On Friday, June 20, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of $8 million in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) incentives for Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin farmers and ranchers who establish new habitats for declining honey bee populations on their existing CRP acres. These five states are home for more than half of the commercially managed honey bees during the summer and are therefore a critical focus in efforts to restore honey bee habitat.
The new CRP pollinator initiative, administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), is designed to further enhance existing CRP land, allowing for it to provide honey bees with better access to pollinator forage. Through the program, producers can manage or replace existing vegetation with lower cost, high nutrition seed mixes for plants that provide the specific blooming cycles needed to benefit pollinators.
Such habitats will provide honey bees with more blooms from which they can collect nectar and pollen to sustain and promote colony growth and honey production throughout the growing season. Today’s announced CRP pollinator initiative takes advantage of new seed mixes that were developed by NRCS./