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Monarch butterflies on endangered radar

The recent designation for this insect as endangered by a global conservation group is an issue to track for your operation.

The monarch butterfly is beautiful to see in the wild, it’s just that in the last 30 years the measured population has declined 80% according to major conservation groups. That has made the butterfly a target of groups concerned about the loss of this pollinator, and others. Recently, the monarch was red listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, tagging the insect as endangered.

While that listing has no impact on local action regarding the butterfly, the move is a concern for the ag industry. And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did consider adding the monarch to the Endangered Species List in 2020 but put off that decision at the time. The IUCN listing raises concern that the Service may reconsider the status of the monarch in the course of its future deliberations.

What might adding the monarch to the Endangered Species List mean for farmers? To get a handle on the situation, including the recent red list notification, Farm Progress talks with Ariel Wiegard, director of government affairs at the American Soybean Association. She offers insight, background and tips for farmers. A key word in her conversation regarding managing this issue is “voluntary” and every effort farmers make today can help build back the monarch population. Give it a listen.

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