Iowa Farmers Helping Monarch Butterflies Survive

Des Moines Register writer Donnelle Eller reported yesterday that, “Growing up in eastern Iowa, Rob Stout spent his summers pulling milkweed from his family’s soybean fields.

“Now he’s planting it, along with coneflowers, black-eyed Susans and other plants and flowers that support monarch butterflies, an insect that environmentalists say is nearing extinction.

“‘My father probably would be spinning in his grave,’ Stout said, knowing his son mows around milkweed, avoids spraying the plants and lets them go to seed.”

Ms. Eller noted that, “Stout and others hope the state’s plan to create up to 830,000 acres of habitat for the monarchs’ 3,000-mile migration swings through the state will be enough to rebuild the pollinators’ numbers.”

The Register article explained that, “Environmental groups have petitioned the federal government to place the iconic black and orange butterfly on the federal endangered species list.

“That could mean added regulations and restrictions for farmers, developers, landowners and others.”

Yesterday’s article added, “The state’s two-decade-long effort is part of a 16-state regional plan to develop up to 7 million acres of habitat for the monarch’s migration east of the Rockies.

“Iowa hopes to plant 188 million new stems of milkweed, part of the 1.6 billion stems needed in the Midwest.”

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