Senator Stabenow Applauds Support to Protect Honeybees in Michigan

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today applauded the announcement that the American Farmland Trust in Lansing will receive $306,118 to support the recovery of bees and other pollinators critical to growing many Michigan crops. This support, which comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Innovation Grants program, will protect pollinators like honeybees, insects, and birds. Funding for the Conservation Innovation Grants program comes from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which was reauthorized by Senator Stabenow's 2014 Farm Bill.

"Michigan's fruit and vegetable growers rely on honeybees and other insects to ensure and maintain a safe, abundant food supply for our nation," said Senator Stabenow. "Thanks to support in my bipartisan 2014 Farm Bill, farmers across the country have access to conservation tools to help the declining honeybee population recover and keep our agricultural economy healthy and strong."

Through a "Payment for Ecosystem Services" program, this support will offer incentives to farmers who manage their land in a way that's safe for pollinators, which play a key role in Michigan's thriving agricultural economy. This support will help the American Farmland Trust work with approximately 15 businesses to protect and establish at least 40 acres of habitat for pollinators by generating pollinator credits on protected farmland. This support will also help train farmers to put in place conservation practices on their land.

More than 130 fruits and vegetables depend on honeybees alone for pollination, but habitat loss, diseases, parasites, and pesticides have caused the population to decline significantly. Senator Stabenow's 2014 Farm Bill has helped landowners target beneficial pollinators through conservation programs and practices, including planting cover crops.

This funding is part of a $20.5 million USDA investment in 45 projects across the country to develop and advance the conservation of natural resources. A full list of projects can be found here.