Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI) is partnering with Bayer to help chicken growers plant bee pollination plots on their farms, building on its long-running Vegetative Environmental Buffers program. DPI's effort is part of the Bayer Feed a Bee program's $500,000 initiative to plant bee-friendly areas in all 50 states by the end of 2018.
Bayer awarded DPI a $5,000 grant, naming it one of 22 recipients of grants awarded during the third selection cycle of this two-year initiative. Together with additional projects funded through the initiative - 93 in total - DPI-funded pollinator plots will help provide a tangible, sustainable solution to the current lack of plants for bees and other pollinators. DPI already has explored how-bee friendly flowering plants can be incorporated into vegetative environmental buffers - which capture dust and feathers, block noise, reduce odor, and improve water quality - around chicken houses. Bayer's grant will allow DPI to help farmers plant 5,000-square-foot plots with a mix of wildflowers and grasses. Farmers will be expected to maintain the plots for at least five years.
"Most farmers are environmentally friendly and try to do the right thing," said Jim Passwaters, DPI's Vegetative Environmental Buffers program coordinator. "They realize that by helping the pollinators, these plants will help with water quality; help capture dust and feathers around chicken houses; and help adjacent farms that rely on bees to pollinate their crops. Plus, they can mow that land once a year instead of every week or so."
"We are astounded by the terrific response we've received thus far from like-minded organizations desiring to join us in our efforts to support local pollinator populations," said Becky Langer, project manager for the Bayer North American Bee Care Program. "This 50-state planting initiative will help further the reach of our Feed a Bee program by extending support to exceptional groups nationwide that are working to provide forage for pollinators through innovative and purposeful solutions."
Bayer has committed to fund projects in all 50 U.S. states by the end of 2018. The organizations selected include community groups, universities, parks, wildlife refuges and more. Those interested in joining the Bayer Feed a Bee program in the quest to provide ample forage for pollinators can follow along on the progress or submit their own project for consideration via the request for proposals at FeedABee.com/Impact.