Farmers Get $3 Million To Help Feed Bees
The USDA is offering $3 Million dollars in bee lunch money to farmers in five states – Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Farmers who qualify can use this money to improve and reseed pastures with bee friendly forage including alfalfa and clover. These 5 states were chosen because a majority of the nation’s large commercial beekeepers bring hives there at some point during the season before they are trucked off to pollinate other crops such as almonds, apples and avocados.
The decline in commercial honey bees due to habitat loss, pesticide use, pests and diseases has threatened agricultural production in the US. By providing more habitat for bees, the USDA is hoping they will build up their food stores and nutrition and have a better chance for survival. According to Madison.com “Under the new USDA honey plan, farmers in the five states who raise corn and soybean can qualify for money to plant cover crops, which typically go in after the regular harvest and help improve soil health, or to grow bee-friendly forage in borders and on the edges of fields.”
This is a great start to rebuilding bee friendly habitat! Now if we can just get money for bees in the other 45 states, that’s when things will really improve. Imagine how different the landscape would be if farmers across the US were paid to plant for bees?