INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service offers practices to help Hoosier farmers create pollinator habitat, harnessing their value to production.

The NRCS is promoting the importance of pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, bats and hummingbirds. Pollinators provide essential assistance to fruit, vegetable and seed crops, but many species are seeing their numbers fall, said NRCS State Conservationist Jane Hardisty.

“Making room for pollinators on your land isn’t too difficult or expensive, and NRCS wants to help you make those improvements that will not only benefit pollinators, but help your land, as well,” she said.

Agricultural producers and other private landowners across Indiana work with the NRCS to create ideal habitat for pollinators and increase populations in simple and significant ways.

Field borders, hedgerows and conservation cover are just three of 37 practices that the NRCS offers through the farm bill to help producers create the perfect places for pollinators to feed and take shelter.

More than three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollinators to reproduce – or, to put it another way, one of every three bites of food people eat. Many plants would be unable to reproduce without the help of pollinators, Hardisty said.

“Bees and other pollinators help keep the whole environment healthy, and that’s why thousands of producers have worked to attract them to their land,” she explained. “When you create habitat for pollinators, you also provide habitat for other wildlife, reduce soil erosion and improve water quality.”

Scientists point out a number of factors, including habitat loss, disease, parasites and overuse of pesticides for the drop in pollinator population.