Habitat Huddle

New Farm Bill – Potential to Provide Significant Pollinator Benefits

June 28, 2017

New Farm Bill – Potential to Provide Significant Pollinator Benefits

Recently, the Honey Bill Health Coalition – along with input from members of the Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund (BBHF) – provided several principles to policymakers working on the next Farm Bill. The critical role the Farm Bill could play by impacting agricultural policy that supports honey bees and the country’s overall agriculture was highlighted in a letter.

 

Key Issues Presented

 

Why It’s Important

The USDA currently administers the largest, most successful conservation program in the nation’s history – the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). This program currently enrolls 24 million acres, all with the potential of providing critical pollinator habitat. The BBHF hopes that in the new Farm Bill, the program will offer both increased acres and more significant benefit to pollinators.

 

From the time CRP was first introduced in 1985, the program has provided farmers and ranchers the opportunity to voluntarily set aside environmentally sensitive lands by establishing habitat that protects soil health, water quality and wildlife habitat. The program has enrolled as many as 36 million acres throughout its history.  Today, the program is capped at just 24 million acres.  The next Farm Bill will be critical to ensuring that pollinator habitat is improved, protected and developed.

 

As part of our core objectives, the BBHF demonstrates how to create improved pollinator habitat, and CRP plantings can benefit from our efforts. In addition, if these principles are incorporated into the new Farm Bill, then CRP will provide more opportunities for landowners to create improved habitat for pollinators.

 

We have programs that establish pollinator habitat and can demonstrate to policymakers what highly effective pollinator habitat looks like and how it functions. We’re working to demonstrate that creating high-quality habitat works for agriculture, pollinators and environmental benefits.

 

UPDATE ON 2016 AND 2017 PROJECTS

Our projects are producing pollinator benefits! Contact us for more information.

 

 

“The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund is the bees’ buzz! The effort is integrating the very best performing habitat solutions where they are most needed, by bringing landowners and beekeepers together in a program where everyone benefits. It’s our goal to make every available acre the best it can be. It’s truly amazing just how much difference an acre can make when the habitat is engineered for maximum productivity!”

Zac Browning, Co-owner, Browning’s Honey Co., Inc.

“This project is a unique conservation effort, targeting acres in regions where conversion to soy and corn is happening very fast. By identifying places where habitat makes the most sense, the bottom line improves for the grower, the beekeeper, the monarch, upland songbirds and game birds, honey bees and native pollinators – it’s a program that can’t lose!”

Danielle Downey, Executive Director, Project Apis m.

"The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund is unique in that it has found the way to plant cost-effective pollinator habitat that establishes quickly and provides great pollinator benefits. It's the trifecta of getting great pollinator benefits onto the landscape. If we try to solve the critical problems for pollinators using the same tools and methods we have used for the last decade, we won’t be successful. The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund brings new strategies, methods and partners together to save monarch butterflies, honey bees and other pollinators, not to mention the nation’s food supply and beautiful landscapes."

Peter S. Berthelsen, Director of Habitat Partnerships, Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever