Pollinator habitats accepted

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Roane/Loudon County USDA Farm Service Agency is now accepting pollinator habitats as a Continuous Sign-up Conservation Reserve Program practice.

The voluntary program helps producers apply conservation practices to safeguard environmentally sensitive land.

Pollinator habitats support a variety of pollinator species, said Linda Tipton, acting director of the Roane/Loudon County FSA.

They are areas of permanent vegetation in an agricultural landscape: field edges, field middles, odd corners or any agricultural location that is suitable for establishing pollinator habitat.

In addition to agricultural crops such as fruits and many vegetables, these plants include seed-producing wildflowers, fruit-producing shrubs and nut-producing trees which provide a source of food for many wildlife species.

Studies indicate that birds, bees, bats and other pollinators are in significant decline across the country and around the world.

Nearly 80 percent of the crops grown in the world require pollination. In the United States, insects pollinate crops that produce $40 billion worth of products annually.

Participants of newly enrolled pollinator habitat practices are eligible to receive a $150 program sign-up incentive payment per acre. The one-time payment is issued to participants after the contract is approved.

Continuous program sign-up allows participants to submit offers for selected practices to enroll in the program at anytime instead of waiting for a general sign-up period. 

Participants and offered lands must meet certain eligibility requirements to be accepted into the program.  

Call the Roane/Loudon County FSA office at 376-2392 or visit www.fsa.usda.gov for more details.