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- Published: Friday, 17 June 2016 15:22
- Written by Larry Lewis
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Utah Pollinator Week Celebrated June 20-26
Utahns Urged to Plant Pollinator Friendly Flowers – Free Seeds Offered at Wheeler Farm Event
6351 South 900 East Murray, UT 84121
(Salt Lake City) Helping Utah’s bee population is as easy as planting a flower garden. That’s the message from three organizations dedicated to protecting bees and our food supply. The USDA - Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF), and USU Extension Service feature programs that encourage consumers and larger landowners to plant pollinator friendly flower species. The flowers help extend the bees’ pollen foraging season before and after the summer months. Malnourished honeybees tend to have weakened immune systems which make them more susceptible to pests, diseases and pesticide exposure.
“The health of our food supply is linked to the health of our pollinators,” said LuAnn Adams, commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. “Because as much as 30 percent of agriculture depends on pollination, we are dedicated to helping protect our pollinators,” She added.
USDA Research also shows wild native bees, which number about 900 species in Utah, contribute to crop pollination on farms where their habitat needs are met. This is why NRCS Utah works with partners and local producers to create and support pollinator habitat in the “Beehive State” through programs outlined in the 2014 Farm Bill.
“Pollinators are an important part of a healthy agricultural and natural landscape,” said Dave Brown, state conservationist for NRCS in Utah. “Our goal is to help local farmers and ranchers meet their agricultural goals while conserving natural resources, and one of the ways we do that is by encouraging practices that develop habitat for native and managed pollinators.”
In San Juan County, for example, NRCS Utah has teamed with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to provide technical assistance on more than 34,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land that incorporate pollinator habitat features.
National Strategy to Protect Honey Bees
The UDAF’s Honey Bee Program is participating in the national strategy to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators by developing a Managed Pollinator Protection Plan (MP3). The goal of the plan is to protect honey bees from pesticide poisoning, promote honey bee forage resources and improve overall pollinator health. Access the MP3 plan and other information at: http://1.usa.gov/1YpthT9
Flower Seeds Available
You don’t have to be a beekeeper to help Utah’s bee population. In conjunction with Pollinator Week, the three agencies will give away a limited supply of pollinator friendly flower seeds during a demonstration at Wheeler Farm Monday, June 20th at 11:30 a.m. In addition, Governor Herbert has declared June 20 – 26, 2016 as Pollinator Week in Utah.
Growing pollinator friendly flowers is one way the public can help Utah’s bee population. The UDAF will also have a limited supply of free flower seed packets at its office at 350 North Redwood Rd., Salt Lake City - (801) 538-7104.
Contact: Larry Lewis (801) 538-7104
Cell (801) 514-2152
Rey Leal, USDA-NRCS (801) 538-7150
Kati Wagner USU Extension (801) 201-2822
posted: June 20, 2016