Livestock grazing can be very expansive. Take for instance the ‘fescue belt’ in the southeastern US, which spans 1,000 miles across. This week we hear from a Dr. Megan O’Rourke who is looking to incorporate pollinator plants into pastures, potentially providing benefits to pollinators and increasing the grazing efficiency of cattle at the same time. 

Dr. O’Rourke is a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE) and works to develop novel conservation strategies for working farms. Her lab focuses on pollinator conservation, ecosystem services, and ecological pest management. She works in SE Asia to develop integrated pest management strategies for vegetables. Domestically, she is working to conserve pollinators on vegetable farms and in pasturelands. Her interests span natural and social sciences and policy as she strives to transform agriculture to provide both food and conservation value. Outside academia, she has worked with the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service as the organization’s climate change advisor and with USAID as a Foreign Service Officer in Cambodia on food security and environment programs.

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