Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

CDFA celebrates National Pollinator Week, June 17-23

This week, CDFA is celebrating and highlighting the importance of pollinators in our state’s agriculture. National Pollinator Week (June 17-23) promotes the valuable services provided by pollinators such as bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles, moths, wasps, and flies.

Pollinators are critical to California’s agriculture. The overwhelming majority of food crops rely at least partially on some type of insect pollination. Without pollinators, many of California’s farmers could not grow the quantity and quality or not be able to produce at all the crops we enjoy. CDFA encourages everyone to learn about the significant role of pollinators in our ecosystem, and especially our food supply.

Of the 115 most-grown foods around the world, 87 depend on pollinators. The United States grows more than 100 crops that rely on pollinators — 90 percent of them are pollinated by honey bees. Collectively, these crops make up a third of the typical American diet. Some examples:

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Melons
  • Pears
  • Pumpkins
  • Raspberries
  • Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Sunflowers
  • Tomatoes

In California, it is estimated that one third of the value of California agriculture comes from pollinator- dependent crops!

Native pollinators reside in California’s natural habitats and provide over 35% of the pollination services to the state’s crops, the majority of the rest is provided by honey bees.

Pollinators face challenges and are in decline. There are different reasons for the decline of different species. Many species are facing issues due to climate change and loss of habitat. In terms of honey bees there are the four P’s: Poor nutrition, Pests, Pathogens, and Pesticides.

However, one of the biggest reasons for native pollinator decline is habitat loss.

What is California doing for pollinators?

The 2021 California State Budget (Senate Bill 170, Skinner), dedicated $15 million to CDFA for the Pollinator Habitat Program, which provides funding for the establishment of pollinator habitat on agricultural lands throughout California. CDFA was tasked to administer the Pollinator Habitat Program and to prioritize the planning of native habitats for the benefit of native biodiversity and the use of locally appropriate native plant seed mixes when feasible. This has allowed experienced organizations to work directly with farmers and ranchers to install habitats and implement management practices that support pollinators.

NOTE — Patricia Bohls, M.S., a Senior Environmental Scientist Specialist and Biodiversity Coordinator with CDFA’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation, will be speaking later this week about pollinators with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Beyond Honey Bees: Exploring the Diversity of California’s Pollinators

Presented by: Patricia Bohls, M.S. and Hillary Sardiñas, PhD

Thursday, June 20

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Pacific)

Register at:

If you would like to find out more about CDFA’s Pollinator Habitat Program, please visit the program website and sign up for email notifications.

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