Hoeven Announces $8 Million in USDA Honey Bee Conservation Incentives for Farmers and Ranchers in Upper Midwest

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing $8 million in incentives through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for farmers and ranchers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin who establish new habitats for declining honey bee populations. These funds come in addition to the $3 million designated for the Midwest by the USDA through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in February.

“North Dakota is the nation’s number one producer of honey,” Hoeven said. “Honey bees also play a vitally important role in U.S. agriculture, pollinating over one hundred different types of crops. Through this new CRP pollinator initiative, farmers and ranchers can enhance current CRP land by providing better access to nutritious pollinator forage, which supports colony growth and honey production.”

As a member Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Hoeven is working 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). Specifically, in May, the full 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). The senator also served on the Senate-House Conference Committee that negotiated the final version of the new five-year farm bill.