Pork producers growing monarch butterfly habitat

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00:03 [Music]

00:13 I first heard about the project from my

00:15 sister, Tracy, who works at Iowa State and

00:17 somehow found out about all this and

00:19 she's like, well hey did you know Iowa

00:21 State was looking for volunteers to

00:2 starts project to be a part of the

00:26 project? So I said no I didn't but for

00:29 that's for Iowa State and it's for the

00:31 Iowa Pork Producers Association I'll

00:32 give her a go. As far as I'm concerned if

00:35 we can all have good conversations about

00:39 positive things, working together and

00:41 partnering on projects like this on a

00:44 small scale now, people like you and I

00:46 can go and do the footwork and broaden

00:49 everyone's horizons in the industry

00:50 about hey we can make this work. It's

00:53 just starting it as always the hardest

00:55 part and it's the most critical part so

00:57 if you can get something started right I

00:59 think that it can go far and be a

01:01 positive influence on a lot of different

01:03 people. You know, people that care about

01:04 the environment people, that want to

01:06 conserve energy, people that want to

01:07 produce pork, people that want to raise

01:09 corn. I think that as long as we can have

01:11 an open-ended conversation about

01:12 starting these projects together, not

01:15 necessarily forcing them on anyone and

01:17 then just having people like me and you

01:20 go around and kind of do the foot work

01:23 and you know it's really just a it's an

01:25 easy conversation to have but it's, it's

01:27 hard to ask the right questions and I

01:30 think as long as we're open-minded and

01:32 we're all working together then then we

01:34 can go from there and make something

01:36 like this possible on a larger scale, Oh, I

01:37 I wasn't skeptical skeptical about

01:41 much. They asked me why did we were

01:44 digging up the back yard and what was

01:46 going on back there and I was like, "Well,

01:47 it's a project for Iowa State and Iowa

01:49 Pork Producers Association and

01:51 then they all started making fun of me

01:53 when the grass or natural prairie

01:56 started to grow because it looked like a

01:58 weed patch and, ha, obviously as

02:02 farmers in Iowa we hate weeds. So, they

02:04 were just giving me heck about it and

02:05 but we're all over it now and now it's

02:07 kind of an inside joke about how the

02:09 butterflies are doing and everyone's

02:11 always asking about it. So everything

02:12 grew really fast and just kind of did

02:15 what Seth asked and it came

02:18 together and now I guess it's a really

02:20 great habitat for monarchs and other

02:22 species of butterflies.

02:24 I suggest that anybody tries anything

02:25 that Iowa State asks of them because, I

02:28 mean, we're here for them and they're

02:30 here for us, obviously, creating the

02:32 monarch habitat in our backyards to help

02:35 a hidden gem of Iowa that a lot of

02:37 America doesn't understand and doesn't

02:38 see, that's a good thing. This guy's got

02:41 like a third of this leaf eaten off over

02:43 here. Good, good. How much of that can he

02:46 eat you think? All of it.

02:49 Top to bottom, the whole plant?

02:51 Like, if he'd been on that

02:54 plant since he was born, like that's you

02:56 to eat most of the plant they eat a

02:58 ridiculous amount of biomass

03:01 They also poop a lot.

03:04 Interesting.

03:07 [Music]


Since 2015, farmers from the Iowa Pork Producers Association have collaborated with researchers from Iowa State University to plant and survey monarch habitat plots on their land. Tom Tiernan, Iowa pork producer, describes his three-year experience with the habitat project — and highlights the importance of diverse partnerships! Funding, wholly or in part, was provided by the National Pork Checkoff.