Pollinator conservation strategies for organic seed producers

photo of bee pollinatingThis award will help organic seed producers increase their yields, reduce the risk of having their crops contaminated with pollen from non-organic and GMO varieties, and improve biodiversity on their farms. Growers who raise organic seed crops that are pollinated by bees, such as alfalfa, canola, cotton and beets, have increasingly had their plants contaminated with pollen from non-organic and GMO varieties. To combat that problem, researchers will develop training materials regarding the wide range of native bees that are drawn to specific crops and the best ways to conserve those valuable pollinators. In addition to preventing contamination, specialist native bees have been documented to significantly increase seed producers that will be held at three or more organic conferences. In addition, those course materials developed under this grant will be used during one-on-one training with growers in years to come.