At Illinois Farm Bureau, we understand the importance of pollinators to our food system and to the ecosystem overall. That is why we embarked on a campaign to educate our membership about the latest science involving pollinators, the best management practices that are proven to protect pollinators and the technical information needed to create and improve habitat for pollinators on farms.
Illinois farmers are already doing their part on this important issue. In just a few years, they have installed pollinator habitat on privately-owned farmland across Illinois that is the equivalent of more than 93,412 football fields! Illinois farmers rank 2nd in the country for acreage of pollinator habitat established through the Conservation Reserve Program.
We’re working to help farmers do even better and continuously learn about pollinator health. That involves education around the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and what that means for farmers. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is considering listing the monarch butterfly as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA. Monarch butterflies need milkweed – the only plant that monarch caterpillars eat - but they also need other wildflowers for other stages of their life cycles. We are actively involved in conservation planning efforts surrounding the monarch butterfly and other pollinators in Illinois.