USDA has announced an $8 million addition to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to be awarded to growers in five Midwestern states who establish new habitats for honey bees. The states, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, are where more than half of the commercially managed honey bees spend the summer.
This new funding is in addition to $3 million USDA designated to these states to support bee populations earlier this year through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
The new CRP pollinator initiative is designed to further enhance CRP land so that it provides better access to nutritious pollinator forage. The program allows for managing or replacing existing vegetation, or covers, with lower-cost, highly nutritious seed mixes that can support distinct blooming cycles of plants that benefit pollinators.
The pollinator seed mixes to be used were developed by the NRCS.