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USDA offering assistance to develop monarch habitat on Iowa farms

May 14, 2017
Reinbeck Courier

Iowa agricultural producers interested in developing more habitat for Monarch butterflies by adding additional soil and water conservation practices to their land have until May 19 to sign up at their local USDA Service Center for planning and funding assistance.

A sampling of eligible conservation practices through USDA's Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project includes: brush management, conservation cover, field borders and upland wildlife habitat management. Your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office can help you develop a plan to address Monarch habitat or other resource concerns, as well as financial assistance opportunities.

With the declining number of Monarch butterflies migrating north through the central United States, USDA is offering this incentive program to Iowa farmers to help increase Monarch breeding habitat.

Iowa is one of 10 states along the Monarch's core migration route and primary breeding range. USDA's Monarch project is focusing on plantings of milkweed and Monarch nectaring forbs in wetlands and other marginal lands.

"We aren't asking Iowa farmers to take land out of crop production," said State Biologist James Cronin, with NRCS in Des Moines. "We want rural landowners to consider odd areas or unproductive areas big or small that would make a difference to the population."

USDA is a partner in the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, which includes conservation organizations, state agencies, companies and Iowa State University, who are working together to research options to establish and maintain Monarch breeding habitat best suited for different types of land use scenarios in the state.

For more information, visit the Iowa NRCS website at



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