Allen County Farm Bureau member Richard Campbell can remember the days when he had to watch his step in the fields because of the abundance of bees. These days he’s wondering where they all went and how he can help. He has 20 acres of cropland that will be idle soon and is considering starting a pollinator friendly habitat.
Campbell is joining a growing number of farmers and landowners who are interested in helping pollinators, which are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. One of the many conservation programs available to farmers is the Farm Service Agency’s CP42 Pollinator Habitat practice, which makes establishing help for pollinators more financially attractive, said John Kaiser, private lands manager for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
“If we see a sharp decrease in pollinators, then we will see a sharp decrease in what we take for granted in our food production,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist Marci Lininger.
Over the last few years, the pollinator population has been dropping for a variety of reasons, including climate change and habitat loss because of pesticide enhancements, parasitic mites and other diseases. Recently the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began examining the possibility of the monarch butterfly qualifying for U.S. Endangered Species Act protection, a process which American Farm Bureau is monitoring. Ohio is a critical stop on their annual migration route, according to Lininger.
For more information about establishing a CP42 Pollinator Habitat practice, contact the Farm Services Agency office in your county.
Financial assistance available to farmers
The Farm Service Agency’s CP42 Pollinator Habitat practice offers farmers a way to create longer-lasting meadows of high-quality native wildflowers that support pollinators and other wildlife populations.
Financial assistance for farmers includes a signing incentive payment, 50 percent cost share assistance for site establishment and an annual rental payment calculated using soil rental rates, which are similar to cash rent rates.
CP42 eligibility requirements include:
• A minimum size requirement of half an acre.
• The land must be cropland and meet cropping history requirements as specified in the code of federal regulations.
• Whole fields may be enrolled. If not planted in whole fields, block plantings are preferred over strips. If planted in strips, each one must be a minimum of 20 feet wide.
• Contracts for CP42 practices must have a duration of 10 years.
• Land currently enrolled in a Conservation Reserve Program may be re-offered for enrollment into CP42 if the land enrolled in CRP is in the last year of the CRP-1 contract.