Monarch Conservation Toolbox

Pilot Projects

Assessing the Milkweed Seed Marketplace in Iowa

Tallgrass Prairie Center

Country
United States

Region
Midwest

Agency Type
NGO

Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat
Monarchs

Original Language
English

A primary monarch conservation goal is to increase the presence of milkweed on the nation’s landscape. For public and private entities to accomplish this massive task, large quantities of milkweed seeds must be available. This has stimulated an examination of the native seed market throughout the nation, to identify constraints on milkweed seed abundance and accessibility. Iowa has a strong native seed industry, and this prompted Greg Houseal from the Tallgrass Prairie Center to examine milkweed availability in relation to Iowa’s native seed industry.

In summary, Houseal concludes that Iowa’s overall native seed industry is booming. Incentive programs that include prairie restoration on agricultural lands are poised to increase the native seed market, and if these programs progress to a state level, this would greatly expand the market for native milkweed seed. “A broad scale approach of using multiple milkweed species appropriate to the region and planting site, as previously discussed, will help insure that milkweeds are both present and persistent in high-diversity prairie reconstructions on non-agricultural lands in Iowa and the greater Midwestern landscape” (Houseal 2015).

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