Protecting Monarchs, Other Pollinators & Wildlife

ASA works with its industry partners to promote milkweed and other pollinator habitats through policy and public awareness, including ASA publications and social media.

 

In addition to supporting monarchs through national policy initiatives and communications channels, ASA has an advocacy team devoted to conservation efforts, and its board members are extremely active in their involvement and public outreach at the state and national levels.

  • ASA’s #Beans4Monarchs social media campaign highlights the importance of monarch habitat and soybean growers’ part in preservation, underscoring ASA’s collaboration with coalitions including Farmers for Monarchs and the Keystone Monarch Collaborative, and also the Monarch Joint Venture, and encouraging growers to plant habitats.
  • Seasonal social media contests on Facebook and Twitter encourage farmers, friends, and followers to upload photos demonstrating their efforts to protect pollinators, including pictures of monarch habitats, butterflies, and caterpillars.
  • These campaigns reach tens of thousands of people across the soy states.
  • ASA regularly provides links to resources to discover how to incorporate habitats on-farm and access industry partner tools and resources.
  • In its American Soybean magazine, ASA often encourages milkweed planting and highlights efforts and opportunities from industry partners and coalitions.

Soy farmers support the careful registration and use of pesticides, and they also take proactive steps to support and protect our pollinators.

Farmers can reduce risks to pollinators by following labels and using products responsibly, and they can also strengthen pollinator populations by reestablishing milkweed and other habitats along field boarders, road ditches and other non-crop areas. Soy growers can keep American agriculture productive while helping our pollinators and other wildlife thrive.

 

ASA amplifies to its members HabiTally, a habitat-tallying app created by The Climate Corporation in conjunction with Bayer Crop Science and then donated to Iowa State University to remain a transparent, public entity in support of monarch conservation. This iOS mobile application (app) with an Android version brings biodiversity and agriculture together, enabling farmers, ranchers, landowners, and private citizens to record their monarch habitat data (while protecting personal privacy), and share the information with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) to help with monarch recovery and other pollinator conservation initiatives.

Soybean farmers truly do care about the birds and the bees – and the fish! Examples from Iowa:

  • Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) has partnered with Syngenta, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, Iowa State University and other organizations to help Iowa farmers create more habitat for the once-abundant Topeka shiner minnow – an indicator species – and the rusty-patched bumble bee.
  • Iowa farmers are helping restore four oxbows, or small wetlands, along a larger watershed to provide essential habitat for Topeka shiners. Along with the minnows, the area has started to see more fish, wood ducks and geese in the oxbows.
  • The oxbow restorations are an approved practice for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, a science-based framework to reduce nutrient loads in Iowa waters and the Gulf of Mexico. Oxbow restorations are effective and relatively inexpensive. They remove little or no land from agricultural production and last for decades. Water quality improvements extend from the tiny fish to other living creatures, including people.
  • Recent studies show a 45% reduction in nitrate export of water entering oxbows from subsurface drainage tiles compared with water discharged directly to the adjacent stream.
  • Like Topeka shiners, rusty-patched bumble bees are a “canary-in-the-coal-mine” species. Their loss can indicate something else is wrong in the ecosystem.
  • ISA, Syngenta and Iowa Department of Natural Resources are helping by restoring pollinator habitat along timbered areas in eastern Iowa. They are following research-based protocols for success to restore the habitat for the rusty-patched bumble bee, starting with site preparation and selecting the right seed.
  • There are almost 4,000 species of wild bees in North America, so helping the rusty-patched bumble bee also helps other pollinators. Many of the pollinator plots are along bike trails or park space – not just farms – and provide habitat and human benefits!

Read more about soy farmers’ efforts to protect wildlife in our Progress in Soy States section.