Earlier this year, we teamed up with Future Farmers of America (FFA) at Los Banos High School to install over a dozen owl boxes at our San Juan Bautista, California orchard. Owl boxes are a key part of sustainable farming and a farmer’s best defense against rodent infestation. When farmers plant acres of fruit, they attract a density of voles, mice and other rodents but don’t provide a suitable home for predators. So, these boxes rectify the imbalance by establishing a place for them to reside, eat and breed.
Owls in particular are low maintenance, tolerant to humans and have a low mortality rate, making these heart-shaped faced animals the ideal predator in our orchards. The presence of these natural predators also reduces the need for pesticides and rodenticides. Not only are these costly chemicals time-consuming to spread, they get into the water table and cause a chain-reaction of other environmental problems.
We’re thrilled to report that our owl boxes worked! All of the boxes now have healthy families of barn owls nesting inside. Thank you, Future Farmers, for your help and commitment to making America a greener place to grow.
Pictured above is an owl box installed at our San Juan Bautista orchard. We use those Mutsu apple trees to blend our Gold Medal Sparkling Ciders and 100% apple juices.