Farm Food Facts

Ep29 Franklin Holley, Wayne Fredericks, Monarch Butterflies

June 18, 2019 Episode 29
Farm Food Facts
Ep29 Franklin Holley, Wayne Fredericks, Monarch Butterflies
Chapters
Farm Food Facts
Ep29 Franklin Holley, Wayne Fredericks, Monarch Butterflies
Jun 18, 2019 Episode 29
USFRA, Franklin Holley, Wayne Fredericks, Phil Lempert
Show Notes Transcript

Our thought leader for this week's "Farm, Food, Facts" podcast is Franklin Holley, Senior Policy Director at Keystone https://farmersformonarchs.org


The stories you need to know:
• Many foods will disappear if Honey Bees go extinct—here’s an unsettling glimpse at a future without avocados or coffee.
• Food Companies turn to Regenerative Agriculture to meet Sustainability Goals.
• Trash or Treasure? Upcycled Food Waste is worth $46.7 Billion.

This week's farmer is Wayne Fredericks, Pollinator Habitat Champion



Speaker 1:
0:01
Farm food facts where every farmer, every acre and every voice matter. Welcome to the farm food facts interactive podcast presented by the US farmers and ranchers alliance for Wednesday, June 19th, 2019 I'm your host, Phil Lempert. Monarch populations have declined over the past two decades. This is important as these beautiful butterflies contribute to the health of our planet. They have the responsibility to pollinate many types of wild flowers. To give you some idea of what has happened just in California, the monarch butterfly population has dropped to less than half of 1% of its historical size. The monarch collaborative works in partnership with the farming and ranching community
Speaker 2:
0:49
to support and enhance habitat for sustainable monarch population while maintaining thriving working lands. First up, we'll talk with Franklin Holly, senior policy director at the Keystone Policy Center. Then later on with Wayne Fredericks, who'll join us with his perspective as a farmer about the importance and his fears about the monarch butterfly. Franklin has over a decade of experience in sustainable agriculture, community development and conservation programming, leading diverse efforts and groups of people to better outcomes for our people. And our planet in both rural and urban settings. As a senior policy director at keystone, she works on multistakeholder food and AG initiatives focused on soil health, water quality and scarcity, wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and ensuring solutions to these challenges that work for agricultural producers, the supply chain and end users. She is leading the effort on the monarch collaborative. Franklin, welcome to form food facts to be here. So Franklin, tell me what exactly is the monarch collaborative and who are the stakeholders?
Speaker 3:
2:00
Great question. So the monarch collaborative is actually an initiative of the keystone policy center as you mentioned. And Keystone is the trusted nonprofit organization. We were founded in 1975 to drive actionable solution who? Contentious agriculture environment. Yeah. Energy Education and public health issues and the monarch collaborative right within our agriculture program and given them on our population declines over the past. Okay. A couple of decades. The monarch collaborative is working to identify how partnerships in the farming and ranching community can support and enhance habitat four trainable monarch butterfly population. The collaborative initially convened in 27. Yeah. Um, and it currently consistent
Speaker 2:
2:44
Oh,
Speaker 3:
2:45
national organizations that represent farmers and ranchers and landowners, businesses that work along the agricultural supply chain, researchers and Agra or academic ones, institutions, federal loans, entities as well as conservation organizations. The collaborative itself support productive agriculture and life SOC operations in concert with monarch conservation and in an increase in milkweed and nectar plants that is appropriately placed rural and agricultural areas can benefit monarch without inhibiting productivity. And so the collaborative is really committed to making progress voluntary, right. Who Door enhanced and protect monarch habitat while maintaining producers like that stability in their own right operation.
Speaker 2:
3:29
Let me ask you something here and obviously I'm coming from one point of view. How important with all the stakeholders that you mentioned is the role of the farmer in the collaborative and how do you use and build on their expertise, if at all?
Speaker 3:
3:45
Absolutely. Farmers and ranchers, it was as the land across much monarch habitat, they are really in a unique position to support sustainable monarch population. And so for that reason, farmers and ranchers are central for the mission of the monarch collaborative. Yeah, fully engaged in the collaborative. Yeah, true representation from the Americans, five year old federation, the National Association, Corn Growers, American sleepiness, the as well as the National Association, a wheat growers and we know that farmers, ranchers and landowners are already engaged in class innovation initiatives and those focused on water quality or erosion control. Wow. And Tony or habitat in these efforts demonstrate. Yeah. Okay. Can you bring innovation and correct. Can reduce environmental impacts. Okay. Can increase property activity and ultimately be compatible with on our conservation. Yeah. Effort. Really what it comes down to is reversing the trend in monitoring decline will require continued, coordinated and collaborative efforts and engaging in voluntary habitat. Conservation can be a win win for everybody involved and also help interpret that [inaudible] as well as resilient monarch. Okay. Relations.
Speaker 2:
4:58
Let me flip it around. What are the resources that you have that are available for farmers?
Speaker 3:
5:05
Our newest resource as something where we are really proud of and it is farmers from on her.org no spaces and farmers for monarch is the collaborative. Yeah. Yep. Resource that offers a one stop shop for farmers and ranchers. Where they can go easily identify and implement solutions on their land to achieve a sustainable monitoring butterfly population. So rather than having to go to several times, right, right. There's several times meetings, right place where a farmer landowner can get that started. MMM. It includes information on the current, yeah. Status of the [inaudible]. The most important resources that we have is a 12 directly of incentive and cost share programs, commercial feed providers, technical assists, and then more information about the region and for the states that are side of the Midwest, which is a 12. MMM. That, yeah, broken down. As far as resources go, we have national information and resources provided as well and all the information on farmers for monarchs as farmer friendly. It's in lay person terms and it's very accessible. And we also are always open for questions or comments or additional resources that we might need to add for farmers for honor.
Speaker 1:
6:19
Give us that website one more time.
Speaker 3:
6:21
Sure. That's www.farmersformonarch.org. I'm just going to mention another. Um, another effort that we've done on behalf of and with the farmer and rancher members that we have the collaborative and a and its members, the coordinated with the honey bee health coalition and assemble this set of recommendations that are geared towards enhancing Honeybee Monarch Butterfly and pollinator habitat and forage in Usda private land from probation program and we've shared those directly with departments and those include addressing barriers and disincentives to enrollment, increasing management options and especially flexibility to foster conservation in concert with driving farm and ranch operation.
Speaker 1:
7:04
Yes, Franklin, it looks like you've got it under control in the future of the monarch butterfly is going to be very positive based on what you're doing with the collaborative. So thank you so much for joining us today on farm food facts.
Speaker 3:
7:18
Absolutely. Thank you.
Speaker 1:
7:22
And now here's the news. Many foods will disappear if honeybees go extinct. Here's an unsettling glimpse at a future without Avocados or coffee, honeybee colonies are rapidly dying out and figuring out ways to save them. It's a huge challenge. In 2017 beekeepers in the u s reported losing approximately 40% of their hives. A disturbing trend that has been continuing and although honey bees are not yet on the verge of becoming extinct there, swift decline could have a severe implication for as humans. Honey bees are pollinators of about one third of the world's crops and they're indirectly essential to our diets. Scientists are still working to determine the exact cause of the honeybees demise, but it's likely results from a combination of pesticide exposure, disease, Karen parasites and changes to weather and habitat caused by climate change. The microbe company seed has set out to combat some of these threats who that disc SAPE probiotic called bio patties.
Speaker 1:
8:25
In an attempt to make honeybees more resilient against pesticides and disease. Bio Patty's has shown early signs of reducing the effect of neonic insecticides. Seed recently partnered with the culinary collective ghetto gastro to host a breakfast featuring foods that might disappear if honey bees went extinct. That event demonstrated just how much we rely on bees for our meals, and it also gave a devastating glimpse of what will happen if too many bees die out. For instance, there would be no almonds, Avocados, coffee, fruit or vegetables. However, efforts to reduce the world times could save us from a future without our most beloved and nutritious foods. What groceries need to know is that this shortage of bees means we've got a truck fees to various parts of the country's growing regions and crop yields are not as great as they should be, which may result in Shum shortages unless we can reverse the trend and increased the honeybee population.
Speaker 1:
9:25
Next, let's hear a bit about what big food is doing to help preserve our environment. Food companies turned to regenerative agriculture to meet sustainability goals. According to Nielsen, consumers are demanding sustainability. Now more than ever, and companies like general mills, Hormel, and Dinan are aiming to provide this with regenerative agriculture. These companies are committing to a transition to regenerative agriculture practices that will capture carbon on thousands of acres of land. They also plan to devote significant finances to increasing the movement. General Mills is pledging $650,000 to kiss the ground. A nonprofit organization advocating for environmental practices in an attempt to educate farmers on making the land more resilient to inclement conditions, increasing profits and lower in costs with soil health methods. That own has also allocated $6 million for regenerative agriculture and soil health research. Deanna broader senior director of public benefit and sustainable development at unknown North America says this movement around regenerative agriculture is one of the first big efforts to actually not just reduce the emissions were creating, but to draw down in missions that already exist. As a company focused on sustainability, we're now implementing solutions to really transform the trajectory that we're on when it comes to climate change. What grocers need to know is that as time to do your fair share and help promote these brands to your shoppers and tell them how these companies are part of the solution, not the problem, and now it's time to hit to the farm. Wayne Frederick City. This has
Speaker 2:
11:09
been on the American Soybean Association board of directors since 2015 in that capacity he represents asa on the monarch collaborative. He served on the Iowa Soybean Association board since 2008 and he'll positions as secretary, treasurer and president. He and his wife Ruth have farmed in Mitchell county just southwest of Osage since the mid 1970s they raise soy beans and corn and a 50 50 rotation and have been long time users of no till and strip till. Their passion is conservation and working to build a healthy, productive soil. The Frederick's have spent many years working on trials with the Isa on farm network and with Isa environmental programs and to implement positive environmental practices on their farm. To them, it's about finding what productive, profitable, sustainable crop production practices work while keeping soil water and air quality at the forefront. It is that balance that will help improve their competitiveness as Iowa producers farming near Osage in northwest Iowa this year marks the 45th crop that Wayne Frederick's has planted on the 750 acres that he farms.
Speaker 2:
12:22
While he's hopeful for great soybean and corn crops. He is especially proud of the seven acres of pollinator habitat that are sprinkled around his Mitchell county farm operation. The first five were planted in 2014 after he heard a presentation at an Iowa Soybean Association meeting before he became involved in the national effort to conserve the monarch butterfly. The presenter encouraged us to overlay yield data and profitability on our land. He said, which proved that some land would be more profitable in CRP than crops. He immediately found five areas where it would be a better fit than crops for the pollinator habitat. According to the national fish and Wildlife Foundation, over the past 20 years, the monarch population has fallen by over 80%, mostly due to the loss of critical breeding habitat. Iowa is in the middle of the breeding range and one of the areas with the largest losses of habitat.
Speaker 2:
13:21
Wayne, why is pollinator and monarch habitat so important to you? Well as you indicated in minor duction economic issues, uh, first brought me to look at it is we, we done an economic analysis of our, of our farmland using digital data. We saw an opportunity to improve your bottom line. And that's what first drove us toward that. But that was in 2014 and if we also look back at 2014 when the monarch population reached in historic low and it's over wintering measurement, Mexico and the Obama administration at that time kind of put forth and all hands on deck effort to, to put habitat on CRP acres. So we had kind of two things, Virginia at one time, like I see an economic need that would benefit me as a farmer, but I was just beginning to learn and understand the plight of the monarch butterfly myself just in looking through the process.
Speaker 2:
14:23
And so it kind of became important for more than one reason. And as that was we could improve our bottom line, we could achieve multiple benefits with the habitat, including water quality and accessibility and, and soil health and so forth. But we also felt that it was the right thing to do because we had a species that was in need of habitat. And, uh, and so we became more involved with that. And there's, I got involved with the monarch collaborative few asa. I learned a whole much more about that, the dire need that the species was facing. So it became a personal, personal effort of mine to, to increase habitat on my acres as well as bring the message to other farmers. So explain to me if you would, the tools and the programs and the information that you use to establish and maintain this healthy habitat.
Speaker 2:
15:20
Well, my number one person in my back pocket is my local pheasants forever biologist. This, this gentleman has worked with a, uh, NRCS and has been a main tool and helping farmers establish pollinator habitat. He understands the federal programs better than even most of our local NRCS offices do. He understands the, the biology of the species, you understands the agronomy of the habitat. And he just been a tremendous tool to help me, uh, you know, decide what species to plant. He drew up my plans, uh, through the NRCS office. He also was, you know, he's, I've got him on speed dial. Basically if I get any questions that, that I have regarding maintenance or weeds or, or, or, or burning programs and so forth, he's the first person I reach out to. And, uh, just been a tremendous asset. And then, you know, when I got involved with the monarch collaborative, you know, I run into a network of other professionals that, uh, I've been able to network with that, uh, you know, bring other perspectives, other ideas or thoughts and, and that's been real valuable to me as well.
Speaker 2:
16:40
So that's kind of been, you know, my source of information and has been real beneficial to me. Why is the work that the monarch collaborative is doing so critical for forming? Well, I think it's an awareness. Uh, farmers are unfortunately not as aware of this neat is we would hope they would be. And then the collaborative being a group of, you know, ag organizations, agribusinesses Angios and government agencies. Education. Lave is seas, it's a broad spectrum in the AG landscape or groups. And it's truly this broad spectrum that we hope to our various, through our various channels and connections to bring the message, uh, to the farmer of the need to reestablish habitat on the landscape and, and how critical and important this is. Yeah. And how it should be one of their number one things that they should be concerned about the present time, at a time of low commodity prices in a very wet season.
Speaker 2:
17:44
Wayne, what messages do you have for farmers who are struggling to make ends meet? Well, everything costs money. You know, as I mentioned before, I saw an economic advantage of going to the, the CRP program and uh, you know, I lobbied heavily in this last farm bill to see more CRP acres brought into, uh, the future of the farm program. And we got some, we've got some more acres to work with. They're in the process of writing the rules right now and hopefully some of those are going to be designated for pollinator habitat. So that opens that option up. It's a cost effective option for farmers, but today's planting time in Iowa and there's a lot of simple things that we're doing here to, to benefit habitat. Number one. Most of us are running, you know, a vacuum planners or planners and we use a seed lubricant, you know, to make that seed flow better in the planners and in the past that's been commonly tell or help graphic combinations.
Speaker 2:
18:48
And there's been some concern that some of the insecticide comes off with the seed and, and goes out in the air and these and these air planners through that talc and dust. I found a couple products that I've been using the last couple of years. Uh, one of them is bears fluency agent. Uh, it's kind of a waxy type product that it provides me the, the, the proper mechanics to work in the planner well, but has very low to no dust. A new one that just came out that I'm trying this year is called dust and it's actually made from soybeans. Uh, so I'm really excited about that, especially since it's a product that farmers raised and, and can use. And it too has a very low dust off effect. So, uh, that that helps, you know, keep the neo Nica site and of out of the environment is what's been one of the concerns.
Speaker 2:
19:44
Next half we get corn planted, a lot of us will jump on our four wheelers and we'll, and we'll start spraying our field borders and road ditches for undesirable weeds. You know, this is one thing that I've advocated especially on, uh, Facebook and Twitter the past two or three years is that, you know, we don't have to blanket spray these non crop acres. If we go in and spot spray just to the hazardous weeds, undesirable leaves and we leave the milkweed alone, they flourish. They, they take off and become real abundant and provide natural habitat without having to pay for any seeding cost or so forth. That's what the monarchs desire and need. And so bad is, is more milkweed species. And so, uh, and I've had a lot of producers contact me on Twitter and say, yeah, I saw your tweet and we'd done the same thing.
Speaker 2:
20:35
So we're trying to get the message across that, you know, spot spray, let's not broadcast spray over thing and, and try to, uh, to, uh, gain habitat in that way. And then the next step is mowing. I really sit down and say, is mowing really needed everywhere. Uh, our daughter and son in law, they live in Illinois now and let, we traveled down there, um, as farm family farms and we get out in the country side and they got the most beautifully groomed and mode roadways you ever saw. And you know, when you, you realize that a beautifully mode stretch your road is the desert to a monarch butterflies. There's no place, there's no food and there's no place to lay eggs and, and it costs money and time and effort to mow that those away. So, you know, it's something we can do for free and actually, you know, increase our bottom line, save time and labor and we will see a lot of habitat come back. So yes, there's, you know, even now and, uh, the prices are such, there are things we can do to improve habitat on the landscape.
Speaker 1:
21:46
Well, Wayne, thanks for all the work you're doing. It sounds fabulous. And thank you for joining us today on farm food facts.
Speaker 2:
21:52
Well I appreciate it Phil and uh,
Speaker 1:
21:55
I am always here to get the message out and uh, I wanted by us all our listeners to whenever they get the chance go visit the farmers for monarch website. We spent in extremely a large amount of time building that website and we want that to be the foremost place to go for any information needed for monarchs and habitat on both the state and national basis. It's an outstanding website and encourage farmers and listeners to go there and we will put a link up to that site as well. Thanks. They'll appreciate it. And thank you for joining us right here on farm food facts. For more information on all things, food and agriculture, and to listen to our archives, please visit food dialogues.com under the programs in media tab until next week.
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