Farmers, Homeowners Can Help Pollinators Prosper

Submitted by: Craig Derickson, Nebraska State Conservationist

This week is National Pollinator Week. So why do pollinators warrant their own week of celebrations? That’s easy – Food. One out of three bites of food can be attributed to these important creatures – such as bees, butterflies, moths, birds, beetles, bats, and a few other small mammals.

Pollinators provide crucial assistance to fruit, vegetable and seed crops as well as other plants that produce fiber, medicine and fuel. For many plants, without the help of pollinators, they would be unable to reproduce.

But as you may know, pollinators are in trouble. Many are seeing decreasing populations because of habitat loss, disease, parasites and pesticide use.

But there’s good news. There are simple ways you can help. It can be as easy as selecting high-quality pollinator plants for your garden. To find the best plants for your area, visit the websites of NRCS partners at the Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Program or Pollinator Partnership.

The plight of pollinators has also gained national attention. The White

House recently released its Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service plays a big role in that strategy.

If you operate a farm or ranch, NRCS can help you create habitat for pollinators. This not only benefits pollinators, but also provides ample perks for the farmers and ranchers, too. More pollinators can increase crop yields.

crops. NRCS offers more than three dozen conservation practices that assist in building healthier landscapes for pollinators. NRCS can also help fund the implementation of these practices.

Habitats used by pollinators attract beneficial insects (insects that eat crop pests), and they may provide habitat for other wildlife, reduce soil erosion, and improve water quality. As you can see, pollinators and healthy habitat for pollinators help keep the ecosystem healthy. In fact, if you are putting in conservation practices to prevent soil erosion or protect stream banks, consider including wildflowers, shrubs and trees that support pollinators.

Learn more about how farmers and ranchers are doing their part to aid pollinators:

www.nrcs.usda.gov/pollinators.