BASF kicks off the 2019 #MonarchChallenge for farmers and farm families. As we start the 2019 year, farmers from around the country are encouraged to take part in the fourth year of the challenge.
The Living Acres #MonarchChallenge was introduced in an effort to preserve biodiversity and restore the declining monarch population. With the help of the challenge and a decent weather pattern for 2018, the monarch population is on a rebound.
With a successful 2018 challenge, experts say monarch population numbers in Mexico’s wintering grounds have increased by 144%. This year the population count, which is calculated by the amount of surface area they cover, is up from the 6.12 acres of last year. A report that came out early February says the butterflies are occupying 14.95 acres in the Mexican mountains this year.
More than 2,600 people across the nation contributed to the #MonarchChallenge last year by planting over 35,000 stems of milkweed. With an increase in numbers, the 2019 challenge continues to encourage farmers to get involved as the pollinators are an essential part of agriculture.
Farmers can help increase biodiversity and increase the population of the pollinators by planting milkweed on their land but also learning how to protect their habitats throughout the year. The pollinators are essential to crop productivity and require minimal effort. Farmers should plant milkweeds in areas on their farm where it would least impact their farming operation such as in corners of fields and ditches.
Milkweed is critical to the monarch’s life cycle, as it is the only host plant on which monarchs will lay their eggs and is the only source of food for their larvae. As part of the challenge, BASF is giving away milkweed plant to farmers interesting in contributing to the challenge. You can sign up at MonarchChallenge.com to receive free milkweed plants in the spring.