National Pollinator Week, June 22 – 28, celebrates agriculture’s partner in food production, the pollinator.
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture added programs for pollinators, as they are essential in supplying around one-third of every bite we eat.
“So some of the ways we use our Farm Bill is often through CRP (Conservation Resource Program). To work with pollinator type programs, where we can do portions of acres with pollinator or through a new program CP43 prairie strips to benefit native pollinators,” said Mike Klosterman, Farm Bill wildlife biologist at the Scottsbluff Natural Resouce Conservation Office.
Pollinator mixes can fit a producer’s land by design or purchase with a variety of flowering species. The mixes shouldn’t have as much grass, but more native flowers, like Penstemons and blanket flowers to black-eyed Susans, and of course, milkweed, these varieties will bloom from the beginning of spring through to late summer at different times.
“Establishment can be a tricky part of any pollinator planting,” said Klosterman. “One thing we focus on is site preparation, and an important step is preparing the site, we want a good clean firm seedbed.”
A pollinator habitat will attract a variety of pollinators from insects to bats and the familiar European Honey Bee, while the bees are known pollinators. Klosterman said the native bees are hardier than the European transplants and will work harder and even when weather conditions are not ideal.
To learn more about the USDA CRP and CP-43 programs, contact your local NRCS office.
To hear more on planting preparation – click below