Fact check: There is no law in Denmark that requires farmers to grow field flowers for bees

·3 min read

The claim: Farmers in Denmark are required by law to grow field flowers for bees on 5% of their land

In recent years, there has been a decline in the population of bees and pollinators due to intensive farming, pesticide use, climate change and mono-cropping.

Some social media users claim the Danish government is attempting to protect threatened bee populations by requiring farmers to grow field flowers on their land.

“In Denmark, farmers are required by law to grow field flowers for the bees in 5% of their land,” read a July 24 Facebook post, which has since been deleted. The post had more than 1,000 reactions and included a photo of a flower bed and a road.

Similar versions of the claim have made their way to various Facebook pages, iFunny and Twitter.

The European Union provides incentives to those who plant flowers to increase biodiversity, but there is no law in Denmark that requires farmers to do this.

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USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user and page for comment

Growing flowers is not legally required

Katja Brandt, a spokesperson for the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, told USA TODAY in an email there is “no national legislation requiring people in Demark to grow field flowers for the bees in 5% of the country.”

However, there is a grant program in accordance with the European Commission in which farmers “who adopt or maintain farming practices that help meet environmental and climate goals” can receive a payment.

The “green direct payment” initiative requires that farmers follow three mandatory practices. These include dedicating 5% of land that is beneficial to biodiversity (ecological focus areas), diversifying crops to strengthen soils and maintaining permanent grassland to protect habitats and support carbon sequestration.

A report from the European Commission says ecological focus areas can include trees, hedges, fallow land, field margins, and more. It is not limited to just flowers.

Danish farmers are able to participate in the voluntary program as Denmark is one of the 27 countries that are part of the European Union.

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Denmark had a national beekeeping strategy in place from 2016 to 2019 that aimed to provide beekeeper education, improve communication between farmers and beekeepers and support research.

Our rating: False

The claim that farmers in Denmark are required by law to grow field flowers for bees on 5% of their land is FALSE, based on our research. The Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries said there is no such law. There is an EU program that incentivizes Danish farmers to use a portion of their land in ways beneficial to biodiversity, but it is not a requirement.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Danish farmers not required to grow flowers for bees

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