Pollinator habitat, bees
The $4 million financial commitment should help to plant over 100,000 acres of pollinator habitat.

WASHINGTON — A partnership among General Mills, Inc., the non-profit Xerces Society and the U.S. Department of Agriculture should help to plant over 100,000 acres of pollinator habit through 2021. Providing habitat has been shown to help such pollinators as bumble bees, squash bees, honey bees and butterflies as well as providing benefits to crops that need insect pollinators, according to the partnership.

The five-year, $4 million financial commitment between Minneapolis-based General Mills and the U.S.D.A.’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will support U.S. farmers by providing technical assistance to plant and protect pollinator habitat, including native wildflower field edges and flowering hedgerows.

Jerry Lynch, General Mills
Jerry Lynch, chief sustainability officer at General Mills

“Pollinators supply one-third of the food and beverages that Americans consume,” said Jerry Lynch, chief sustainability officer at General Mills. “As part of General Mills’ global commitment to treat the world with care, our investment will help pollinators to continue to play a key role in sustainable food production in the U.S.”

Bees are responsible for over $25 billion in agricultural production in North America each year, according to the partnership.

Jason Weller, U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service
Jason Weller, chief of the N.R.C.S.

“Two-thirds of the continental United States is privately owned, making the land management decisions of America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners essential to pollinator health,” said Jason Weller, chief of the N.R.C.S. “Agricultural producers can make relatively simple tweaks on working lands that benefit bees, butterflies and other pollinators while improving the operation as a whole.”

The partnership will support six biologists jointly managed by the N.R.C.S. and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a pollinator conservation organization. The biologists will be based in California, Nebraska, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Maine.

General Mills announced another pollinator conservation goal earlier this year, saying oat farms that supply oats for Honey Nut Cheerios will handle about 3,300 total acres of dedicated flower-rich pollinator habitat by the end of 2020.