U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today applauded the announcement that Michigan is among five states that will receive $8 million to help farmers and ranchers establish new habitats for declining honey bee populations. Honey bees, which have been declining for years, are a crucial part of Michigan's thriving agricultural economy. More than 130 fruits and vegetables depend on honey bees for pollination, but diseases, parasites, pesticides and habitat loss have caused the population to decline significantly.
Senator Stabenow said: "Honey bees are a vital part of ensuring a healthy agricultural economy in Michigan and maintaining a safe, abundant food supply for our nation. Thanks to the support in my bipartisan 2014 Farm Bill, farmers across Michigan and the Midwest have access to tools to help the bee population recover and keep our agricultural economy growing."
Terry Toland, President of the Michigan Beekeepers' Association, said: "Michigan Beekeepers' Association is very pleased that Chairwoman Stabenow and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recognize the problems that Michigan beekeepers are having and how important honeybees are to the environment, agriculture and how both interact with our economy."
The support is made possible by the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in Senator Stabenow's bipartisan 2014 Farm Bill, which was signed in Michigan earlier this year. CRP is a land conservation program that pays farmers to use their land in a way that improves water quality, prevents soil erosion and preserves wildlife habitat.
In addition to Michigan, ranchers and farmers in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin will receive support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.