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NOTEBOOK: Ethanol industry pushes monarch habitat


The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has launched a project to help ethanol and biodiesel producers across the state establish monarch butterfly habitats around their facilities. 

“A project to protect these beautiful pollinators that are so critical to Iowa agriculture and the natural environment seemed like a perfect fit,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw.

“Because of their migratory patterns, monarchs need small patches of habitat throughout the state. Even a tenth of an acre can make a difference. Iowa’s ethanol and biodiesel plants are scattered across Iowa and also tend to have a lot of green space on their properties – making them excellent partners for this effort,” Shaw added. 

Kevin Reynolds, who has over 30 years of experience in environmental conservation, will serve as the project’s habitat establishment coordinator. He will help the biofuels operations turn grassy areas into “monarch fueling stations” with milkweed and other key plants. Reynolds is the husband of Gov. Kim Reynolds. 

The Renewable Fuels Association has joined the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium.

Lincolnway Energy in Nevada is the first association member to prepare to install a monarch habitat. In recent weeks, the first steps were taken on a two-acre plot to prepare the fueling station for seeding in the spring. 

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