It’s no secret that the bees are in risk of extinction. Recently, a UN report revealed that one million animal species are at risk of extinction globally. Of these species, a further report found pollinators, in particular some bees, have been in steady decline, with an average of 11 species lost between 1980 and 2013. And that’s only the UK.
Given the crucial role the bees play in supporting our ecosystems, a group of farmers from the Arla Foods dairy cooperative have launched a trial initiative. They wanted to see whether their efforts for environmentally friendly dairy farming could be broadened to help increase wild bee populations. Project Pollinator is a part of the dairy cooperative’s farm standards programme, Arla UK 360. In this project, five farmers across Great Britain have set aside areas of land to help vital bee pollinators. Hence, the farmers will cultivate, seed and farm the land to create the best possible habitat for a variety of insects.
15 per cent of Arla’s farmer owners already work with independent nature organisations to support bio-diversity and many more have their own on farm biodiversity initiatives. However, the focus of the trial will explore whether selecting and cultivating flowers specially for bees can help change the declining numbers of bees.
If the trial proves successful, the scope for scale up could prove significant for bees, given the fact that the Arla dairy cooperative counts 2,400 UK dairy farmers and 11,300 across Europe.