Improving poultry farm sustainability through pollinator buffers

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2017: $11,481.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2018
Grant Recipient: Hill Farms, Inc.
Region: Northeast
State: Delaware
Project Leader:
Tina Hill
Hill Farms, Inc


  • Agronomic: clovers
  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: bees


  • Crop Production: pollinator habitat
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research, youth education

    Proposal summary:

    Delaware’s poultry farm and residential development interface has become increasingly stressful. As a way to ease this stress while providing environmental benefit for bees, we propose testing a new practice, installing a mixed vegetative buffer. This buffer would provide odor and dust control, improve poultry farm aesthetics, and provide food and habitat resources for honey and native bees. We will measure cost/benefit of this buffer vs. the industry standard buffer of regularly mowed grass by calculating time, expenses and making regular insect counts in the buffer and standard plots. We will measure the reaction to and acceptance of this new practice by gaining feedback from the public and farmers. Information about this project will be available through poultry industry and Delaware agriculture websites, a fact sheet, and a descriptive video. We plan to present the project results at 2018 Delaware Agriculture Week. This project will be featured as a demonstration site on a statewide Delaware Department of Agriculture bee health and protection tour.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    We would like to test a new practice, installing a dual function, mixed vegetative buffer adjacent to one of our poultry houses. This new buffer design would provide the odor and dust reduction function of established vegetative environmental buffers, and add habitat and pollen and nectar resources for honey and native bees.
    We will determine whether installing this buffer will be cost-effective, provide habitat for bees, and be perceived by farmers and the public as good environmental stewardship.

    Objective 1: Measure the economic viability of installing a dual function, mixed vegetative buffer around our poultry house by accounting for the cost of installation and maintenance, and comparing that to the cost of maintaining our existing grassy buffer system.
    Objective 2: Determine if this buffer provides forage resources for honey and native bees and other pollinators by conducting bi-weekly counts of flower visitation in the Pollinator Plot. These will be compared to similar counts in the Control Plot.
    Objective 3: Document the reaction of poultry farmers and the public to the pollinator buffer, and determine how this impacts their view of poultry houses and their perception of environmental

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.