News & Events

The conversation about how private working lands can help monarchs and pollinators is ongoing and lively.  Check here often, as Farmers for Monarchs aims to be a perennial resource for farmers and landowners interested in planting and enhancing monarch habitat.

Please note that not all posts are authored by Farmers for Monarchs – a Keystone Collaborative, which is facilitated by Keystone Policy Center. For more information, please contact Matt Mulica.


Field reports

Prescribed Fire is a Great Way to Maintain Pollinator Habitat; But Firebreak Preparation Should Begin Now

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Where are the monarchs now? Fall migration is in full swing! Eastern migratory monarchs are beginning to arrive in Mexico. Texas is a migration hotspot, and reports are picking up in the Southeast and along the Gulf Coast. Western monarch activity is also ramping up, and some monarchs have reached overwintering sites in California. Learn […]

Getting Started

Farmers for Monarchs Provides Simple Reference Document for Pesticide Best Practices

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Farmers have successfully implemented sensible monarch conservation principles that also support productive agriculture and livestock operations. Pest management is an important part of those viable operations, which is why Farmers for Monarchs has written extensively about responsible pesticide use and shared steps producers can take to mitigate pesticide exposure for pollinators. We have now produced […]

Monarchs

Report: International Union for the Conservation of Nature Designates Monarch Butterfly as Endangered

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The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a membership union of government and civil society organizations headquartered in Switzerland, added the monarch butterfly to its “red list” of threatened species and categorized it as “endangered” — two steps from extinct, according to an article published today by the Associated Press. IUCN’s members work […]

Getting Started
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The first generation of the northern migration have reached their colonization grounds. Follow their journey at Journey North. National Pollinator Week continues to steadily grow and garner more attention ever since its first designation back in 2008. Today it is an international celebration, promoting the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles, […]

Field reports

Hope Grows with Eastern Monarch Population Holding Steady

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In a report released this week from the World Wildlife Fund Mexico (WWF), scientists determined monarchs occupied 2.84 hectares in December 2021, a modest increase from the 2.10 hectares occupied in December 2020. The report notes the 35% increase in monarch butterfly overwintering population numbers between 2020 and 2021 gives some reason for hope given […]

Field reports

‘No Mow May’ Makes Supporting Pollinators Effortless

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One of the many requests the world makes to farmers and other land managers is restoring pollinator populations by implementing pollinator-friendly conservation practices on their lands. This month, we share a conservation principle that we hope lightens the burden on farm managers: simply stop mowing, at least during the month of May. Last year, we […]

Field reports

Stewardship Practices for Planting Treated Seeds

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There are a host of stewardship practices deployed by farmers throughout the year that boost crop health and yield while also protecting monarchs and other pollinators. One of those practices that bears particular attention during planting season is the proper management of treated seeds. The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship provides guidelines for managing treated […]

Monarchs

Western Monarch Populations Rally, Total Nearly 250,000 in 2021

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The western monarch population saw an extraordinary rebound in 2021, according to overwintering count totals recently released by the Xerces Society. The 2021 Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count tallied 247,237 monarchs, a significant increase from the previous year’s count, which came in at just under 2,000. The 2021 count is the highest tally since 2016 and […]

Getting Started

Dormant Seeding: An Effective and Economical Approach to Establishing Pollinator Habitat

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Throughout the temperate world, Mother Nature’s knack for nurturing and sustaining the life cycle of plants is incomparable. Seasonally, wildflowers and other seed-producing plants mature and spread  their seed. At that point, in places that experience winter-like conditions and natural freeze and thaw cycles, the seed works its way into the soil. The spring thaw […]

Monarchs

Maintaining Pollinator Habitat is Just as Important as Planting It

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Farmers for Monarchs has detailed several resources for farmers and landowners looking to establish and maintain monarch and pollinator habitat on their lands—we’ve recently highlighted a new step-by-step guide to help producers plant for pollinators. But what about those landowners who have already established pollinator habitat? How should they evaluate and maintain habitat success? Ongoing […]

Monarchs

Research points to a changing climate, extreme weather events as contributing factors in monarch population decline

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In a recent article, scientists, many from Michigan State, established how monarch populations respond to temperature and moisture. The findings indicated that changes in the climate, particularly increasing temperatures, were likely to reduce monarch numbers (SciTechDaily). Clearly, we can add climate change as well as habitat loss to our concerns about the future of the […]

Monarchs

Mitigating Pesticide Exposure to Monarchs and their Habitat

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Pest management is a necessary part of agriculture. Farmers have to evaluate their situation and set a pest management strategy that best serves their operations. Usings integrated pest management (IPM), farmers  can manage insect pests, weeds, and diseases, and  support nearby conservation efforts for the monarch butterfly and bees s IPM can be used to […]

Monarchs

No Mow May: “Do Nothing,” Support Pollinators

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There’s a relatively new campaign catching on across the world urging home and landowners to skip their early season lawn care—at least during the month of May. The campaign is called No Mow May and it asks landowners to forego mowing their lawn during the entire month of May to let flowers in lawns bloom, […]

Monarchs

Responsible Stewardship Begins at Planting

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Sensible and responsible stewardship by growers during planting season should involve plans to protect monarchs, pollinators, and other beneficial insects that live near crop areas. This means safe and appropriate application of herbicides and insecticides to ensure harm to these insects and their habitat is minimized.  Seed treatments, such as neonicotinoids, have been used for […]

Field reports

Take it from a Farmer, Anyone Can Plant Pollinator Habitat

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The membership of the Monarch Collaborative includes organizations representing farmers, ranchers, and land owners; businesses working along the agricultural supply chain; researchers and academic institutions; federal and state entities; and conservation organizations. Wayne Fredericks is one such member. He is a corn and soybean farmer from Osage, Iowa who has served on the Iowa Soybean […]

Monarchs

“All hands on deck” in Face of Eastern Monarch Declines

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  In a recent report from the World Wildlife Fund Mexico, scientists noted a 26% decrease in monarch butterfly overwintering population numbers in southern overwintering sites. It is estimated that 6 hectares of hibernating monarchs are required to maintain a sustainable eastern monarch population. This report revealed that monarchs occupied only 2.10 hectares, compared to […]

Field reports

Alarming Western Monarch Population Count Calls for Magnified, Comprehensive Effort to Plant Pollinator Forage

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Fewer than 2,000 monarch butterflies were counted in California’s overwintering sites this year, a dire indication for the viability of the western migration. The annual Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count surveyed 246 sites with only 1,914 total monarchs counted. Western monarch populations saw previous all-time low counts in 2018 and 2019, with only 30,000 monarchs those […]

Field reports

Monarch Collaborative Member Activities

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The strength of the Monarch Collaborative comes not only with the initiatives we undertake together, but the collective of all of our members’ own monarch and pollinator initiatives. We’d like to take a moment to share some of the great monarch and pollinator work occurring from our members. American Soybean Association (ASA) ASA continues to […]

Monarchs

Understanding Farm Benefits of Planting Pollinator Forage

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Farmers can always appreciate when they find easy, low-cost solutions that garner multiple benefits. Farmers are faced with many challenges – in addition to the farm operations challenges they face, society also looks to farmers to be leaders in addressing many environmental resource concerns. As important stewards of the land, farmers can implement pollinator plantings […]

Field reports

Creating Pollinator Habitat on Non-cropland

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Whether you’re a farmer with an expansive operation, a homeowner looking to beautify a corner of your backyard, or someone looking to develop unused land near roadsides, creating pollinator habitat on non-cropland is a simple way to improve both pollinator and environmental health. Private and even commercial landowners across the country are taking the initiative […]

Monarchs

More than Milkweed: How Farmers Can Promote Native Wildflowers for All Pollinators

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Planting pollinator forage on non-farmed areas enhances the landscape, looks great and can even increase yield. Farmers and landowners have considerable capacity to increase pollinator habitat, not just milkweed for monarchs but other native wildflowers for all pollinators. That is why the Monarch Collaborative encourages farmers to engage in broad conservation practices that protect nectar […]

Monarchs

Responsible Pesticide Use Protects Crops, Pollinators and Applicators

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Farmers utilize stewardship practices for proper pesticide use while protecting crops from insect pests and mites and also protecting pollinators. The BeSure! campaign from Growing Matters, an initiative created  to support growers and applicators in protecting bees and other wildlife, provides numerous resources for good stewardship, including the Insect Pollinators and Pesticide Product Stewardship guide. […]

Monarchs

Steer Clear of Milkweed, Monarch Friendly Mowing

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Among the most simple and effective measures farmers and landowners can take to conserve monarch butterfly populations is to follow best practices for mowing. When establishing habitat, or conducting management activities to keep the site healthy, mowing can be an important tool. Once habitat is well-established, mowing or prescribe burning every 3-5 years promotes healthy […]

Uncategorized

Conservation Reserve Program Provides Unique Opportunity for Farmers Supporting Pollinator Habitat

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The February 28 deadline for open enrollment in the USDA Farm Service Agency Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is fast approaching in a year that will feature one of the largest program acreages ever offered to landowners in the United States. This post details specific ways farmers and landowners can enroll in certain programs that will […]

Monarchs

Urban Monarch Conservation Next Topic for Webinar Series

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Strengthening monarch conservation in urban areas will be the topic of discussion in the next installment of the Monarch Conservation Webinar Series, a project hosted by the Monarch Joint Venture and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that provides education on monarch biology, monitoring, and conservation. Details for the upcoming webinar, including how to register, […]

Field reports

HabiTally App Offers New, Interactive Opportunity to Assist Monarch Recovery

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Monarch butterflies face many challenges that have contributed to a significant decline in their population over the last two decades. More breeding habitat and food resources, including milkweed and nectar sources, across the migration route will help monarch populations recover. HabiTally is a new app hosted by Iowa State University (ISU) that enables farmers, ranchers, […]

Monarchs

Webinars Aim to Support Agricultural Landowners and Managers

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The Monarch Joint Venture has partnered with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to host a series of webinars on monarch biology, monitoring, and conservation. The most recent webinar was entitled the Trials and Triumphs of Establishing Pollinator Habitat, and featured the real-world experiences of farmers establishing habitat adjacent to their working land. Presenters of […]

Field reports

Pork producers collaborate with Iowa researchers to benefit monarchs

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Ben Crawford, environmental services director for Prestage Farms of Iowa, is featured in a new video (linked below) about Iowa pork producers’ cooperation with researchers to plant and survey monarch habitat plots on their land. Hog farmers are collaborating with Iowa State University to provide more habitat for monarch butterflies through on-farm research projects. Since […]