Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”
June 20-26 is National Pollinator Week, a time to recognize the bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators that play a critical role in producing much of the food we enjoy. They are involved in everything from fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, strawberries, apples and blueberries, to row crops such as soybeans, alfalfa, canola and peanuts.
Unfortunately, bees and other pollinators are in danger for a variety of reasons. According to the USDA, habitat loss, disease and environmental changes have contributed to their decline.
Commissioner Troxler says farmers and homeowners alike can make a difference. He encourages farmers to plant pollinator-friendly crops along fences and ditch banks to provide food supplies for these animals. Some farm-friendly cover crops are greens – such as turnips, mustard and kale – clover, canola and sunflower. He also encourages farmers to plant a small plot of pollinator-friendly plants. It’s a good idea to plant a mix that blooms at different times of the year. This has been done at the state’s 18 agricultural research stations and at several state forests.
Homeowners in the city can also make a difference for pollinators. Look for flower varieties that are native to North Carolina and have a mix of spring, summer and fall blooming times. This will ensure that bees can feast throughout the year.
For suggestions, talk to your local nurseryman or visit www.ncagr.gov/pollinators.
Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about National Pollinator Week.
[Audio:/wp-content/uploads/Troxler_6-21-16.mp3|titles=Today’s Topic for June 21]
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