Pollinators, the busy bees behind the scenes, are essential for Illinois agriculture and play an integral role in our food supply chain.

Illinois farmers take simple steps to create and maintain vital habitats for pollinators. One example is altering mowing practices to best protect pollinators.

A coalition of scientists and eleven organizations and agencies in Illinois have developed a mowing resource to help Illinois residents and land managers provide food for pollinators, who in turn do the same for us.

Illinois Farm Bureau and county Farm Bureaus also work together to support a variety of pollinator conservation and education and outreach efforts taking place statewide.

A recent collaboration with the Cook County Farm Bureau is one example of how county Farm Bureaus are working with a variety of stakeholders, including urban groups, to get pollinator habitat on the ground and educate the public.

“Through our Cookfresh Urban Garden Grant Program we are able to connect with and support urban gardens and local member businesses,” said Bona Heinsohn, director of governmental affairs and public relations for the Cook County Farm Bureau. “We’ve recently extended the support offered through the urban garden grant to include the creation and maintenance of pollinator gardens in an effort to increase the public’s awareness of pollinators.”

In June 2021, a variety of Cook County stakeholders shared their testimonies about supporting pollinator habitat and conservation.

Cook County Farm Bureau is also in the process of installing a pollinator garden at the Farm Bureau building. The 540-square-foot garden will serve not only as an avenue to preserve pollinator landscapes but also an opportunity to educate the urban community about the importance of pollinators, noted Heinsohn.

Visit www.ilfb.org/pollinators and www.cookcfb.org to learn more about statewide and regional pollinator conservation efforts.