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This project contributes to our understanding of bird habitat management practices in cropland farming systems and to our knowledge of Nebraska farmers’ opinions regarding birds, their habitats, children’s roles on the farm, and a certification process that would tie all of these together. A “bird friendly” farm certification could involve a professional assessment of bird habitat and populations and include various farming practices and non-cropped areas. Certified farms would be publicly recognized by a label, which could help market Nebraska farm products, provide increased opportunities for tourism, and give desirable cropland birds a boost.
Approximately 85 birds are frequently found in Nebraska cropland. Information on basic life history, agricultural associations, and suggested management practices of these birds was compiled in a database. We then chose 32 management practices that would benefit these birds and that could be accomplished on farms. These practices were put in a survey and sent to 1,241 Nebraska farmers from March-May 2007. The members of both the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society (NSAS) and the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) were included in the mailing, along with 1,000 other Nebraska farmers whose names and addresses were obtained from Experian Marketing Solutions (www.experianmarketingsolutions.com). Returned questionnaires included 289 that were completed and usable, which is 25% of the farming recipients; 37 were non-deliverable and 57 indicated they were not farming. This 25% response rate is within the expected range (Dillman 2000).