Potato Farms Partner with Conservation Group to Plant Pollinator Habitat
Insect pollinators will soon find more homes on potato and vegetable farms.
About 20 acres of habitat for insect pollinators will be established in central and southwest Wisconsin this fall, thanks to a cost-matching agreement between four large potato farms and Sand County Foundation, a conservation organization working with agricultural landowners.
“These seedings of diverse perennial vegetation will enhance pollinator populations in rural areas, while demonstrating the compatibility of high-quality habitat alongside crop production,” said Craig Ficenec, Sand County Foundation Program Director.
“We applaud the voluntary conservation efforts these growers are making to restore soil health, groundwater recharge and prairie habitat. We are excited to create more pollinator habitat by providing half of the funds to seed over 40 species of native grass and wildflower species on five acres at each farm,” Ficenec added.
The participating farms are: Alsum Produce Farm of Spring Green, Coloma Farms of Coloma, Isherwood Family Farms of Plover, and Wysocki Produce Farm of Plainfield. Each farm is a member of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association’s Healthy Grown program.
Healthy Grown is a certification system which promotes high-bar production practices and encourages more biodiversity on non-cropped areas on privately-owned farms.
“The pollinator planting program fits Healthy Grown by working to enhance or restore native landscapes,” said Deana Knuteson, WPVGA’s Healthy Grown Program Coordinator.
Sand County Foundation is a national non-profit based in Madison that inspires and enables a growing number of private landowners to ethically manage natural resources in their care.
A grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will help cover costs for the project.