Published Mar 2, 2021

Making Space for Beneficial Insects on Farms – 2021 Virtual Annual Conference

By Practical Farmers of Iowa


Only about 2% of insects are pests. The rest are beneficial insects that are critical for healthy farms and ecosystems by preying on crop pests, eating weed seeds, recycling nutrients, aerating and improving soils and supporting other wildlife in vast food webs. During this session, hear from PFI member and farmer Jake Kundert and biologists from the Xerces Society about creating native beneficial insect habitat like beetle banks.

  • Sarah Nizzi is a farm bill pollinator conservation planner and NRCS partner biologist with the Xerces Society. Sarah works across Iowa to offer technical assistance to landowners interested in pollinator habitat. She also provides pollinator-related training to NRCS staff and partners.
  • Sarah Foltz Jordan is a senior pollinator conservation specialist with the Xerces Society. Based in Minnesota, Sarah leads Xerces’ Upper Midwest native bee and monarch habitat restoration projects, working closely with farmers, agencies and partner organizations to promote pollinators on farms and in natural areas.
  • Jake Kundert is a farmer, PFI member and food systems director at Iowa Valley RC&D. He manages Grow: Johnson County, a 5-acre farm based in Iowa City, Iowa, that grows organic produce for hunger relief and farmer education. In 2019, Jake worked with the Xerces Society to establish 1,300 feet of beetle banks.