Growers will have more resources available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help support pollinator health and habitat. A grant of $1.7 million from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program will enable continued efforts to improve pollinator habitat and forage within agriculture. Chief Scientific Officer for the Almond Board of California (ABC) Josette Lewis said the funding from the grant will be available for a variety of grower activities.
“One will be adding/planting forage in and around their orchards. Maybe a piece of land that isn’t as productive or that’s around an equipment yard that they can add hedgerows or conservation cover to. It also includes coverage of cover crops inside the orchard,” said Lewis. “So, a number of different options around how to add habitat or forage for honeybees and native pollinators onto your ranches.”
Led by the Pollinator Partnership, the grant project aims to increase the use of agricultural land in providing habitat, forage, and other support to wild and managed pollinators. Partner organizations such as ABC, California Farm Bureau, and Bayer Crop Science will be instrumental in securing the participation of producers. Lewis explained that the grant is a nice complement to the work already undertaken by the industry to help improve pollinator health. Enrollment information about the new resources for growers is expected to become available in the coming months.
“The Pollinator Partnership is working with NRCS to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s on the actual grant. Then Pollinator Partnership will work with each of the different partners such as the Almond Board to then open up enrollment in the program,” Lewis noted. “We definitely will be looking to get information out to growers and help them evaluate if this is an opportunity that works for their operation and help sign them up.”
To learn more about cover crops and adding forage to your operation, visit Almonds.com/CoverCrops.
Listen to Lewis’ interview below.