Regenerative Farming Causes Bee Population to Recover: Report

Bees are an essential part of the world’s ecosystems. However, in recent years, we’ve seen sharp declines in bee populations; find out how innovative farming techniques are ushering in a new bee population.

A report from Canadian outlet Global News says that bee populations are being brought back to parts of the North American continent thanks to regenerative agriculture techniques employed by farmers.

“We’ve lost about two-thirds of organic matter in our soils. It’s time to build it back.”

According to the report, the one farmer interviewed for the piece didn’t make the switch to regenerative farming to benefit the bees, rather, he was trying to feed his cattle. “We were in some wet years,” Paul Kernaleguen, a farmer said. “What we were growing - barley and oats - kept drowning, So we got the idea to try something else.”

Regenerative agriculture, according to a spokesperson for Cover Crops Canada, Kevin Elmy is designed to replenish “the biology in our soils.”

“We’ve mined our soils and our soil is going in the wrong direction,” he said. According to Global News’ Nathaniel Dove, “the mixture of different crops, which bloom at different times and grow it at different rates, replenishes the nutrients and bacteria necessary for soil to be fertile… [and] that the flowers have encouraged the bees to repopulate.”

The man that put that to the test, Paul Kernaleguen says that as he was growing up, there were large populations of bees up until around 10 years ago. “It’s encouraging,” he said. “It kind of lets you know [the bees are] happy with what you got and you’re helping out the ecosystem.”

Jim Eckberg, a research agronomist at General Mills, one of the largest cereal manufacturers in North America says that “this [regenerative farming] is all-important to rebuild the soil health from areas where we source the ingredients,” adding that General Mills was looking to regenerative agriculture to improve the sustainability of the organisation’s supply chain.

“We’ve lost about two-thirds of organic matter in our soils. It’s time to build it back.”

“Ultimately, to move into the 21st century, to be able to cope with the big challenges we need to have a healthier soil base,” he said, addressing two major concerns for farmers and researchers alike: nutrient depletion in soil and sustainability.

Why are bees so important?

According to Sustain, bees are the world’s largest pollinator of crops, and as pollinators, they play a role in every . It is estimated that as much as a third of the food we consume each day relies on pollination from bees, as well as birds and bats; it is said that around 80% of the US’ crops are dependent on honey bee pollination, and 90% of the world’s plants require cross-pollination to spread and thrive. The harsh reality for the humble bee, however, is that their population around the globe are declining sharply due to pesticides, habitat loss and changes to the earth’s climate that causes some flowers to bloom earlier or later in the season, often leaving bees without a source of food.

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