Two bins on the edge of a field

Grain on the Brain Podcasts

Season 2, Episode 3 – Farming with Pollinators


Why should we be aiming to increase biodiversity on our farms? What role do pollinators play in improving our crops and the land that we as grain farmers manage?
Our host, Scott Beaton, talks to native seed specialist Stephanie Frischie from the Xerces Society and farmer Allison Squires about why we should be thinking about biodiversity, and how we can start to go about doing it. Mike Killewald from the University of Manitoba tells us about the four-year pollinator project he’s working on with some of the results for its first year.

(46:15) June 21, 2020


The Xerces Society has some great resources:

Save the fireflies. Do you know what firefly larva can do for your crops?

Want to speak with Stephanie Frischie from the Xerces Society about starting a pollinator patch on your farm?

Mobile: 219 208 5879

Want to ask Mike Killewald from the University of Manitoba a question about bugs?

Here are some of Mike’s recommended links: and have some great identification and general resources, although their identification resources might be somewhat hard for the general public to use.

Decent guide for “what’s that bug?” type identification because it’s broken down by general insect shape.

The Manitoba Government website has lots of great resources:

Specifically, the insect scouting guide can be downloaded for free here and has a lot of species-specific information on controlling pests of many crops grown in Manitoba. has lots of great resources about bees, including managing wildflowers for pollinators and creating a bee hotel. The bee hotels are an easy way to manage native bees in your backyard. Pdf can be downloaded here

For Manitoba crop specific insect updates you can request to be part of John Gavloski’s email list: He sends out the occasional insect reports during the growing season.

There is also this resource if you don’t have it:

Allison Squires’ recommendations

You can find regional resources on Pollinator Partnership Canada.

Favourite books

These are available for sale through booksellers (not from Xerces). They are available as thank you gifts for becoming a member of Xerces.

Some great books for people wanting to learn more about bees:

Bees in your backyard by Wilson and Messinger Carril

Bumble bees of North America by Williams et al.

Whitney Cranshaws’ Garden Insects book is a good one, but not really tailored toward agriculture.

Keep learning about pollinators at these events/webinars:


Funding is provided in part by the Canada and Manitoba governments through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Additional sponsorship has been provided by Secan.

SeCan is the largest supplier of certified seed to Canadian farmers with more than 600 independent seed business members from coast to coast engaged in seed production, processing and marketing. We are a private, not-for-profit, member corporation with the primary goal of accessing and promoting leading genetics.

Guest Bio

Guest bio for Stephanie Frischie

Based in northwest Indiana, Stephanie provides pollinator habitat expertise to farms in Canada and the U.S. She also works with the native seed industry and researchers to plan and develop seed supply of important plant species for restoration of insect habitat. Before joining Xerces, Stephanie conducted research on the potential of native cover crops in Spanish olive orchards at Semillas Silvestres, S.L. through the Native Seed Science, Technology and Conservation (NASSTEC) grant. Previously, she was the plant materials and conservation programs manager for eleven years at the Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands restoration project in northwest Indiana. Stephanie volunteers as a rare plant monitor with Plants of Concern and is the secretary of the International Network for Seed-based Restoration. Her master’s of science is from Northwestern University/Chicago Botanic Garden’s Conservation Land Management Program and she holds a bachelor’s of science in international agronomy from Purdue University.

Guest Bio for Allison Squires

Allison was born in St. John’s, NFLD and grew up primarily in Southern Ontario. After completing her BSc in Environmental Toxicology at the University of Guelph (Guelph, ON) she moved to Saskatoon, SK to complete first her MSc and then Ph.D. in Toxicology at the University of Saskatchewan. Like Cody, Allison is very interested in promoting the organic industry, especially through on-farm research. Allison supports involving organic producers at the individual farm level and believes that it will contribute to the overall applicability of organic research. As such both her and Cody have implemented several on-farm research projects at Upland Organics. Allison enjoys managing the research programs for Upland Organics and is always looking for new opportunities to collaborate with research scientists, agriculture industry professionals, and other organic producers. Allison serves the national organic community as a director on the Canadian Organic Growers board and in 2020 was also elected to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) North America board of Directors.

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Manitoba Organic Alliance.


  • Mike Killewald
  • Allison Squires
  • Karen Klassen
  • Stephanie Frischie
  • Scott Beaton

Host: Scott Beaton

Producer and Narrator: Karen Klassen