Hoeven Announces $4 Million in USDA Funding for Midwest Honey Bee Habitat Assistance

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide $4 million in funding to farmers and ranchers in North Dakota and four additional Midwest states to help improve the health of honey bee populations. As a member of the Senate Agriculture and Appropriations Committees, Hoeven has worked to provide funding and support for programs to help prevent declines in pollinator populations.

“North Dakota leads the nation in the production of honey,” said Hoeven. “Honey bees are crucial to the agriculture industry, and this program will help to improve the health of these important pollinators in North Dakota and the Midwest.”

As a member Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Hoeven continues to work to secure funds that protect pollinator health through research and programs for farmers and ranchers, such as the Pollinator Health Initiative and pollinator research funds within the Agriculture Research Service (ARS). In May, the Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2015 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, which included an increase of $4 million for research into bee health within USDA ARS, in addition to encouraging increased prioritization of pollinator and Colony Collapse Disorder research proposals within the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). As a farm bill conferee, Hoeven also worked to include strong pollinator health programs in the 2014 Farm Bill.

The funding announced today will be available to producers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin and will assist producers in implementing practices to provide honey bees with safe and diverse food sources. The funding today builds on a $3 million pilot investment that USDA announced earlier this year.

Applications for funding, which will be provided to farmers and ranchers through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), are due Friday, November 21.

In June, Hoeven announced $8 million in funding for Midwest farmers and ranchers to establish new habitats for declining honey bee populations.