NCDA&CS helping create habitat for pollinators (Cause we really like to eat!)

Up to one-third of the food we eat can be directly attributed to the work of pollinators. But pollinators have been declining because their habitat areas have been disappearing.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler started championing pollinator habitat areas in 2015 after a trade mission overseas.

Our 18 Research Stations across the state started planting small plots of wildflowers to give birds, bees and other pollinators places to reside.

Cherry Research Farm in Goldsboro chose a tract of land alongside the train tracks for one of their pollinator habitat areas. This area was otherwise unused for agricultural purposes.
"I came to the realization that we in North Carolina needed to do what we could to do to ensure that we had adequate pollinators for our crops." - Steve Troxler, commissioner of agriculture

Buckwheat at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville also serves as a pollinator habitat area.

But the station also has a tract of sunflowers for pollinators
And wildflowers, too.

This mix of flowering plants attracts a wide variety of pollinators and will provide habitat for a long period of time.

They are also taking advantage of fence lines to allow wildflowers to grow there.
The Upper Piedmont Research Station in Reidsville chose two small tracts for wildflowers near their walking trail in a high-traffic area. They have gotten many great comments from the public on these plots. They also have a third plot on the station.

The Central Crops Research Station in Clayton planted a wildflowers near the peach orchard to attract more pollinators:

At the Horticultural Crops Research Station in Clinton, they have planted five small sunflower plots, two wildflower mix plots, and a red clover plot. And are adding two more wildflower mixed plots. As the name suggestions, there is a lot of horticultural crops on site that can benefit from increased pollinator populations.

The station is also experimenting with field bee pollination cages, which is similar to pollinating in a greenhouse. Researchers are studying the effectiveness of controlled pollination on cucurbits.

The bees and butterflies have found the pollinator plots at the Upper Mountain Research Station in Laurel Springs:

The Peanut Belt Research Station in Lewiston-Woodville is attracting many types of bees.

The Caswell Research Farm in Kinston is cultivating some beautiful wildflowers for pollinators that will bloom for many months:

This buckwheat stand at the Sandhills Research Station in Jackson Springs has been very active. It is supporting a variety of ornamental plantings and fruit trees that are worked frequently by pollinators.

Other divisions within our department are also getting involved and planting urban pollinator plots at our facilities.

L-R, Plant Industry has planted several small raised beds to attract pollinators on the western side of Raleigh; The landscaping staff at the N.C. State Fairgrounds has focused on adding more pollinator varieties to the landscaping at the fairgrounds. Bottom: a pollinator garden has been planted outside of the Agriculture building in downtown Raleigh in view of the State Capitol. This helps support the agricultural heritage gardens outside the N.C. Museum of History.
More than 600 beekeepers and farmers have signed up on the FieldWatch website. This initiative to protect bees and specialty crops was initiated by the Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division.

Why do we care so much?

Because pollination is crucial to the success of our $84 billion agribusiness industry in North Carolina!

You can make a difference!

You can also create a pollinator plot to help provide habitat for birds, bees, beetles and other insects that contribute to pollination. It's pretty easy. Take a listen and scale your project up or down to fit your flower bed or field.

Learn more.

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