First Annual Bee Forage Tour To Plant 50 Million Wildflower Seeds

Each year, Americans eagerly look forward to fall, the official season of harvest time, pumpkin pie, and hot apple cider. But none of these fall favorites would be quite as beloved without the hard work put in by pollinators earlier in the year.

That’s why this fall, the Bayer Feed a Bee program will celebrate and promote pollinator health by providing them with some of their favorite things – native wildflowers and dedicated areas of diverse forage options throughout the nation.

Feed a Bee and The Wildlife Society (TWS) have embarked on a six-week tour to establish additional pollinator forage at four locations across the U.S. Announced last month at TWS’ annual conference in Raleigh, NC, approximately 50 million wildflower seeds will be planted at strategic locations in Texas, Kansas, Illinois and Florida, where TWS has a robust regional presence.

“The Feed a Bee program is tackling a really important need for pollinators by conducting plantings across the nation this fall,” said Ken Williams, Chief Executive Officer of TWS. “At TWS, dedicated chapter members in each region are working now to identify the optimum mix of wildflower seeds to plant in each location to ensure pollinators have access to a wide variety of diverse nutrition sources when bloom occurs in the spring.”

The original goal established for the Feed a Bee program this year was to generate enough social actions through “Tweet a 🐝, #FeedABee” to plant 25 million pollinator-attractant wildflower seeds. Each share of the bee emoji and #FeedABee online triggered additional, real wildflower seeds being tallied for the fall plantings. Thanks to overwhelming support from the public and the generous donations of acreage from partner organizations, the four plantings will take place across enough land to plant 50 million wildflower seeds total.

Existing Feed a Bee partners will plant native wildflowers this fall, including:
– Texas Tech University Department of Plant and Soil Science in Lubbock, TX
– McCarty Family Farms in Scott City, KS
– Salem4youth in Flanagan, IL
– The Packers of Indian River in Fort Pierce, FL.

The pollinator tour kicked off in October in Lubbock, TX, where the Texas Tech University (TTU) Department of Plant and Soil Science hosted an educational pollinator field day that highlighted new native bee and habitat research being conducted by graduate students. Attendees, including local growers, TTU students, and representatives from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service also helped establish new forage areas for pollinators at the Quaker Avenue Research Farm, the 130-acre farm operated by the department.

“Pollinators, including native bees, honeybees, and more, play an important role in agriculture and our ecosystem as a whole,” said Dr. Scott Longing, Assistant Professor of Entomology at TTU and member of the Texas Chapter of TWS. “By continuing to research ways to combat the challenges they face and planting additional forage in the meantime, we can help promote and protect pollinator health in a variety of ways.”

According to Dr. Longing, pollinators’ contributions to crop yields and threats to biodiversity on the highly fragmented southern high plains have been dramatically understudied.

“From a better understanding of the associations of habitat resources, landscapes, and agricultural practices, we hope to assist producers in sustaining pollination services in crops, while developing information to support the conservation of broader pollinator biodiversity in the region.”

Following the field day, Feed a Bee visited the Carolyn Lanier Youth Farm for a special program with the South Plains Food Bank’s Growing Recruits for Urban Business (GRUB) Program, which teaches young adults how to plant, grow, maintain, harvest, and market their own produce, while also providing classes on nutrition and healthy living. The students were able to view a working hive up close before getting their hands dirty and planting additional forage next to their garden plots.

“Every Saturday, our students learn more about all the hard work that goes into growing fruits and vegetables, but the Feed a Bee event helped them understand the role of the hardest workers of all – pollinators,” said Lynn Weir, Director of Farm, Orchard and GRUB Division for the South Plains Food Bank.

The remaining plantings will take place throughout November and December and promise to engage with even more partner organizations and communities to celebrate pollinators and establish additional forage.

“Every additional bit of forage planted helps pollinators, whether it’s next to a community garden, alongside cropland or in a homeowner’s backyard,” said Dr. Becky Langer, Project Manager for the North American Bayer Bee Care Program. “We’re proud to work with TWS and our other fantastic Feed a Bee partners this fall for the first annual forage planting tour. By planting these wildflower seeds, we’re helping to sow a healthier spring for honeybees and other pollinators.”

Feed a Bee is a national initiative to plant more wildflowers for pollinators and educate a broader audience about the importance of pollinator health. By enlisting the help of more than 500,000 individuals and more than 115 partner organizations, Feed a Bee has planted more than 155 million pollinator-attractant flowers to date. Individuals can get involved by visiting FeedABee.com to pledge to plant their own pollinator patches and learn more about other ways to get involved throughout the year.

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fruits Stories
Crop Protection
October 17, 2017
EPA Takes Steps to Reduce Risk of Drift-Related Herbicide Injury
With reports of dicamba injuries in tomatoes, peaches, grapes, and other crops, the agency works to reduce the impact of spray drift on vulnerable crops. Read More
Fruits
October 16, 2017
New Broad-Spectrum Herbicide Released by Nufarm
Grapple herbicide works on pre- and post-emergent weeds in orchards and vineyards. Read More
Flooded peach and grape groves from Irma at UF/IFAS HAEC
Citrus
October 16, 2017
Wrath of Hurricane Irma’s Rainfall Measured by the Trillions
Report says storm dropped enough gallons of water on Florida’s St. Johns River Water Management District to swamp 6.7 million football fields. Read More
Checking hop cones at UF/IFAS MREC
Fruits
October 14, 2017
USDA Seeks Applications for Next Round of Specialty Crop Research Grants
SCRI grants to total $48 million for 2018 fiscal year. Read More
Grapes
October 13, 2017
Fairgrounds Host California Fire Evacuees
Gallo will contribute $1 million to fire recovery effort and will match employee donations two-for-one. Read More
Grapes
October 10, 2017
Wildfires Hit California Wine Country
California Gov. Jerry Brown declares state of emergency for northern counties impacted by flames. Read More
A water-logged citrus grove in Southwest Florida following Irma
Citrus
October 10, 2017
Impressions from Irma Indelible on the Florida Farmscape [Slideshow]
Striking images from the field reveal not only the storm’s destructive nature, but also paths to recovery and reconstruction. Read More
Citrus
October 9, 2017
(We Won’t Back Down … ) Stand Your Ground for Agriculture
You don’t have to be a super hero, rock star, or award-winning scientist to aid farming. You can help by supporting professionalism in fields. Read More
Apples & Pears
October 9, 2017
How to Transition to Multileader Production
Use this guide to help you determine whether multileader production is a good fit for your farm. Read More
Grapes
October 7, 2017
Tips for Effective Vine Mealybug Management in Grapes
Scouting, trapping, and mating disruption can help prevent populations of this pest increasing in your vineyard. Read More
Apples & Pears
October 6, 2017
What You Need to Know About Multileader Systems for Apple Trees
While multiple leaders shrink the tree canopy, experts warn there are places where missteps can be made. Read More
Apples & Pears
October 5, 2017
Apple Growers Moving to Multileaders
Growers shift from single leader to multiple leader systems to increase light interception and production. But this system isn’t without its risks and costs. Read More
Growers boot up drone technology on the farm
Citrus
October 5, 2017
Are You a Precision Grower?
Gathering, analysis, and application still seems to be the best basic definition of precision agriculture. Read More
Fruits
October 5, 2017
Environmental Monitoring Helps With Food Safety Modernization Act
Monitoring may be most effective way to meet the preventative controls component of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Read More
Greenhouse structures flattened by Irma at C&B Farms
Citrus
October 5, 2017
Hurricane Irma Toll on Florida Farming in the Billions
Preliminary damage estimates confirm storm’s ferocity. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
October 18, 2017
How to Keep Track of Climate Change
Use cool tools to find out how your production methods may change in the future, how much your area is at risk, and how to limit your own impact on the climate. Read More
Citrus
October 17, 2017
USDA Issues Disaster Declaration for Hur…
Operators in designated counties eligible for emergency assistance. Read More
Fruits
October 17, 2017
Hirst Named American Society of Horticul…
Honor was presented during society’s annual meeting. Read More
Crop Protection
October 17, 2017
EPA Takes Steps to Reduce Risk of Drift-…
With reports of dicamba injuries in tomatoes, peaches, grapes, and other crops, the agency works to reduce the impact of spray drift on vulnerable crops. Read More
Fruits
October 16, 2017
New Broad-Spectrum Herbicide Released by…
Grapple herbicide works on pre- and post-emergent weeds in orchards and vineyards. Read More
Citrus
October 16, 2017
Wrath of Hurricane Irma’s Rainfall…
Report says storm dropped enough gallons of water on Florida’s St. Johns River Water Management District to swamp 6.7 million football fields. Read More
Fruits
October 14, 2017
USDA Seeks Applications for Next Round o…
SCRI grants to total $48 million for 2018 fiscal year. Read More
Citrus
October 10, 2017
Impressions from Irma Indelible on the F…
Striking images from the field reveal not only the storm’s destructive nature, but also paths to recovery and reconstruction. Read More
Citrus
October 9, 2017
(We Won’t Back Down … ) Stan…
You don’t have to be a super hero, rock star, or award-winning scientist to aid farming. You can help by supporting professionalism in fields. Read More
Citrus
October 5, 2017
Are You a Precision Grower?
Gathering, analysis, and application still seems to be the best basic definition of precision agriculture. Read More
Fruits
October 5, 2017
Environmental Monitoring Helps With Food…
Monitoring may be most effective way to meet the preventative controls component of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Read More
Citrus
October 5, 2017
Hurricane Irma Toll on Florida Farming i…
Preliminary damage estimates confirm storm’s ferocity. Read More
Citrus
October 4, 2017
Goodlatte Officially Introduces the Ag G…
On Monday, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced his Agricultural Guestworker Act of 2017 bill, which would replace H-2A with an H-2C program. Rep. Goodlatte introduced the bill to the House Judiciary Committee, which he chairs. Read More
Fruits
October 3, 2017
Bill Introduced to Crack Down on Fake Or…
Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act seeks stricter enforcement of imports, modernization of documentation. Read More
Citrus
October 2, 2017
$10 Million for Honeybee Health
National Honey Board, Project Apis.m investing in pollinator research. Read More
Citrus
October 2, 2017
Perseverance a Priority for Florida Farm…
Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam heartened by the strides being made by growers around the state as they begin to recover from the hurricane. Read More
Citrus
October 2, 2017
$18 Million in Grants Available for Valu…
Farmers in need of planning or working capital funds to move their ideas forward encouraged to check out program. Read More
Citrus
September 27, 2017
Research on Jet Fuel Cover Crop Ready fo…
Scientists seeking to find if carinata can sustainably feed future renewable energy demands. Read More