Illinois Producers Working Hard To Nurture Nature’s Pollinator - Celebrate National Pollinator Week!
Paige Buck, State Public Affairs Specialist
For Immediate Release: June 17, 2013
Champaign, IL - When it comes to pollinators, Illinois farmers are creating habitat to boost their populations and harness these critters’ value. With National Pollinator Week beginning today, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is using the opportunity to promote pollinators, like bees and butterflies. Pollinators provide crucial assistance to fruit, vegetable and seed crops, but many species are seeing their numbers fall.
Agricultural producers across the nation work with NRCS to create ideal habitat for pollinators and increase populations in simple and significant ways.
Producers in Illinois planted about 2 million acres of field borders, 51,000 feet of hedgerows, 10,000 acres of conservation cover and nearly 14,000 acres of beneficial insect habitat during fiscal years 2011 and 2012. These conservation activities, or practices, are just three of 37 that NRCS offers through the Farm Bill to help producers create the perfect places for pollinators to forage and take shelter.
“Making room for pollinators on your farm isn’t too difficult or expensive, and NRCS wants to help you make those improvements that will not only benefit pollinators – but help your land as well,” Illinois State Conservationist Ivan Dozier said.
More than three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollinators to reproduce, equating to one of every three bites of food people eat. Many plants would be unable to reproduce without the help of pollinators.
“Bees and other pollinators provide a tremendous ecological service, and that’s why thousands of producers have worked to attract them to their land,” NRCS biologist Gene Barickman said. “Creating habitat for pollinators attracts beneficial insects, produces wildlife habitat, reduces soil erosion and improves water quality. Pollinators help keep the whole ecosystem healthy.”
Scientists attribute a number of factors, including habitat loss, disease, parasites and overuse of pesticides for pollinators’ peril. Agencies and partners across the country are working on science-based solutions to support pollinators. Each June, NRCS and conservation partners salute pollinators during “National Pollinator Week,” set for June 17-23. Learn more: www.nrcs.usda.gov/pollinators.
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