The monarch butterfly gets an extension, but there's still work to do

An opinion piece by Sustainability Strategy Manager Chip Shilling


This May we found out the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) agreed to an extension with the original petitioners to determine whether the monarch butterfly warrants Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection. The new deadline is December 15, 2020.


The USFWS stated, “[They] will be able to study data from the most recent census of overwintering monarchs, as well as the next survey to be conducted in late 2019. The additional time will provide the Service with the data to produce a scientifically sound determination on the monarch, a species with a global range and complex life history.”


Many have been closely following the population trends of the monarch butterfly over the years and doing everything they can to help the population grow, including organizations and groups providing tools and resources to benefit the monarch butterfly and other pollinators.


BASF involvement in monarch butterfly conservation
BASF saw an opportunity to work directly with farmers and farm families on something important: on-farm biodiversity projects designed to improve pollinator habitat quality. One example specific to the United States is our Living Acres #MonarchChallenge. It’s a challenge dedicated to educating farmers on the importance of milkweed to monarch butterflies and providing the means for farmers to plant milkweed on non-crop areas of their land. Furthermore, our customers are uniquely positioned to make an impact, as they are geographically located in the flight path of the migrating monarch butterfly.


Since its start, the Monarch Challenge has flourished, receiving interest from across the agriculture industry. Farmers, farm families and golf courses have been enthusiastic at stepping up and getting involved in the program. Last year, we visited a number of trade shows and events across the Midwest and learned firsthand how many farmers’ perceptions of milkweed has shifted. Milkweed has been known as a problem weed for generations, but throughout the last few years, farmers are beginning to understand that milkweed can thrive in non-productive areas of farm land.


National Pollinator Week
There will always be more we can do to provide habitat for the monarch and other pollinators that we find across our agricultural landscape. This month, we will be celebrating National Pollinator Week from June 17 to 23, a week fully dedicated to celebrating pollinators and educating the public on how to protect them.


For us at BASF, pollinators are vital to agriculture because 35% of the world’s food crop depends to some degree on pollinators. Primary crop examples that many of us are familiar with include almonds, strawberries and citrus fruits. Without pollinators, we wouldn’t have abundant and affordable access to much of the food we eat. It’s in our own interest to ensure that the labeled use of our products — within the broader framework of modern sustainable agriculture — is compatible with pollinator populations.


If you want to learn more about local and national programs or how to design a better waystation in an urban setting, visit the links below:



Even though there was an extension placed on the decision for the protection of monarch butterflies, we will continue to educate and grow our program in aiding monarch butterflies and pollinators. All the measures we take are to ensure we are helping farmers leave a sustainable operation for future generations.


Visit, and like our Facebook page. You will be able to keep up to date on the latest information published for Pollinator Week.



About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division
With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work – for farmers, society and the planet. In 2018, our division generated sales of €6.2 billion. For more information, please visit or any of our social media channels.



About BASF
BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 20,000 employees in North America and had sales of $19.7 billion in 2018. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 122,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of around €63 billion in 2018. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at