The U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted an announcement between themselves, General Mills, and the largest and oldest pollinator conservation organization, the Xerces Society this morning. The three organizations are joining together to protect the habitats of pollinators on hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. The project is a five-year, $4 million commitment to provide the technical assistance for planting and protecting wildflowers and flowering hedgerows. The goal is 100,000 acres in the next five years.
In North America alone, bees are responsible for over $25 billion in agricultural production each year. In addition to improving the yield of many crop species, research demonstrates that pollinators such as bees may also improve the nutritional value and commercial quality of some crops.
“Pollinators supply one-third of the food and beverages that Americans consume,” said Jerry Lynch, Chief Sustainability Officer at General Mills. “As part of General Mills’ global commitment to treat the world with care, our investment will help pollinators to continue to play a key role in sustainable food production in the U.S.”
“To date, our work with NRCS has resulted in hundreds of thousands of acres of new or improved habitat,” said Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director of the Xerces Society. “This partnership will allow us to expand conservation support in the Midwest, Northeast and California, reaching many more farmers and bringing greater benefits to the pollinators on which we all rely.”
Listen to the press conference here: [wpaudio url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/zimmcomm/nrcs-pollinators.mp3″ text=”General Mills, Xerces Society, and NRCS Press Conference”]