Chuck Zimmerman found Becky Langer of Bayer‘s Feed a Bee program and M. Vincent Restucci from R.D. Offutt Company buzzing with excitement at the the 2017 Potato Expo in San Fransisco, California. The two forces have joined together on behalf of pollinators– and been quite successful too.
R.D. Offutt Company made a commitment to helping pollinators in 2015. They joined with Feed a Bee and many other organizations to partner on projects.
“We made the commitment to take a look out our dry corners and center pivots, the areas we don’t farm – so an underperforming asset or an underutilized asset– and we started creating biodiversity […],” says Restucci. “So we’ve planted 150,000 trees in those dry corners. We’ve planted 1,200 moving to 1,500 acres of pollinator habitat, because even though potatoes don’t require bees or pollinators because the pollen is so deep in the potato flower it requires a deep pollination only a bumble bee can provide, but we realize how important pollinators are to the whole food production system, and so we’ve covered the corners or areas under powers lines or next to schools or hospitals. Anywhere we farm we’ve started this buffer zone that is very aesthetically pleasing, and it benefits all kinds of wildlife, as well as pollinators.”
Bayer, of course, is ecstatic to have such interest because it is these partnerships that have grown the Feed a Bee program.
“That allowed us to reach the 2 billion flower mark,” Langer states. “We started with the simple goal of planting 50 million. We couldn’t have done that without the 900,000 or more individuals that have joined us, along with our 117 partners like R.D. Offset Company. The key to our partners is they are such a diversified audience of stakeholders who have interested in pollinators from all different aspects, but it’s bringing that one common interest together to really make a better environment and ecosystem for the pollinators.”
Hear more about future pollinator plans in this interview:[wpaudio url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/zimmcomm/potato-expo-17-bayer-langer-restucci.mp3″ text=”Becky Langer, Bayer and M. Vincent Restucci, R.D. Offutt”]