USDA Funds Available for Honey Bee Habitat Improvement
EAST LANSING, April 11, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of conservation financial assistance for farmers and forest landowners to improve food sources for honey bees on private lands in Michigan. Applications submitted to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service by May 17, 2019, will be eligible for the current funding cycle.
Selected applicants will utilize conservation financial assistance to boost available food for honey bees by planting wildflowers, native grasses and cover crops like buckwheat, mustard, clover and field pea to provide high value food for honey bees. Cover crops also increase soil nutrients, break pest cycles and increase organic matter in the soil. The USDA also works with landowners to ensure pasturelands include a good variety of legumes, forbs and shrubs that also provide pollen and nectar. Land enrolled in the program must be within one mile of at least five honey bee hives.
These conservation improvements not only benefit the bees, they also strengthen agricultural operations, support other beneficial insects and wildlife, and improve other natural resources. Appropriate cover crops and better pasture management reduce erosion, increase soil health, inhibit the expansion of invasive species and provide food and habitat for insects and wildlife.
More information about the Honey Bee initiative and other USDA conservation programs is available at local USDA Service Centers or at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.