May 10, 2016

Ohio accepting applications for monarch project

COLUMBUS, Ohio (April 28, 2016) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new conservation effort to help agricultural producers provide food and habitat for monarch butterflies.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Ohio has $100,000 to help farmers and conservation partners purchase nectar-rich plants — like milkweed – to create monarch-friendly habitat along field borders, waterways and wetlands, and in pastures.  The funding and technical assistance to create the best habitat on a farm is part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Monarch populations have decreased significantly over the past two decades, in part because of the decrease in native plants like milkweed – the sole source of food for monarch caterpillars. These once-common butterflies are growing less familiar, and private lands will continue to play a crucial role in aiding the recovery of monarchs.

These conservation improvements not only benefit butterflies, they also strengthen agricultural operations, support other beneficial insects and wildlife, and improve other natural resources.  Appropriate buffer habitats and better pasture management practices reduce erosion, increase soil health, inhibit the expansion of invasive species, and provide food and habitat for insects and wildlife.

Individuals in Brown and Clermont Counties interested in applying for the Monarch Butterfly EQIP project should contact Lori Lenhart, NRCS district conservationist, at 513-732-2181 ext. 3 or at lori.lenhart@oh.usda.gov.

To receive consideration for funding this year, apply by May 20.

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