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Back to May 2016 Newsletter

Bee Friendly Farming

Kim Fellows

Are you interested in supporting bee health on your farm? Or know someone who may be? If so, you may be interested in Bee Friendly Farming. BFF is a program that provides guidelines for farmers and landowners who are interested in promoting pollinator health on their land. Any landowner or farmer in Canada and the US can participate, and certified farmers can use the BFF logo to tell others that they are using safe practices that conserve and encourage pollinators. BFF promotes the health of both honeybees and native pollinators.

BFF was born when California beekeeper Kathy Kellison realized that beekeepers needed to be able to keep bees on safe lands in their own states, across the US, instead of having to take them up to the few rural areas, such as North Dakota, where they can still access wildflowers and the effects of intensive agriculture are fewer. Kellison teamed up with other pollinator experts to create a program that everyone – not just scientists and beekeepers – could participate in to create more sources of bee forage and to build public awareness of bee health.

One way that we can all do this is to create safe lands for bees. Safe lands are those that offer diverse, abundant nutrition for pollinators, by cultivating flowering plants that flourish through the year. This is the foundation of BFF.

So how do you become a bee friendly farmer? Well, the process is quite easy. The BFF website,​, has all the information you need. You begin by answering a set of questions, related to the ways in which you offer safe lands for pollinators. Landowners have to meet the following criteria in order to become certified:

  1. Offer forage providing good nutrition for bees on at least 3%-6% of your land.
  2. Plant continuous sequences of​ different flowering plants throughout the growing season, especially in ​early ​spring and ​late autumn​ in temperate regions.
  3. Offer clean water for bees.
  4. Provide a variety of habitat​ for nesting and mating,​ through features such as hedgerows, natural brush, bufferstrips, deadfall and bare soil that native ground-nesting pollinators can access.
  5. Establish a pest management plan. Practice Integrated Pest Management and reduce or eliminate the use of chemicals. Pesticides kill non-target bees.
  6. Pay the annual $35 (USD) certification fee.

Once you qualify under all these criteria, you are a certified bee friendly farmer. Your location is pinned on a map on the website and you can use the BFF logo to indicate that your products or services are produced on lands that promote pollinator health. You can also buy a sign for your farm to let visitors and passersby know that you are a bee friendly farmer. 

What are the benefits of becoming a certified Bee Friendly Farmer?

  • You become connected with a community that is working on a common goal: to conserve and protect the pollinators in your area. Their health is connected to your health.
  • The logo tells consumers that your produce or product has been grown with reliable stewardship principles.
  • You have access to upcoming opportunities to apply for mini-grants to support pollinator plantings on your land.

Bee Friendly Farming is coordinated by the Pollinator Partnership, and Pollination Canada joined the program as the Canadian partner in 2011. We look forward to working together, connecting with landowners across the country, and seeing the number of Bee Friendly Farmers grow! 

​There are currently about 450 BFFers in North America; just over 50 are Canadian. Certify yourself or tell a grower you know about Bee Friendly Farming!


Find out more about Bee Friendly Farming at or visit Pollination Canada’s website for more information


Back to May 2016 Newsletter

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