Our world’s pollinators are in trouble. Honeybees, which are currently responsible for 80% of our crop pollination, have seen their population decline by 60% over the past 70 years. Many other pollinators aren’t faring any better.
Some species of bumblebees have lost 96% of their population. Monarch butterflies are on the verge of being declared an endangered species. If something doesn’t change, we could lose most of our major pollinators in as little as 20 years.
Considering pollinators contribute more than $24 billion to the US economy every year, this is a very serious situation.
But there is hope.
By establishing pollinator habitat and promoting pollinator diversity, we can help restore pollinator populations while protecting ourselves from an overreliance on one particular species of pollinator. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) provides an effective way to make this happen.
The Proven Success of CRP
Over the past 25 years, the Conservation Reserve Program has found continued success. In addition to preventing 9 billion tons of soil from eroding, sequestering 49 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, and reducing nitrogen runoff by 95%, CRP has lead to the establishment of millions of acres of pollinator habitat.
Loss of habitat has been a major factor in population declines of countless pollinator species. This is especially true for monarch butterflies, who exclusively rely on milkweed for reproduction. Not only do they lay their eggs on milkweed, but their larvae use it as a food source after hatching. Unfortunately, many areas consider milkweed an invasive species, resulting in it actively being removed.
The Conservation Reserve Programs offers the perfect opportunity for farmers and landowners to establish pollinator friendly vegetation such as milkweed while still earning a profit. Through CRP, contract holders are paid market-based rental payments in exchange for taking marginal land out of active crop production and establishing native vegetation.
In addition to restoring health to damaged soil, native vegetation protects local water supplies and provides a critical habitat to local wildlife such as pollinators. Increased pollinator presence can also improve the yields of surrounding farmland.
With the right CRP seed mix, enrollees can promote pollinator diversity and maximize these benefits.
However, enrolling in CRP can be a confusing process. Once you’re enrolled, there’s a lot of work to be done up front. That doesn’t mean you should avoid CRP. However, some professional assistance may be required. That’s where we come in.
FDCE provides full-service CRP solutions that take care of the enrollment and establishment process. We even handle documentation and report submission to FSA. With CRP’s cost-share reimbursement, our services practically pay for themselves.
If you’re interested in establishing pollinator habitat through CRP, contact FDCE today!