Of Milkweed and Monarch Butterflies

Of Milkweed and Monarch Butterflies

monarch butterflies monarch butterflies

March 30, 2016 

NASHVILLE, Tenn (RFD-TV) Bean producers often spend their summer trying to eradicate milkweed from fields, but a new BASF program suggests that encouraging milkweed growth in some areas would actually be a good idea.

BASF Field Biology Representative Luke Bozeman explains: “We’ve been controlling milkweed in crops for a long time, and we’re not talking about how a grower should grow milkweed in his soybean fields. But milkweed is very good if it’s along roadsides, ditch banks, fence rows, and other non-crop areas that every farmstead has available to them. The reason it’s so important is that the monarch butterfly depends on milkweed to be able to reproduce and to rear its young. We have seen a general decline of monarch populations. Many factors can contribute to that, but one thing we think we can have a positive impact on is working with growers and giving them good practical advice on how to improve their bio-diversity, specifically by growing milkweed in some of their non-crop areas.”

When asked what the reaction from farmers has been to the proposed plan, which Bozeman was involved in promoting at this year’s Commodity Classic, Bozeman said, ”I was a little nervous, quite honestly,” he confessed. ”But I’ve been so pleasantly surprised that at least, I’d say, ninety percent of the growers I've spoken with are expecting to participate in something like this. Many already are. Many growers already see the benefit of maintaining certain areas that are attractive to butterflies and honey bees.”

To learn more about the Living Acres project and planting milkweed, visit:

The USDA is also encouraging folks to plant small window box gardens for the specific purpose of nurturing pollinators. To learn more about this program, visit: 

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