Attendees at this year’s Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa are being greeting at the front gate by the BASF Living Acres Butterfly Garden, a new plot just planted this year with some milkweed to provide habitat for Monarch butterflies.
“What they are seeing is a fairly young planting of a diverse set of plants to help demonstrate how a farmer might approach waste or non-crop areas to encourage greater biodiversity on farm,” said Luke Bozeman, BASF Director for R&D North America, who was pleased to already see Monarch larvae in the garden. “That’s very encouraging.”
In this interview, Luke talks about BASF’s commitment to helping farmers learn how to develop and maintain habitat for the butterflies. Interview with Luke Bozeman, BASF
BASF has established two Midwest research sites for Monarch butterfly studies just this year, one in Illinois and one in Iowa. “This is our first year with the Living Acres project at the Illinois research farm,” says Katie Demers, tech service PDP at the farm. “We have two different trials going on – one looking at establishing milkweed transplants and root samples into an already established grass area, as well as a clean field area that was in production but was kind of an odd-shaped area of the field.”
Katie and other BASF representatives have been talking with visitors to the Farm Progress Show about the Living Acres project and giving away butterfly wings to the kids. “I like to think of the Monarch as an iconic insect species because it is native to North America,” she says. “Definitely trying to attract people just like butterflies have always attracted people’s eye.” Interview with Katie Demers, BASF