Save the Bees

Dan Alabama, Florida, General, Georgia

beesWithout bees there would be no berries, fruits, vegetables, almonds and other tree nuts. Cathy Isom tells us about the new project underway aimed at saving bees and other pollinators.

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From: American Farmland Trust

Save the Bees

by Kirsten Ferguson, Senior Writer & Editor at American Farmland Trust

We need bees to survive. Without them, we would not be able to produce a number of crops—including berries, fruits, vegetables, almonds and other tree nuts. One in every three bites of food that we eat comes from crops pollinated by bees.

bees on citrus bloomBut we’ve all seen the headlines about how bees and other insect pollinators are in trouble. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the total number of managed honey bee colonies in the U.S. decreased from five million in the 1940s to only 2.5 million today.

What’s causing the decline? Scientists have yet to pinpoint the cause for sure, but studies point to multiple factors, including climate change, pesticides, disease and habitat loss.

A new project by American Farmland Trust is enlisting conserved farms in the fight to help save bees and other pollinators.

With a Conservation Innovation Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, we are establishing an innovative program in Michigan that supports farmers who provide pollinator habitat on protected land.

Farms can help native bees by enhancing and protecting the flowering plants and nest sites that pollinators feed on year-round. Other conservation practices that help bees include minimizing tillage, reducing the use of pesticides and protecting natural areas around farms.

The AFT program will help farms pay for the cost of such practices by allowing them to achieve “pollinator credits” that can be sold to businesses around Michigan that depend on bees, such as food companies. Read the full article.