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Grazing for Solutions: Holistic Integration of Animals into Orchards and Vineyards

November 13, 2013


San Luis Obispo, Calif. (October 22, 2013) – The immediate and long-term benefits of integrating animals in orchard and vineyard operation – such as the use of raptors for rodent control or sheep for weed suppression – will be a topic of discussion at the upcoming Sustainable Ag Expo, Nov. 18 and 19 at the Madonna Inn Expo Center in San Luis Obispo, California. (

Held Tuesday, Nov. 19, the Holistic Management session will provide attendees an overview of integrating animals into orchard and vineyard systems via the experience of top industry experts and farm managers.

“Farmers are always interested in learning about ‘new’ ways to diversify and expand their management toolbox. We’re excited to bring both the science and practical information of this strategy to our growers,” said Kris Beal of the Vineyard Team, which has hosted the Sustainable Ag Expo for almost a decade.

Presenting an introduction of holistic farm management will be Robert Rutherford, Sheep Specialist at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, followed by Kelly Mulville, a national leader in holistic management and vineyard grazing, who will share his practical expertise on “The Economical & Ecological Benefits of Extended-Season Vineyard Grazing.”

According to Mullville, “One of the most dramatic results of extending the grazing period in vineyards is the potential to decrease water use while increasing yield and quality. Weeds and cover crops become a resource to be harvested, adding value to both the animal and the soil.”

Finally, Chris Kerston, Managing Partner of Chaffin Family Orchards, will discuss “Integrating Animals into a Diverse Orchard System,” followed by a Q&A session.

Staged in an accessible format under one roof at the Madonna Inn Expo Center, the 9th Annual Sustainable Ag Expo offers inventive presentations and an innovative trade show targeted at farmers, agricultural professionals, and pest control advisors. The two-day educational meeting will also provide ample continuing education credits and an exhibitor showcase.

Since its inception, the Sustainable Ag Expo has focused on the latest trends in sustainability and hot topics in California agriculture. Visit for more information, including attendee registration and the full schedule of events. The Vineyard Team can be reached at 805-466-2288.

The Vineyard Team is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable viticulture practices on the Central Coast since 1994. Visit to learn more about the Vineyard Team and its SIP (Sustainability in Practice) Program.

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