Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley announced new legislation that would create a pollinator-friendly plant labeling program, modeled after the Organic Foods Production Act that created organic labeling. The program would require the Department of Agriculture to create a certification program for plant producers in order to certify that their plants are not treated with pesticides harmful to monarchs and other pollinators.
Under the pollinator-friendly plant labeling program, plants must be native to the United States and must not have been grown using pesticides or substances that are not approved for use in organically grown products. Producers who choose to participate in the program would be able to use a “USDA pollinator-friendly” label on their plants and products.
“Protecting Western Monarch butterflies and other pollinators is a critical issue, and I know many of us are looking for ways to help,” said Sen. Merkley. “Projects like at home gardening are great ways that every day consumers can take action. But folks across the country buying milkweed plants to help boost pollinator populations may unknowingly be picking up pesticide-treated plants that are actually harming the pollinators they are intended to support. We need to ensure that consumers who want to help can find safe, pollinator-friendly plants when they head to their local nursery.”