Learn about monarch butterfly research at Farm Progress Show

August 24, 2018

Join us at the 2018 Farm Progress Show and bring your questions about monarch and pollinator habitat! In a recent Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll, nearly half of Iowa farmers said that they are willing to plant monarch breeding habitat but are unsure how much land or money they would invest in the effort. Good monarch breeding habitat includes areas with milkweed for larvae and flowering plants that serve as energy sources for adults.

Research at Iowa State University, conducted as part of the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, is intended to provide information to help agriculture producers make decisions about this critical issue and encourage farmers to join the effort to reestablish milkweed and forbs that support monarchs during reproductive and late summer migrations across the state.  

“We aren’t looking at interrupting corn and soybean production, but exploring underutilized areas,” said Steven Bradbury, professor in natural resource ecology and management at Iowa State University. “By implementing conservation practices that can increase habitat in the rural landscape, we can grow corn, soybeans, pigs -- and monarchs -- all at the same time."

Learn more at Farm Progress Show Aug. 28 - 30
The Iowa’s Monarch Conservation Consortium, which includes the Iowa State researchers, will share information with Farm Progress Show attendees visiting the Iowa State University exhibit Aug. 28 – 30. Researchers and members of the consortium will be at the Boone, Iowa event to introduce visitors to monarch habitat plants and monarch life stages.

Join the monarch conservation effort
Bradbury says that through the collaboration and coordinated efforts of farmers, private citizens and the consortium’s 40+ member organizations, sound scientific and practical approaches that don’t conflict with agriculture production will become available in the near future. In the meantime he points out several things farmers can be do now to join the monarch conservation effort:

  • Take advantage of the Farm Bill programs to establish monarch breeding habitat.
  • Establish a monarch waystation – with host plants for larvae and plants that are energy sources for adults. 
  • Use habitat management practices to maintain existing habitat in odd areas, roadsides and other right-of-ways.
  • Follow federal pesticide labels and state regulations.
  • Volunteer to participate in habitat demonstration projects or citizen science monitoring.

For additional information, visit Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.