The United States Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is celebrating National Pollinator Week. Officially, National Pollinator Week is June 20-26, but NRCS encourages Mississippi farmers and forest land owners to always strive to ensure pollinators have sustainable habitats.
The world we know is shaped by pollinators that fill Mississippi with color and variety. Pollinators also make our lives more palatable by pollinating some of the foods we eat. Three-fourths of the world's flowering plants and more than one-third of our food depends on pollinators. More than 3,500 species of native bees help increase crop yields. Some scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of animal pollinators like bees, butterflies and moths, birds and bats, and beetles and other insects.
Unfortunately, many pollinator species are in trouble and face many challenges in the modern world, including habitat loss, disease, parasites and environmental contaminants. Conservation on any scale, can benefit the pollinators of our world.
NRCS is working to increase pollinator habitats throughout Mississippi by partnering with conservation organizations to work with farmers and forest land owners to integrate pollinator-friendly conservation practices on their lands.
"Pollinators play an important role in our natural ecosystem. As stewards of the land, we uphold a responsibility to implement sustainable conservation practices that will benefit our pollinators," stated Kurt Readus, NRCS Mississippi state conservationist.
Each of us depends on pollinators in a practical way to provide us with the wide range of foods we eat, fuel and medicine. More than 30 percent of our food production relies on pollination by insects, such as honey bees and native bees. Pollinators are part of the intricate web that supports the biological diversity in natural ecosystems that helps sustain our quality of life. Wildflowers, trees, shrubs and grasses are an integral part of the conservation practices landowners and farmers install as part of their conservation plan.