Farmers, Ranchers and All Things Agricultural

Farmers and Their Stories

There are hundreds of farmers and ranchers across North America who are supporting pollinators on and for their lands, and each has their own story. Each farmer's story provides insight on what has been successful and what lessons were learned on farms small and large. Farmers and Their Stories is a project of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) Agricultural Task Force to collect profiles of some of these farmers with the goal of sharing information and encouragement among farmers.  

Bob Russell and his wife Barbara rely on wild native pollinators on their vegetable and herb farm in Sussex County, Delaware. 

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Al Courchesne actively boosts pollinator services from honey and native bees on his 145 acre organic fruit farm in Brentwood, Contra Costa County, California. 

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Peter Berthelson understakes pollinator friendly rangeland methods on his farm in the Loess Hills of Howard County, Nebraska.

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Farmer and Rancher Resources

1) ABOUT POLLINATORS

Links to general information about pollinators provided by various organizations and government agencies.

2) POLLINATOR FRIENDLY PRACTICES

Information about practices that support pollinators.

Websites providing general information and resources for pollinator support

Guidebooks with more in depth information (most links go to PDFs)

Information about specific practices (listed in alphabetical order)

Beekeeping (Also check local resource listings)

Orchard management

Native planting guides

Pesticides

Prescribed fire

Urban gardening

3) LOCAL RESOURCES 

Links specific to a certain geographic area.

United States (listed alphabetically by state)

Entire U.S.

Delaware 

Michigan

Nebraska

Canada (listed alphabetically by province)

All of Canada

Alberta

British Columbia

Manitoba

New Brunswick

Nova Scotia

Ontario

Quebec

Saskatchewan

4) FARMER TO FARMER RESOURCES 

From farmers, for farmers. Farmer profiles.

5) RESEARCH ON POLLINATORS 

What does current science tell us about farming for pollinators?

Awards

NAPPC Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award, initiated in 2006, recognizes an individual or family in the farm and ranch community in the U.S. who has contributed significantly to pollinator species protection and conservation on working and wild lands. NAPPC and NACD encourage further pollinator conservation stewardship through their recognition of the award winners. The multi-colored, cut-glass award features a hummingbird, bees and a butterfly and was designed by artist James Randolph, whose previous work includes the Air and Space Museum’s Challenger Tribute. 

The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) represents America’s 3,000 conservation districts, which are local units of government established under state law to carry out natural resource management programs at the local level. Districts work with millions of cooperating landowners and operators to help them manage and protect land and water resources on all private lands and many public lands in the United States. More information about NACD is available at http://www.nacdnet.org/.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and Pollinator Partnership (P2) [support the] Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award. This award recognizes an individual or family in the farm and ranch community in Canada who has contributed significantly to pollinator species protection and conservation on working and wild lands. CFA and P2, through their recognition and appreciation of these individuals and organizations, encourage their conservation stewardship and hope to catalyze future actions on behalf of pollinators through public recognition of the award winner. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is the nonprofit organization that was formed in 1935 to act as the national voice of Canadian farmers. It is the country's largest farmers' organization, representing provincial general farm organizations as well as national and interprovincial commodity organizations from every province - over 200,000 Canadian farmers and farm families. The CFA's mission is to promote the interests of Canadian agriculture and agri- food producers, including farm families, through leadership at the national level and to ensure the continued development of a viable and vibrant agriculture and agri-food industry in Canada. One of its objectives is to promote and advance acceptance of positive social, economic and environmental conditions of those engaged in agricultural pursuits; pollination is an area that has a direct impact on all three conditions, and is becoming increasingly important for farmers to recognize and promote on their farms.  

2012 NAPPC Canadian Federation of Agriculture
Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Advocate
Don Ruzicka
Farmer

The Ruzicka’s have been practicing sustainable farming since the mid 90’s, long before organic agriculture and ecologically functional farmscapes were popularized. Pollinators became a solid part of their conservation focus when cases of CCD started appearing south of the boarder in the United Sates and they became aware of the critical roles that pollinators play in agricultural systems. This plugged Don and Marie into the connection that all members of the agricultural community have with pollinators.

Click here to read more about him and the press release.

2012 NAPPC Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Advocate Mark Wagonor Farmer Mark Wagoner is a fourth generation farmer whose crops include alfalfa and the native solitary alkali bee, Nomia melanderi. Mark practices a unique style of holistic farming where care for the land brings in native pollinators to native crops. Sticking to his roots and making innovation out of tradition has made Wagoner Touchet Farms a place where native bees and production agriculture coexist. Click here to read more about him and the press release.

2011 NACD-NAPPC
Farmer-Rancher 
Pollinator Conservation Award
Pete and Laura Berthelsen

Peter and Laura Berthelsen have taken steps to help pollinators on their land in Elba, Nebraska, creating not only habitat but also an outdoor education classroom where people from across the state can see firsthand just how important pollinator habitat is. As a result, many other landowners have begun planting pollinator habitat on their own property. Peter also helped secure many of the pollinator planting guidelines present in new Conservation Reserve Program across the United States, doing significant work in Washington DC to ensure that polliatnors remain a key concern for conservation programming. To this end Peter has served as a speaker at meetings across the country to help educate stakeholders and decision-makers about the importance of pollinators and pollinator habitat, working to help them use and implement Farm Bill provisions to better the landscape for pollinators.

Click here for press release 

2010 NACD-NAPPC Farmer-Rancher 
Pollinator Conservation Award
Paul Kaiser, Singing Frogs Farm

Paul Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farms in Sebastopol, California is the 2010 recipient of the NACD-NAPPC Farmer Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award, sponsored by North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) and the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD). The award was given as part of an international effort to promote public awareness about pollinators – birds, bees, bats, butterflies, beetles, and other animals that enable the reproduction of over 75 percent of flowering plants, accounting for as much as one-third of the nation’s food supply. 

Press Release for Paul Kaiser

2009 NACD-NAPPC
Farmer-Rancher 
Pollinator Conservation Award
James Anthony “Tony” Thompson, Willow Lake Farm

Tony Thompson is a tireless and passionate advocate for sustainable agriculture, who is continuously seeking innovative methods to protect and restore native biodiversity on his farm while also earning a living from farming at the lowestcost to the land. The Thompson farm isa model for how productive agriculture can operate in an environmentally sustainable - pollinator friendly - fashion. His openness to the natural resource conservation community provides an opportunity for positive dialogue between producers and conservationists. His leadership, example, compassion for farmer neighbors and friends, and outreach to thebroader agricultural community lend credibility to conservation on privateworking lands. 
Tony is a fifth generation farmer, producing primarily corn and soybeans on fertile land in southwestern Minnesota that has been owned by his family since 1876. The family farm is composed of 2000 acres of cropland and nearly 1400 acres of remnant prairie and wetlands.Wetlands and waterways are buffered with up to 600-ft wide bands of diverse, native grasses and forbs. Tony farms or otherwise manages in partnership an additional 1700 acres of cropland. The Thompson farm is situated in the Northern Tallgrass Prairie Region, where <1% of native habitats remain and restoration indigenous plant and animal communities is a regionaland national priority http://www.fws.gov/midwest/planning/northerntallgrass/.
To learn more about Tony Thompson, his Willow Lake Farm and see more images, click here 2009 Farmer Rancher Winner Tony Thompson

2008 Winner
Chuck Hurd, Lister Acres

2007 Winner
Mike Omeg, Omeg Orchards

2006 Winner
John Keeley

Farm Bill and CIG

Final 2014 Farm Bill Pollinator Provisions 

Read the Pollinator Week Press Release - Pollinator-Beneficial Farm Bill Amendment Adopted by House During Pollinator Week Would Help Ensure Viability of Honey Bees, Native Pollinators and Other Beneficial Insects

USDA Montana Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG)

The Pollinator Partnership has been awarded a USDA Montana Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). The purpose of this project is to assess pollinator friendly plantings on Montana rangelands and farms for their impact on pollinator populating, to measure the success of educational outreach materials, and to increase best practices in Montana.  To learn more, go here http://pollinator.org/montana.cig.htm