Demonstrating the value of honey bees, Virginia’s state government has allocated $125,000 for another year of grants to encourage new beehive construction.
The annual grants have come since 2012 in response to the alarming trend of bees dying from colony collapse, parasites, pesticides, and disease. Bees and other pollinators are vitally important to the agricultural industry and our food supply.
Residents of Virginia, at least 18 years of age, who either purchase a new hive or purchase materials or supplies to construct a new hive may apply for a grant from the Beehive Grant Fund. Each grant shall be in the amount of actual expenses incurred for the purchase of items to establish a new hive up to $200 per hive, not to exceed $2,400 per individual per year. (Watch the video below)
$8 million in incentives were designated for Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin farmers and ranchers who establish new habitats for bees. More than half of the commercially managed honey bees are in these five states during the summer. The allocation comes in addition to $3 million designated to the Midwest states to support bee populations earlier this year.
USDA says the program encourages the management or replacing of existing vegetation, known as ‘cover’ or forage, with high nutrition seed mixes that can support distinct blooming cycles of plants that benefit pollinators. Honey bees, the pollinator workhorse of U.S. fruit and vegetable agriculture, will have more blooms from which to collect nectar and pollen to sustain and promote colony growth and honey production throughout the growing season.
With more than 130 fruits and vegetable crops depending on the health and well-being of honey bees, President Obama issued a memorandum on June 20 directing U.S. government agencies to take additional steps to protect and restore domestic pollinators. A new Pollinator Health Task Force was established to focus federal efforts, conduct research and take action to help pollinators recover from population losses.
WATCH the video below…
Top Photo by Christian Guthier – CC license