The decline of the monarch population is a complex issue. There is no single solution to the problem, but by working together, groups, businesses and individuals can help increase monarch populations to sustainable levels.
Agriculture has been a leader on pollinator and monarch conservation, with Illinois Farm Bureau playing a critical role in the accomplishments to date.
Illinois agriculture has had numerous successes in sustaining monarchs in the recent past. These successes have centered around education and outreach, habitat work, and science and research. Education stemming from many years of collaborative work across the state has increased awareness of the monarch issue to farmers, city residents and land managers up and down the state. Illinois farmers have been installing and improving pollinator habitat on their farms for years and the monarchs and many other pollinators are seeing those benefits. Illinois has one of the highest adoption rates for installation of pollinator habitat acreage through the CRP, ranking second only to Iowa. From 2012 to 2018, the acres enrolled in the CP42-Pollinator Habitat practice has increased by more than 300 times, resulting in more than 100,000 acres of habitat across the state.
The agricultural sector has identified the challenges with accomplishing the ambitious goal of 150 million additional stems of milkweed in Illinois over the next 20 years. The challenges are not simply planting milkweed. Farmers and the agricultural industry have identified strategies to overcome these roadblocks and be successful. Illinois agriculture has been a leader on the monarch issue and will continue to play an important role in the future.