This news is about a month old, but it just came across our radar this week and we thought it worth sharing: The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced $10 million dollars worth of grants intended to support research to help sustain healthy populations of pollinators.
Why is this important? Well, from the USDA’s press release:
“One-third of all U.S. crop production requires pollination by animals—primarily honey bees, but also wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, beetles and bats,” said Acting NIFA Director Tom Shanower. “Recent declines in both managed and wild pollinators are of paramount importance to our nation’s food security and the vitality of natural resources.”
When we hear the term “pollinators,” we tend to think of bees and their declining population numbers (which, encouragingly, appears to not be as bad as it once was). But, as Shanower points out, it’s important to remember that other insects, and even mammals like bats, act as pollinators, and they’re a crucial part of our food ecosystem.