- Category: News
- Published: Tuesday, 21 March 2017 14:26
- Written by Larry Lewis
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Utahns Urged to Plant Pollinator Friendly Flowers in Celebration of
National Agriculture Day – Tu. March 21, 2017
Free bee friendly seeds offered
(Salt Lake City) Helping Utah’s bee population is as easy as planting a flower garden. That’s the message to consumers, farmers and other large landowners as we recognize pollinator’s contribution to our food supply. Bee friendly 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 (UDAF). “Because as much as 30 percent of agriculture depends on pollination, we are dedicated to helping protect our pollinators,” She added.
As the Beehive State, Utah is home to about 900 species of pollinators which contribute to crop pollination on farms where their habitat needs are met. Pollinators are an important part of a healthy agricultural and natural landscape. The agriculture production and processing sectors account for $21.2 billion in economic output, 15.1% of the state’s economy and generate more than 79,000 jobs.
Later this month, the UDAF will place informational displays at Utah IFA stores to offer bee friendly pesticide application tips for consumers (see poster below).
Agriculture oriented agencies such as the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Utah State University (USU) Extension Office and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) are committed to helping local farmers and ranchers meet their agricultural goals while conserving natural resources. One way they 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 USDA 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 here.
Flower Seeds Available
You don’t have to be a beekeeper to help Utah’s bee population. As part of National Agriculture Week, the UDAF is giving away a limited supply of pollinator friendly flower seeds during a demonstration at the UDAF Building Tuesday, March 21st from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Growing pollinator friendly flowers is one way the public can help Utah’s bee population. Following Tuesday’s event, the UDAF will have a limited supply of free flower seed packets at its office at 350 North Redwood Rd., Salt Lake City. Call (801) 538-7104 for more information.
The UDAF's seed giveaway and bee education efforts are supported by the University of Utah's SCIF (Sustainability Campus Initiative Fund) program.