Farmers lauded for efforts to diversify pollinator habitat

Marc and Chantal Bercier, owners of Le Ferme Agriber, were presented with the 2016 Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award in Washington, DC.

October 25, 2016, OTTAWA — The vital population of bees and other pollinating insects near an Eastern Ontario community is growing stronger, thanks to the remarkable efforts of Marc and Chantal Bercier, winners of the 2016 Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award.

Presented in partnership by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association, and the U.S.-based Pollinator Partnership, the award recognizes the contributions of Canadian farmers in protecting and creating environments where pollinators can thrive. The Berciers were honoured at the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign conference, which took place last week in Washington, DC.

The Berciers’ Le Ferme Agriber is a prime example of a family farm whose owners are committed to environmental stewardship. The Berciers’ project was completed with expertise from local contractors and support from Alternative Land Use (ALUS) Canada, which funds initiatives to diversify habitat and biodiversity.

The Berciers’ project involved planting a variety of trees, shrubs and native flowers – species that contribute to healthy soils, absorbing nutrients and providing shade and cover, as well as food for a variety of wild species, including pollinators. They have created many pollinator habitat sites around their farm and quality pollen sources throughout the spring, summer and fall. The new habitat areas are populated with over 30 different species of plants and flowers.

“Farmers recognize the indispensable natural services that native pollinators provide farmers through pollination and improving yields,” said CFA President Ron Bonnett. “We’re pleased to showcase examples of how farmers have gone above and beyond to support pollinators, and the Bercier farm offers yet another success story of thoughtful investments that support a productive and sustainable farm business.”

“For me, it’s very important to farm with a vision of how future generations will benefit from agriculture. I am always thinking about how to improve our operation so that I can pass my knowledge and experience on to younger people that are interested in starting a business in farming,” said Marc Bercier.

Canada is home to more than 1,000 species of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, moths, bats and beetles, and are essential to the production of over $2 billion annually in Canadian produce such as apples, berries, squash, melons and much more. The indispensable impact that these species have on our country’s agricultural sector demonstrates why Canadian farmers are dedicated to finding long-term solutions that will further support the conservation of pollinators.

About the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
The mission of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) is to encourage the health of resident and migratory pollinating animals in North America. NAPPC partners gather from throughout the North American continent and beyond to: Raise public awareness and education and promote constructive dialogue about pollinators’ importance to agriculture, ecosystem health, and food supplies; encourage collaborative, working partnerships among participants and with federal, state and local government entities and strengthening the network of associated organizations working on behalf of pollinators; promote conservation, protection and restoration of pollinator habitat; and document and support scientific, economic and policy research – creating the first-ever, international data bank (library) of pollinator information.

About Pollinator Partnership
The Pollinator Partnership (P2) is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote the health of pollinators, which are critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research. Signature initiatives include the NAPPC (North American Pollinator Protection Campaign), National Pollinator Week, and the Ecoregional Planting Guides.

About the Canadian Federation of Agriculture
Founded in 1935 to provide Canada’s farmers with a single voice in Ottawa, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture is the country’s largest general farm organization. Its members include provincial general farm organizations, national and inter-provincial commodity organizations. Through its members, CFA represents over 200,000 Canadian farmers and farm families.

About the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association

The CFGA is the national voice for producers whose livelihoods are dependent upon forage/grassland production. It is committed to promoting sustainable management and addressing production issues and trade barriers.

Media Contacts:

Canadian Federation of Agriculture
Janice Hall
Director of Communications
Tel: 613-236-3633 ext. 2322

Pollinator Partnership
Victoria Wojcik, Ph.D.
Research Director
Tel: 647-546-3890

Canadian Forage and Grassland Association
Chad Anderson
Environment Committee Co-Chair