchased his first orchard after graduation and used his new degree to introduce innovations in his work. With a few years of boots on the ground experience, he was ready to begin his career as an expert agricultural consultant.
Buck helps agricultural growers of all types realize their potential. He has worked with a wide variety of local farmers, including apple, strawberry, grape, and turf growers. Each type of agriculture carries its own concerns, advantages, and disadvantages. Buck understands each one and can help growers realize better returns on their investment while keeping their operations environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Buck’s interest in sustainable farming began when he was still a student. His background in sustainable horticulture allows him to help his clients change their farming methods to bring them in line with the newest innovations.
David Buck offers these principles of sustainable horticulture and describes how they can help any size farm make better use of the natural environment. Sustainable horticulture centers around the principle of making as little change to the natural ecosystem as possible. Pest control, irrigation, fertilizers, and agricultural practices are all adapted from traditional farming.
While it is necessary to control pests, particularly in fruit growing, sustainable horticulture means using less environmentally harmful methods of doing so. Many chemicals used to kill pests are also harmful to human health. In the past, powerful insecticides were widely used. These damaged the local ecosystem by removing not only the pests but also the beneficial organisms in the environment.
One of the biggest problems facing fruit growers today is the decline in bees and other pollinators. Sustainable growers need to manage their bees carefully and discourage disease from entering their hives. Using more selective pesticides than in years past makes it easier for bees to pollinate the orchards.
Sustainable horticulture also means properly managing the water supply to the orchard or field. Traditionally, a great deal of water was used, causing agricultural runoff and damage to the surrounding ecosystem. Newer methods of irrigation include subsurface drip irrigation, which is especially appropriate for dry areas. These methods take care of the plants while having a minimal impact on the surrounding land and reducing runoff.
In traditional farming, chemical fertilizers are used. In the organic and sustainable farming, more natural fertilizers like manure and compost take their place. These fertilizers are less likely to cause environmental damage. Organic material introduced to the soil can also help to increase the soil’s capability to hold water, meaning that less irrigation needs to be performed to keep crops healthy.
Agricultural practices have been adapted to sustainable farming. Current practices like planting cover crops, rotating crops, integrating crops and livestock, reducing tillage, and agroforestry are all newer methods of ensuring a farm’s success. Rotating crops prevents nutrients from being unevenly leeched from the soil. Cover crops reduce erosion. Reducing tillage keeps the soil’s structure closer to its natural state. Crops and livestock integration can help to make agriculture more sustainable by introducing natural fertilizers to the soil.
These practices are more environmentally friendly than traditional methods of farming. Integrated pest management, supporting pollinators, new methods of irrigation, and organic fertilizers all help to reduce farming’s impact on the natural environment. When farmers use these sustainable practices, they will be able to increase yield while preserving the health of their crops as well as that of the consumer. David Buck supports these new agricultural methods and encourages all farmers to adapt their practices.