AMES, Iowa – As a declining number of Monarch butterflies migrate through the central United States each year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering a new incentive for farmers to help increase their breeding habitat.
This program is discussed in the May issue of the Acreage Living Newsletter in an article titled “Helping Monarchs and Pollinators Through USDA Assistance Programs.” The article is written by Laura Crowell, state public affairs office with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Iowa agricultural producers who would like to develop habitat for monarchs and pollinators by adding additional soil and water conservation practices to their land have until May 19 to sign up at their local USDA Service Center for planning and funding assistance.
“When thinking about monarchs and other pollinators, creating habitat in homeowner’s backyards and in city parks will help, but we can’t get to our recovery goals without a significant amount of habitat going into rural landscapes,” said Steve Bradbury, professor of Natural Resources and Ecology Management at Iowa State University. “This NRCS program provides resources through the Farm Bill to help get that habitat established and is in the vanguard of Monarch conservation.”
Practices eligible through the USDA’s Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project include: brush management, conservation cover, field borders and upland wildlife habitat management.
“For those enrolling in the program continued diligence in using integrated pest management guidelines to determine when it is necessary to treat for insect pests and following label instruction to minimize spray drift is important,” Bradbury said.
The article also discusses the type of plant diversity pollinators are drawn to, including seeding instructions.
A local Natural Resources Conservation Service office can help develop a plan to address Monarch habitat or other resource concerns, as well as financial assistance. Information about Iowa’s Monarch Conservation Strategy is available at http://monarch.ent.iastate.edu/.