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Resources for Working Lands

Yellow, orange, blue, and purple flowers bloom amid an almond orchard.
(Photo: Xerces Society / Jessa Kay Cruz)

Overview

Since 2005, the Xerces pollinator conservation team has worked to restore more than 1-million acres of wildflower-rich habitat on farms, ranches and other working lands. We provide direct technical support to farmers on how to design, enhance, and manage natural areas for wildlife. 

 

Through a formal partnership with the USDA-NRCS, our team of Farm Bill partner biologists provide direct assistance in accessing USDA technical and financial assistance for the implementation of conservation projects. 

 

Our private sector biologists work with food companies, processors and handlers, and individual farmers to carry out sustainability initiatives on farms -- including the deployment of flowering hedgerows, wildflower field borders, insectary cover crops, pesticide risk mitigation, and the use of conservation biological control for pest management. 

Our flagship eco-label program, Bee Better Certified can offer a unique and clear third-party verified certification standard for the farms that are working to benchmark their pollinator conservation systems and to publicly communicate that work through on-pack claims. 

 

The diversity and abundance of native bees on a farm, and subsequently their ability to serve as crop pollinators, are strongly influenced by two factors: suitable habitat on the farm and in the surrounding landscape, and pesticide use on the farm. The basic habitat needs of native pollinators in any location are the same – nesting or egg-laying sites, flowers on which to forage, secure overwintering sites, and a refuge from pesticides.  

 

The value of on-farm pollinator habitat is not limited to increased biodiversity and pollination services.  The presence of high-quality insect habitat on farms aids in addressing other common concerns such as soil health, nutrient management, water quality, farm aesthetics, farmer quality of life, and wildlife conservation more broadly.

Create, Restore, and Manage Habitat

Our science-based approaches to designing and installing features such as pollinator hedgerows and wildflower field borders have been adopted on more than 600,000 acres of agricultural lands. We continue to innovate and develop habitat restoration approaches and guidelines to help you maximize the value of native pollinators.

Managing Pests While Protecting Pollinators

Whether conventional or organic, all pesticides can pose a risk to pollinators if not used properly. Learn about the risks pesticides pose to pollinators, what measures can be used to reduce harm, and the many alternatives available to foster alternative methods of pest control.

Provide Access to Bee Nesting and Overwintering Sites

Like us, pollinators need a place to call home. Provide plants with pithy-stems for cavity-nesting bees, undisturbed ground and hedgerows that provide cover for soil-nesting bees, and incorporate butterfly host plants into habitat areas so butterflies have a place to lay their eggs. Nesting resources can take many forms - from natural to man-made.

Nesting & Overwintering Habitat For Pollinators & Other Beneficial Insects

Farming For Bees

Ecological Pest Management

Ecological pest management principles can reduce or eliminate pesticide use. Learn more about beneficial insects that attack crop pests, and how to manage farm habitat for them.

Cover Cropping For Pollinators and Beneficial Insects

Flowering cover crops provide valuable forage to wild bees and beneficial insects and provide additional services including erosion reduction, increased soil organic matter, weed suppression, and nutrient cycling. Cover crops can be planted in fields during winter or summer fallow periods, and can also be intercropped between crop rows.

Get Certified!

Bee Better Certification is designed for all types of operations, whether conventional or organic, large or small. Protecting pollinators not only provides a new marketing opportunity, but can also positively impact crop yields and produce quality, and is even beneficial to crops that are not pollinator dependent. Learn how to certify your farm and become part of the Bee Better Certified movement.

Resources

These high-level resourcesare  geared towards conservation planners and growers interested in implementing habitat restoration and pollinator conservation on working lands.

Please visit the Pollinator Conservation Resource Center for a full list of region-specific resources to aid in planning, establishing, restoring, and maintaining pollinator habitat—as well as materials to help you learn about the various invertebrates you might encounter.

Farming For Bees

Farming For Bees

Habitat Planning for Beneficial Insects

Habitat Planning for Beneficial Insects

Habitat Assessment Guides

Habitat Assessment Guides

Habitat Assessment Guides

Habitat Assessment Guides

Farming For Bees

Farming For Bees

Habitat Planning for Beneficial Insects

Habitat Planning for Beneficial Insects

Habitat Assessment Guides

Habitat Assessment Guides