The Northeast Nebraska Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council’s “Bee Friendly” Field Tour was a success and those attending felt they received more good information than they thought possible at such an event.
Denny Wacker, host and organic farmer, shared his story of becoming organic and how he’d used available programs to help him establish lots of “edges” around his fields that help increase diversity of pollinator species and offer additional advantage to crops. He’s established 40 acres of wildflowers and grasses.
Brad Freeman, a Pierce beekeeper, told about the life cycle of the bees he keeps for making honey. In their lifetime, a bee brings in only 1/10 of a teaspoon of honey. Yellow, white and red clovers are the best crops for honey production in this area. All of his honey is processed in the fall. He then transports his bees to California to the almond fields for the winter.
Wayne Ohnesorg, Pierce Co. Extension Educator told the group that habitat loss is the biggest contributing reason for bee loss and colony collapse. Non-cropland areas are very important for bees. Most bees are solitary and live in nests. Bumble bees and honey bees are generalists and will use whatever flower fits their body shape. Many other bees, however, are specialized.
NRCS conservationist Joyce Reicks shared information about a variety of programs available to producers wishing to seed cropland to grass or to pollinator plantings. Cassidy Gerdes, Pheasants Forever and Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, provided information on seeding mixes of wildflowers and grasses specifically designed as pollinator habitat. She also identified the top twenty wildflowers that benefit butterflies. Other Game & Parks staff also helped participants identify insects, wildflowers and grasses prevalent in Wacker’s field.
The RC&D Council is a non-profit organization here to serve the needs and interests of the citizens of the area. For more information about RC&D projects or activities, see www.nenercd.org or call 402-582-4866.
The RC&D office is handicap accessible. This institution is an equal opportunity provider & employer.