Earth Day 2019: Protect the Pollinators

The theme of this year’s 49th annual Earth Day on April 22 is “Protect Our Species.” One extremely important aspect of this theme to everyone involved in agriculture is protecting the world’s insect pollinators. The global crop production pollinated by bees is estimated to be valued at $577 billion. Pollinators contribute $24 billion to the U.S. agriculture industry, making up a third of the food consumed by Americans.

Despite bees being considered a keystone species, not nearly enough is being done to preserve this essential contributor to our food production process. Worldwide bee populations are in decline, including the honey bee and many of our wild native bees. It is estimated that commercial honeybee populations in the U.S. have declined by as much as 40% since 2006.

There are many suspected contributors to bee decline, including:

  • Widespread use of pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids that—once absorbed by plants—can be present in pollen and nectar
  • Loss of habitat, including land use changes, habitat fragmentation, loss of bio-diversity
  • Climate change
  • Pests, diseases, viruses, and mold

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers advice on how farmers can help pollinators. Some of the principles advocated by the USDA include:

  • Know the habitat on your farm. Look for areas on and around your land that can support native bees. Most native bees are solitary or live in small colonies. Bumble, digger, and sweat bees make up the bulk of pollen bees in most parts of the country.
  • Protect flowering plants and nest sites. Once you know where bees are living and foraging, do what you can to protect these resources from disturbance and pesticides. Bees rely on an abundance and variety of flowers and need blooming plants throughout the growing season. Native plant species are particularly valuable.
  • Enhance habitat with flowering plants and additional nest sites. Most bees love sun and prefer to nest in dry places. Nests are created underground, in twigs and debris, and in dead trees or branches. You can add flowers, leave some ground untilled, and provide bee blocks (tunnels drilled into wood) to increase the number of native bees on your farm.
  • Minimize tillage. Many of our best crop pollinators live underground for most of the year, sometimes at the base of the very plants they pollinate. To protect them, turn over soil only where you need to. Allow crops to bolt. If possible, allow leafy crops like lettuce to flower if they need to be tilled right away. This gives bees additional food sources.
  • Exercise Care with Insecticides. Most insecticides are deadly to bees, and unnecessary herbicide use can remove many of the flowers that they need for food. If you use insecticides, choose ingredients targeted to specific species (for example, Btk—Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki— for pests such as leaf rollers) and the least harmful formulations (i.e., granules or solutions). Spray on calm, dry evenings, soon after dark when bees are not active. Keep in mind that even when crops are not in bloom, some of your best pollinators are visiting nearby flowers, where they may be killed by drifting chemicals.

More information is available at the USDA NRCS Website.

Information about Earth Day and how to protect bees is available on the Earth Day Network Website.

For those of you in the Phoenix area who would like to learn more about protecting pollinators, the University of Arizona Desert Institute of Gardening is holding a seminar from 6–8 pm this Thursday, April 25, at the Maricopa County Extension Office. Click here for details.

It All Has to Start With The Soil

The Soil Health Institute has released a 60-minute documentary, Living Soil, that captures the history — and significance — of the soil health movement.

Our soils support 95 percent of all food production, and by 2060, our soils will be asked to give us as much food as we have consumed in the last 500 years. They filter our water. They are one of our most cost-effective reservoirs for sequestering carbon. They are our foundation for biodiversity. And they are vibrantly alive, teeming with 10,000 pounds of biological life in every acre. Yet in the last 150 years, we’ve lost half of the basic building block that makes soil productive. The societal and environmental costs of soil loss and degradation in the United States alone are now estimated to be as high as $85 billion every single year.

Living Soil captures the background of the current soil health movement and its momentum, beginning with painful images of the Dust Bowl, and then transitions to personal experiences of innovative women and men who are managing their land to enhance soil health.

The film features rural and urban farmers from Maryland to California, selling everything from corn to bouquets, united by their care for the soil.

The documentary is directed by Chelsea Myers, founder of Tiny Attic, a video production company located in Columbia, Mo. that specializes in documenting real moments and real people.

To view the documentary, visit https://livingsoilfilm.com.

World Soil Day, November 5

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations sponsors World Soil Day every December 5 to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and the sustainable management of soil resources. Sponsored every year since 2014, this year’s theme focuses on soil pollution. Here is an excerpt from the World Soil Day Website:

“These days pollution is a worry – and soil is also affected. Soil pollution is a hidden danger that lurks beneath our feet.

“1/3 of our global soils are already degraded. Yet we risk losing more due to this hidden danger. Soil pollution can be invisible and seems far away but everyone, everywhere is affected. With a growing population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, soil pollution is a worldwide problem which degrades our soils and poisons the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. The entity of the problem is still unknown as not certain data are available on a global scale.

“Soils have a great potential to filter and buffer contaminants, degrading and attenuating the negative effects of pollutants, but this capacity is finite. Most of the pollutants originate from human activities, such as unsustainable farming practices, industrial activities and mining, untreated urban waste, and other non-environmental friendly practices. As technology evolves, scientists are able to identify previously undetected pollutants, but at the same time these technological improvements lead to new contaminants being released into the environment. In the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals 2, 3, 12, and 15 have targets that commend direct consideration of soil resources, especially soil pollution and degradation in relation to food security.

“It is time to uncover this threatening reality. Combatting soil pollution requires us to join forces and turn determination into action. Be the solution to soil pollution.”

At Bio Huma Netics, Inc., we take soil health seriously. Visit our product Websites to find solutions for improving agricultural soil (Huma Gro® and Fertilgold® Organics) and bioremediation of contaminated soils (Probiotic Solutions®).

 

Hats Off to Farmers, Today and Every Day

Agriculture is one of the world’s oldest industries. In fact, many countries’ economies still depend on the agricultural industry. Today, on October 12, we recognize the hard work that goes into feeding a nation. Previously known as Old Farmers Day, National Farmers’ Day dates back to the 1800s, a time when a higher percentage of the population was involved in agriculture, with harvest festivals and events in September and October. National Farmers Day encourages Americans to thank farmers and ranchers for providing the food, clothing, fuel, and materials that we otherwise take for granted.

See how The Old Farmer’s Almanac celebrates National Farmer’s Day: https://www.almanac.com/newsletters/archive/2018-10-12

4R Plus: Nutrient Management and Conservation for Healthier Soils

By now, most of us in agriculture have been made aware of the “4Rs” Nutrient Stewardship initiative—Right Source, Right Time, Right Rate, and Right Place—developed by The Fertilizer Institute, International Plant Nutrition Institute, Fertilizer Canada, and International Fertilizer Association. The 4Rs program advocates the implementation of best management practices that optimize the efficiency of fertilizer use.

The new 4R Plus initiative adds in soil conservation practices that enhance soil health and improve water quality, with the goal of achieving a more productive crop now and in the future. Strategies advocated include reducing tillage, planting cover crops, and adding structures such as contour strips, grass waterways, and stream buffers or terraces. The goal is to reduce or completely eliminate the negative impacts of fertilizer use associated with nitrogen leaching and phosphorus runoff into lakes, rivers, and watersheds.

A business case is made that it is in growers’ best economic interests to implement these practices, which can lead to increased productivity, profitability, and resiliency—along with increased land value for the next generation. Here is a video that provides an overview of the initiative:

Huma Gro® products fit perfectly into the 4Rs and 4R Plus initiatives, particularly because of our proprietary Micro Carbon Technology® that makes our liquid fertilizers more effective and efficient (a 5th R, Right Nutrient Carrier), and also because they allow growers to “spoon feed” nutrients to crops at the exact point in the crop growth cycle when specific nutrients are needed, eliminating much fertilizer waste.

Click on the “Learn More About Our Products” button below to have a Huma Gro® Sales Representative contact you and explain how we can help your farm succeed in the 4R Plus movement.

Arizona Agribusiness Roundtable

We at BHN/Huma Gro® were very pleased to be a sponsor for the Arizona Agribusiness Roundtable on December 4 at the PERA Club in Tempe. This year’s roundtable was titled, “A National Perspective on Agriculture: The Farm Bill and You.”

The Agribusiness Roundtable is a collaborative effort by the Arizona Department of Agriculture and the Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona, Inc. Established to develop a “collective,” proactive point of view about Arizona’s future, this third annual meeting focused discussion on the importance to Arizona and national agriculture stakeholders of export trade agreements, immigration reform for the farm workforce, and proposed regulations for the 2018 Farm Bill.

Guest speakers and roundtable participants were from a number of national agriculture associations, including the National Milk Producers Federation, National Grain & Feed Association, National Cotton Council, AmericanHort, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, United Egg Producers, Western Growers Association, and the National Pork Producers Council. Also featured were Dr. Barbara Glenn, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture; Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, UC Davis; Paul Schlegel, American Farm Bureau Federation; Tom Davis, President, Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona; and Mark Killian, Director, Arizona Department of Agriculture (and member of the BHN Board of Directors).

More information is at https://www.agribusinessarizona.org/agribusiness-roundtable.html.

 

Global Fertilizer Day is October 13

On Global Fertilizer Day, agricultural professionals gather to celebrate the key role that fertilizer plays in meeting the growing global demand for nutritious and sustainably grown food.

Our growing global population depends on responsible agricultural practices to provide a steady supply of food. Modern fertilizer techniques are an essential part of this sustainable future, and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is invested in promoting best practices to help farmers improve their productivity and food nutrition.

Through innovative, science-based programs, like 4R Nutrient Stewardship, farmers can use fertilizer best management practices that offer enhanced environmental protection, increased production, increased farmer profitability, and improved sustainability.

The concept is to use the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place. When the 4Rs are put into practice, growers are able to achieve higher yields, lower input costs, and less nutrient losses to the environment.

Get involved with this year’s Global Fertilizer Day by visiting tfi.org/globalfertilizerday!


With Huma Gro® products you also get a 5th R, the Right Carbon Carrier! Our Micro Carbon Technology® provides a carbon-based nutrient carrier that makes our liquid fertilizers more efficient and effective than conventional products. Ask us how!

Bio Huma Netics Provides Innovative Crop Nutrition Products to China

The November 11, 2015 issue of AgroPages features an interview with Justin Smith, “Bio Huma Netics Provides Innovative Crop Nutrition Products to China.”

The article discusses our products, our introduction to the China market in 1999, our current distribution network, and the unique opportunities and challenges of China agriculture.

To read the article online, go to http://news.agropages.com/News/NewsDetail—16302.htm

Member of BHN Board of Directors to Head Arizona Department of Agriculture

Mark Killian Appointed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to Succeed Retired ADA Director Don Butler

 Gilbert, AZ: Governor Doug Ducey has announced the appointment of Mark Killian as director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

“I’m pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Killian to lead the Arizona Department of Agriculture,” said Governor Ducey. “Mark brings decades of unique public service and private sector experience, and his extensive and successful background in farming and ranching will be hugely valuable in this role. He’s a welcome addition to this department and our administration.”

Mr. Killian has been a member of the Arizona Board of Regents since 2010, currently serving as chairman and previously as vice chairman and treasurer. Prior to joining ABOR, he was director of the Arizona Department of Revenue and served for 14 years in the Arizona State Legislature, including as Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader.

Mr. Killian also has decades of private sector experience. He is a licensed commercial real estate broker of more than 32 years specializing in the management of commercial real estate. He also is involved in family farming and ranching enterprises, overseeing the stewardship of 1,700 acres of farmland in Arizona, and is the current chairman of the Green Reservoir Flood Control district and the Santa Cruz River Alliance. He has been a member of the Bio Huma Netics, Inc. (BHN), Board of Directors since 2010.

Mr. Killian earned his Bachelor’s Degree in business administration with a specialization of real estate and urban planning from Arizona State University in 1981.

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 About Bio Huma Netics Inc.

Founded in Mesa, Arizona in 1973, Bio Huma Netics, Inc., (BHN) is a global leader in providing sustainable solutions to the world’s environmental challenges for agriculture (HUMA GRO®); horticulture, turf & ornamentals (HUMA GRO® TURF); and water & wastewater (PROBIOTIC SOLUTIONS®) through its constantly improving Micro Carbon Technology®. Learn more at www.bhn.us.

Southwest Ag Summit

SWAgSummit

Come see us at the Southwest Ag Summit at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Arizona, on February 25–26. Ray Speakman and Nathan Smith will be there in Booth 52 to answer all of your Huma Gro questions. For more information, go to www.swagsummit.com.

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