Funding available through USDA for South Dakota honey bee habitat

Farm Forum

RAPID CITY – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance is available to Midwest farmers and ranchers to improve honey bee habitat.

This funding provides producers guidance and support to implement conservation practices that will create safe and diverse food sources for honey bees.

“Honey bees play a vital role in South Dakota crop production,” said Bob Reiners, South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) apiary specialist. “Our state is home to 324,682 colonies maintained by 228 beekeepers on 6,748 locations across the state. In 2013, these colonies produced 14,840,000 pounds of honey with a value of $30,570,000. In recent years, we have run into decreasing numbers due to colony collapse disorder. This USDA initiative will also provide additional benefits to native pollinators.”

Local staff and technical specialists with the NRCS can help develop a plan to address resource concerns. Now is the time to contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office to begin developing a good conservation plan on your farm or ranch or, visit Funding is provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and applications are due Friday, Nov. 21.