Agroforestry has given Drôme-based farmer Rémy Estavil a new take on standard farming practices.
Rémy is a livestock and crop farmer in La-Motte-de-Galaure in the Drôme region of France. He’s both happy and proud to call himself a country man. He never tires of observing the natural world. His eyes seem to twinkle endlessly, and a warm smile breaks across his face as he welcomes us to the farm where he raises ewes and lambs. Having converted to agroforestry in 2013, he has completely transformed his approach and methodology in order to work more closely with nature and trees.
Intensive farming models don’t respect the environment and aren’t sustainable.
Rémy and his wife raised dairy goats. But the couple realised that they had to change their production methods to cope with the dairy market crisis sparked by extremely low purchase prices that didn’t even cover their production costs.
So Rémy took a different tack, adopting quality, respect for the environment and respect for his livestock as his guiding principles. He switched to agroforestry, abandoning the idea that maximum output was the be-all and end-all.
Rémy explains that he has learned everything he knows by observing the environment, trees, animals and insects. He lives and works in harmony with nature’s rhythms, and this brings him nothing but benefits. The 1,300 trees he has planted over a three-year period feed his animals and provide shelter from bad weather. These trees also help to enrich the soil thanks to their root system, which draws water from deep underground. This natural process means that Rémy no longer has to treat his crops and pastureland with pesticides. He affirms that the trees have helped him to find a balance by working with, not against, the environment. As a result, he feels confident that his profession has a bright future ahead.