USDA Will Spend $4 Million to Help Honey Bees

USDA Will Spend $4 Million to Help Honey Bees

Midwestern farmers and ranchers are getting $4 million in federal help to improve the health of honey bees, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday.

The aid through USDA's Environmental Quality Incentives Program would help producers in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan implement conservation practices, such as seeding alfalfa or clover crops on pasture land.

Bees play an important role in food production, pollinating an estimated $15 billion worth of crops, according to USDA. Their numbers have been declining at a sharp rate in recent years due in part to colony collapse disorder, blamed on a number of factors including mites, pesticides and habitat loss.

"The future of America's food supply depends on honey bees, and this effort is one way USDA is helping improve the health of honey bee populations," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement Wednesday.

The government is focusing its efforts through the EQIP program on the five Midwest states because about two-thirds of the commercially managed honey bees spend their time there from June to September. The $4 million for fiscal 2015, which began Oct. 1, builds on $3 million approved in fiscal 2014, USDA spokesman Justin Fritscher said.

The federal government also is providing $8 million in similar incentives in those states through the Conservation Reserve Program, according to U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, D-North Dakota, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

North Dakota has led the nation in the production of honey for a decade. Production in 2013 totaled about 34 million pounds — more than one-fifth of all the honey in the country and a crop valued at nearly $65 million.

The state has taken steps in recent years to combat the decline of honey bees, particularly developing guidelines in 2013 for farmers, ranchers, landowners and beekeepers to better protect bees.

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Spell Check

David Eugene Nordyke III
Agency, IA
2/14/2019 12:43 AM

  Hello my name is David, I am interested in more information on keeping Bee's .

Brenda McDaniel
Rydal, GA
4/29/2016 10:25 AM

  Honey acts as a natural antibiotic. How it works: Important part: Heat can destriy honey's beneficial properties, so buy the raw and unpasteurized. What to do: The caution part: Infants younger than age one should not eat honey. A natural insect repellent. Start educating the nursery and grammar school kids old enough to remember and realize the importance. The perfect office space would be next to where kids get braces on Harmony road ideally. Realistically my oldest brother use to be so intelligent in this area and is 73. A video on someone making and explaining robbing bees of various opinions of beekeepers. Plus, they were fussing because my sister gave $12. for a pint. All in all maybe a coloring book with the 26 verses of the Bible needs to go with the 4 million study. Start simple and continue to preserve our B. Thanks for everything and all you do. I am still fighting for the security of my sons future farm. Who will be his family and explain the importance of the older generation as times have changed.

Louisburg, NC
4/2/2017 01:10 PM

  I really never noticed bees on my farm until last year when I decided to put lime and fertilzer on my 1 acre clover field. I planted the field for deer and turkeys and other wild life a couple of years back but it never really yielded much until I started feeding it. Anyway I am glad to know I am helping these bees also. I have about 7 more acres I would love to plant clover on and will try to do so an acre at a time if money permits. Not cheap to do it right but I sure love the outcome and I love helping wildlife and now as a bonus I will take great pride in knowing I am helping with the bee population and NC agriculture. We our truly blessed with nature. Any tips will be greatly appreciated.


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