Corn and soybean growers' associations last week met with university researchers, government and non-government agencies to discuss collaborative efforts in accelerating Monarch butterfly recovery at the Keystone Monarch Collaborative meeting held in St. Paul, Minn.
The meeting focused on ways key stakeholders in monarch conservation, protection and recovery can collaborate.
During the meeting, participants shared information about existing efforts underway, including research and monitoring. After identifying areas for immediate engagement for those already taking active measures, the group explored the usefulness of a more comprehensive planning process.
Significant declines in the eastern migratory Monarch population are widely documented, the American Soybean Association said, and there’s growing consensus that greater and more accelerated recovery efforts are required across the flyway – especially the I-35 corridor – to ensure a sustainable monarch population.
Monarch caterpillars depend on milkweed as a food source, though the weed is typically a farmers' target.
The National Corn Growers attended the meeting along with ASA. NCGA Director of Public Policy Ethan Mathews said the group took part in the discussion to learn about the type of conservation efforts recommended for farmers to improve the health of monarch populations.
"While our proposed solutions to this issue may vary widely, we understand the importance of having a seat at the table and working on areas of mutual agreement to find the best outcome possible that takes farmers' concerns into consideration," Mathews said.
These discussions come on the heels of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services announcement it had opened a status review on monarch butterflies under the Endangered Species Act.
NCGA says the outcome of the ESA review could impact farmers' in-field activities. The group is working with government officials and groups to develop a solution based on science.
Other groups and companies are already focusing on monarch conservation efforts, with Monsanto earlier this month pledging $400,000 to support efforts that will benefit monarchs.