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USDA has many opportunities to support World Honeybee Day

DAVIS, Calif., August 20, 2021—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) helps producers interested in establishing and managing pollinator habitat. USDA programs can help you every step of the way. We have programs to help conserve pollinator habitat, protect your investments, and recover from disasters impacting your operation. Specifically, managed honeybees are important to American agriculture because they pollinate a wide variety of crops, contributing to food diversity, security, and profitability. Honeybees pollinate $15 billion worth of crops each year, including more than 130 fruits and vegetables.   

Assistance for Pollinator Habitat

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial assistance to help producers provide safe and diverse food sources for honeybees.  For example, NRCS helps producers implement voluntary conservation practices such as planting cover crops, planting wildflowers and native grasses in buffers and areas not in production, and improving management of grazing lands. In total, more than three dozen NRCS conservation practices provide benefits to pollinators like honeybees. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provide assistance to help implement these practices. 

“Together with our partners, we help farmers and ranchers plant hedgerows – a line of closely spaced flowering trees, shrubs and plants that provide food and shelter for pollinators and beneficial insects like the honeybee,” said Carlos Suarez, NRCS State Conservationist in California. 

NRCS programs encourage producers to plant appropriate grasses, wildflowers, trees and shrubs to establish wildlife habitat, diverse pasture and rangelands, filter strips or riparian buffers. Voluntary conservation lands offer tremendous benefits to pollinators that require diverse floral blooms over the entire growing season as well as safe placement of honeybee colonies. Learn more about how we are protecting pollinators on our website

Assistance for Honeybees

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which encourages farmers to convert highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative cover. Additionally, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides assistance to honeybee producers for losses due to an eligible adverse weather or loss condition. 

“Eligible honeybees include bees housed in a managed hive and used for honey production, pollination or honeybee breeding,” said Jacque Johnson, FSA’s Acting State Executive Director. “ELAP covers damage to hives and feed that was purchased or produced, including additional feed purchased above normal quantities to sustain honeybees until such time that additional feed becomes available.”   

Assistance for Honey

USDA’s FSA also administers the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) provides financial assistance to producers of noninsurable crops to protect against natural disasters that result in lower yields or crop losses or prevents crop planting. Under NAP, eligible honey includes table and non-table honey produced commercially for human consumption. Basic 50/55 Coverage -  equivalent at 50 percent of a producer’s approved yield and 55 percent of the average market price. (Must have greater than 50 percent loss for payment.) Available for a $325 service fee per crop per administrative county. All honey is considered a single crop regardless of type or variety of floral source, intended use, or where the honey is produced.  Buy-up coverage levels - Coverage is available from 50 percent to 65 percent of the approved yield, in 5 percent increments, at 100 percent of the average market price. Producers must have successfully grown the crop in a prior year to be eligible for buy-up coverage. Honey producers selecting buy-up coverage must pay the $325 service fee in addition to a premium.  

Producers who qualify as beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged, or veteran farmers or ranchers are eligible for a service fee waiver and a 50 percent reduction of buy-up premium. The NAP application closing date for honey is December 31 of the prior calendar year. Producers must timely file acreage (colony) reports and production records by reporting pounds of honey produced per colony of bees per crop year.   

When a natural disaster occurs, a Notice of Loss must be filed within 15 calendar days of the date of the disaster. Losses will be calculated by multiplying the producer’s highest number of eligible colonies reported at any time in the crop year times the producer’s approved yield and subtracting the producer’s total actual and assigned production of honey from all the producer’s colonies. Producers requesting payment must file an application for payment no later than March 1 of the subsequent calendar year.  

Assistance for Your Business

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) administers the Apiculture Pilot Insurance Rainfall Index Program (API) which provides a safety net for beekeepers’ primary income sources – honey, pollen collection, wax, and breeding stock. You can buy an API policy from a crop insurance agent by the sales closing date for your county. Apiculture systems consist of different types of plants or crops and often contain mixtures of different species, each with different growth habits and seasons, precipitation requirements, and other climate conditions necessary to maintain plant growth over extended periods of time. API was designed to provide maximum flexibility to cover these diverse situations. 

“Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) also provides a safety net for all commodities on the farm under one insurance policy,” said Jeff Yasui, RMA’s Director. “You can buy WFRP policy from a crop insurance agent by the sales closing date for your county.” 

USDA supports farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and partners through voluntary conservation practices that work for individual landowners and communities and are effective, equitable, and enduring. Together, we are providing safe and diverse food sources for honeybees through a variety of conservation practices. Happy World Honeybee Day!  

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