June 20, 2014

USDA provides $8 million to boost honey bee population

Did you know? North Dakota is the top state in the U.S. for honey production.

That's right, the barren tundra known as North Dakota produces the most honey. And they're about to get some assistance along with their Midwestern neighbors to help boost the declining honey bee population.

Today the USDA announced they'd be giving $8 million in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) incentives to farmers in the following states:
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin
"American agricultural production relies on having a healthy honey bee population," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "In recent years, factors such as diseases, parasites, pesticides or habitat loss have contributed to a significant decline in the honey bee population. This $8 million is part of the Administration's ongoing strategy to reverse these trends and establish more plant habitat on Conservation Reserve Program lands to restore the bee population."
The $8 million will serve for establishing new habitats to combat the declining honey bee populations and hopefully promote growth. Earlier this year, the USDA designated $3 million to the Midwest. And earlier this week, President Obama urged U.S. government agencies to take to protect and restore domestic populations of pollinators, including honey bees. The priorities of our country are finally changing and recognizing the serious consequences if honey bees become extinct. To put it in two words, NO FOOD.

Did you know? According to the USDA, the number of managed honey bee colonies in the U.S. has dropped from 6 million in 1947 to 2.5 million today.

In 2005 the USDA reported 2.4 million managed colonies (in comparison to 2.5 today), so it appears there has been a slight stabilization in honey bee population, but the fear of a continued decline still lingers.
Photo from http://starsenior.wikispaces.com/Colony+Collapse

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