Almond Update: Promoting Pollinator Health Beyond National Pollinator Week

Brian GermanAlmond Update, News from our Sponsors

As part of National Pollinator Week, June 20-26, the Almond Board of California (ABC) wants to remind growers that pollinator health and habitat are important considerations throughout the year.  ABC offers a variety of resources to growers to help support bee populations and establish cover crops in farming operations. ABC Senior Specialist of Industry Communications, Taylor Hillman said Pollinator Week can serve as a helpful reminder as to how critical bees and other pollinators are to the industry.

Pollinator Health

“It’s a good time for farmers and ranchers to know about the latest resources and opportunities for protecting pollinators and beneficial insects. These projects not only benefit pollinators but can also help landowners by improving soil health, reducing pest pressure, and increasing yields in some crops as well,” Hillman explained. “Grower-funded research has proven a lot of these practices and we’re happy to take part in this national celebration this week.”

Along with the educational resources from ABC, growers also have a variety of initiatives and programs available to them to assist with implementing practices to support pollinator health. Monarch Watch and its partner nurseries help supply milkweed seed ecotypes to support monarch butterfly habitat. Free technical assistance, milkweed plugs, and specialized seed mixes are available through the California Working Lands Free Seed Program. The Seeds for Bees program from Project Apis m. also provides growers with technical support and cover crop seed mixes.

“Research shows that planting cover crops or allowing natural forage to grow between the tree rows and/or outside of the orchard doesn’t compete with the almond blossoms. In fact, cover crops and hedgerows provide improved nutrition for honeybees, increasing colony strength, and other pollinators,” Hillman noted. “There’s also a lot of guides and practices out there for growers not only for this week but year-round.”

Financial and technical assistance programs to support pollinator habitats are also available from the Natural Resources Conservation Service as well as the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also partnered with Pollinator Partnership to learn more about the usage of conservation programs. A survey is available for farmers and ranchers to share how more pollinator-friendly practices can be incorporated into agricultural operations.

Listen to Hillman’s interview below.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West