BIRDS, BEES, AND BUTTERFLIES
Why Pollinators Matter for Agriculture
Pollinators, including bees, birds, and butterflies, play a critical role in agriculture and food creation. By moving pollen from one flower to another, pollinators fertilize plants and allow them to reproduce and grow. More than 1,200 crops, including fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts, require pollination – and up to 30% of the food and beverages consumed by humans are made possible by pollination. Pollinators are responsible for many of our most-loved foods – including coffee, chocolate, and strawberries.
Many farmers maintain habitats on their farms to attract and support pollinator populations. One common plant used in these habitats is milkweed, which grows wild year round all across the U.S. Milkweed can be found everywhere from backyard gardens and open fields to alongside major highways and beside fences. During its flowering season, it grows beautiful red, blue, and purple flowers in almost perfect spheres. Milkweed is an important plant for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. It is also the primary plant that Monarch Butterflies use for a food source and breeding habitat.