United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack proclaimed this week June 21-27, 2021 National Pollinator Week. When you mention pollinators I think of honey bees. However, there are many other insects that are pollinators along with many species of birds and bats. Actually more than 100 crops that are grown in the United States depend on pollinators including fruits, vegetables and nuts. In dollar terms just the honey bee adds $18 billion in value to agricultural crops.

"The health of these agricultural contributors is critical to the vitality and sustainability of the U.S. agriculture, food security, and our nation's overall economy. Pollinators are also essential for healthy, biodiverse ecosystems across public and private lands, including our agricultural lands and our National Forests and grasslands." said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "I applaud pollinator conservation efforts happening across our nation."

We all can in a small way help with pollinator habitat even if you are a homeowner. You could plant flowers around your house that would be beneficial to pollinators. Most garden stores and nurseries have flower mixes that would be good for pollinators. You could also contact your local Soil and Water Conservation Service (SWCD) at local USDA Service Centers and they could provide more information on pollinator flower gardens.

Farmers and landowners can plant pollinator mixes in CRP land and in grass waterways. I have a grass waterway that has some milkweeds growing in it. When I am spot spraying for giant ragweed I could have sprayed the milkweeds too but I left them. Even if they spread into the field they are easy to kill with the herbicides I use. So, I thought why not leave them for the monarch butterflies. I also left them that were growing in township road ditches too.

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