BASF is looking for 1,000 farm families to plant milkweed habitats – prime layover sites for the iconic monarch butterfly along its migration path. It’s part of the company’s Monarch Challenge, a program that seeks to restore the monarch population by planting milkweed habitats in non-crop areas.
Milkweed is an important part of the monarch’s life cycle, as it is the only plant where adult monarchs will lay their eggs. The leaves of the milkweed serve as a main food source for monarch larvae. The Monarch Challenge shares best practices on milkweed development with farmers to help support the monarch butterfly.
“We’ve got the milkweed in a grassy area,” says Andy Herring, a North Carolina farmer, one of 500 farmers who signed onto the program in 2017. They received a combined 9,000 seedlings and kits to create their own milkweed plots.
“It’s out of the spray areas and away from the field and will be protected from any kind of inputs that would go into the farm,” adds the farmer. “It’s in a fertile area surrounded by grasses and other native plants. We noticed a few butterflies later in the season, which makes me think we’re doing something right.”
Take the challenge
BASF is partnering with farm families to establish milkweed habitats in non-crop areas,” explains Chip Shilling, BASF Sustainability Strategy Manager. “We hope programs like the Monarch Challenge can help restore and preserve the monarch population for future generations, while demonstrating how milkweed can thrive alongside modern agricultural practices.”
The company hopes to grow the program to 1,000 farm families in 2018. Now is the time sign on and receive milkweed seedlings to plant this spring. Sign up at the www.monarchchallenge.com.