Farmers invited to workshop on adding pollinator habitat – Aug. 20, Tripoli

For Release: August 9, 2016

Contacts:

Lauren Zastrow | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]

TRIPOLI, Iowa — Practical Farmers of Iowa is hosting an in-depth workshop for farmers and landowners on ways to enhance pollinator habitat on their land on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Tripoli. The event will include classroom and field segments where participants will learn about pollinator biology, the links between their farm landscape and pollinators, identifying bees in the field, assessing pollinator habitat, land management practices that can help protect pollinators – and more.

The morning portion will take place at the Bremer County extension building (720 7th Ave. SW, on the southwest side of town), and will be taught by Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Specialist Sarah Foltz Jordan. The afternoon segment will take place at two area farms – Genuine Faux Farm, operated by Rob and Tammy Faux, and the farm of Steve Schmidt – where attendees will get to practice insect and habitat identification, as well as participate in the pollinator conservation planning process.

The workshop – “Enhancing Pollinator Habitat” – is free for Practical Farmers members, or $40 for non-members. Registration is required, as workshop space is limited to 40 participants. Please contact Lauren Zastrow, (515) 232-5661 or [email protected], by Monday, Aug. 15. A light breakfast, coffee and lunch will be provided. After lunch, the group will caravan to the farms for the afternoon segment.

All registrants will receive Xerces Society’s pollinator conservation toolkit, which includes Xerces’ books, “Farming for Bees” and “Farming with Native Beneficial Insects.”

In Iowa, and nationally, honeybee and wild bee populations have significantly declined. Protecting these insects, which pollinate many of the fruits and vegetables humans eat, as well as some crops, is critical – and farmers and landowners can make a big impact, Sarah says. She says pollinator habitat plantings – including cover crops on row crop acres – can have an outsize effect on pollinators, while offering a range of benefits to farmers.

“Adding pollinator habitats – like native wildflower plantings or annual cover cropping – can help filter water coming off farms, prevent soil erosion and support other wildlife like birds,” she says. “These practices work really well for farmers who use conservation practices. Some habitats can also be grown for edible and medicinal purposes, like elderberries and juneberries.”

The workshop will cover both introductory and advanced topics. Introductory topics will explore the principles of pollinator biology, the economics of insect pollination, basic bee field identification and evaluating pollinator habitat. Advanced topics will cover land management practices for pollinator protection; pollinator habitat restoration; site preparation options; selection of plants for pollinator enhancement sites; and financial and technical resources to support these efforts.

Throughout the workshop, these training modules will be illustrated by case studies of pollinator conservation efforts on farms across the Midwest.

Directions: The Bremer County extension building is located on the southwest side of Tripoli. Drive west by the high school and middle school; the extension building is past the intersection of 7th Avenue and IA Hwy 93. Directions to the farms will be provided at the workshop.

Rob and Tammy Faux own and operate Genuine Faux Farm, where they raise vegetables, chickens, turkeys and ducks for local consumers. Steve Schmidt raises hay and non-GMO corn and soybeans.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2016 field day season features 25 events around Iowa. All field days occur rain or shine, and feature farmer-led discussions and farm or field tours. Details are in Practical Farmers’ “2016 Field Day Guide,” available at practicalfarmers.org, or for free in print.

Practical Farmers’ 2016 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Organic & Natural Meats; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); Iowa Cover Crop; Iowa Environmental Council; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; ISU Extension and Outreach; ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); MOSA Organic Certification; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Defense Council; North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; RIMOL Greenhouse Systems; Riverside Feeds, LLC; Soil First; The Yield Lab; Trees Forever; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; Welter Seed & Honey Co.; and Willcross Soybeans.

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Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit http://practicalfarmers.org.