USDA to provide $4 million for honey bee habitat

News Release from USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service

Pollinator Pull QuoteWASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that  more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to help farmers and ranchers in the Midwest improve the health of honey bees, which play an important role in crop production.

“The future of America’s food supply depends on honey bees, and this effort is one way USDA is helping improve the health of honey bee populations,” Vilsack said. “Significant progress has been made in understanding the factors that are associated with Colony Collapse Disorder and the overall health of honey bees, and this funding will allow us to work with farmers and ranchers to apply that knowledge over a broader area.”

An estimated $15 billion worth of crops is pollinated by honey bees, including more than 130 fruits and vegetables. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is focusing the effort on five Midwestern states: Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. This announcement renews and expands a successful $3 million pilot investment that was announced earlier this year and continues to have high levels of interest.  This effort also contributes to the June 2014 Presidential Memorandum – Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, which directs USDA to expand the acreage and forage value in its conservation programs.

Funding will be provided to producers through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Applications are due Friday, November 21.

From June to September, the Midwest is home to more than 65 percent of the commercially managed honey bees in the country. It is a critical time when bees require abundant and diverse forage across broad landscapes to build up hive strength for the winter.

The assistance announced today will provide guidance and support to farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that will provide safe and diverse food sources for honey bees. For example, appropriate cover crops or rangeland and pasture management may provide a benefit to producers by reducing erosion, increasing the health of their soil, inhibiting invasive species, and providing quality forage and habitat for honey bees and other pollinators.

This year, several NRCS state offices are setting aside additional funds for similar efforts, including California – where more than half of all managed honey bees in the U.S. help pollinate almond groves and other agricultural lands – as well as Ohio and Florida.

The 2014 Farm Bill kept pollinators as a high priority, and these conservation efforts are one way USDA is working to help improve pollinator habitat.

USDA is actively pursuing solutions to the multiple problems affecting honey bee health. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) maintains four laboratories across the country conducting research into all aspects of bee genetics, breeding, biology and physiology, with special focus on bee nutrition, control of pathogens and parasites, the effects of pesticide exposure and the interactions between each of these factors. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) supports bee research efforts in Land Grant Universities. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) conducts national honey bee pest and disease surveys and provides border inspections to prevent new invasive bee pests from entering the U.S. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) and NRCS work on improved forage and habitat for bees through programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and EQIP. The Forest Service is restoring, improving, and/or rehabilitating pollinator habitat on the national forests and grasslands and conducting research on pollinators. Additionally, the Economic Research Service (ERS) is currently examining the direct economic costs of the pollinator problem and the associated indirect economic impacts, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts limited surveys of honey production, number of colonies, price, and value of production which provide some data essential for research by the other agencies.

For more on technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or a local USDA service center.

View the original news release online: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/newsroom/releases/?cid=STELPRDB1262944

 

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Why California’s drought-stressed fruit may be better for you – From KQED

climate change dry landBy Sasha Khokha

California’s severe drought is putting stress on everyone these days: the residents whose wells are running dry; the farmers forced to experiment with growing their produce with much less water; and of course, the thirsty fruits and vegetables themselves.

But preliminary research suggests the dryness isn’t hurting the produce’s nutritional value, and with a few added minerals may even boost it.

That’s the tantalizing concept Tiziana Centofanti has been studying at the U.S. Department of Agriculture lab in Parlier, Calif., a sprawling campus of experimental farmland about half an hour south of Fresno.

Centofanti is a research scientist affiliated with the Center for Irrigation Technology at Fresno State. One of the questions she’s asking is how fruit trees react to drought, compared to fruit from trees that get plenty of water.

“My research is about physiological response to stresses,” Centofanti says, “and drought is one of those.”

Some of the pomegranate trees in the orchards at Parlier are pretty stressed out. They’re planted inside a tile ring that constrains their root systems, forcing them to burrow deep into the ground. Centofanti waters them with a solution of salt, boron and selenium; these are natural elements in the soil on many Central Valley farms that are also struggling with drought.

“You will definitely see that these trees are much, much smaller,” she says. They’re actually dwarfish, and the fruit on them is tiny, too.

Centofanti shows me another plot of pomegranates she’s watering with just 35 percent of what a tree normally would drink, and yet another group of trees that are getting half the normal amount of water. These trees all are growing to the usual height but their fruit is cracked, so you can see the pomegranate seeds peeking out like tiny rubies.

Research shows that pomegranates have specific compounds that may reduce swelling and infection, even possibly fight DNA damage and cardiovascular disease. So to see how drought might change that fruit chemistry, Centofanti takes the water-stressed pomegranates into the lab, cuts them and uses a French press to squeeze everything, including the peel, into juice. She shakes that onto a magnetic stirrer, and analyzes it with liquid chromatography.

Preliminary data, she says, confirm her suspicions about drought’s effect on the fruit’s nutritional value.

“Does not affect the fruit quality, so nothing, no differences at all,” Centofanti says, gesturing toward a deep freezer full of fruit samples.

Indeed, so far the results from this study show that the cracked pomegranates grown with much less water still have all the normal antioxidant levels — the same amounts of vitamin C, micronutrients and macronutrients. Same results with the drought-stressed grapes that Centofanti has tested.

But there is one interesting difference about the dwarf pomegranate trees, the ones with constrained roots: The tiny pomegranates grown with the salt, boron and selenium seem to have double the antioxidant content of pomegranates grown under normal conditions. Centofanti and her team still are investigating why the salt and boron produce these results, but they have some ideas.

“Plants, when they are stressed, they tend to produce higher content of phenolics, antioxidants,” Centofanti says. And because salt and boron are toxic for plants, she says, this increased stress appears to be prompting the trees to come out fighting, releasing more protective chemical compounds.

Centofanti and her colleagues plan to submit their findings on grapes and pomegranates for publication early next year, and she is looking into whether there’s a similar effect on peaches. Those trials are still in the early stages, and so far, like the pomegranates, the peaches she has grown with less water are tiny.

The big challenge? Convincing consumers that fruit that’s smaller or cracked might be better for you, and for the environment.

“I believe that if we’re able to market this fruit as environmentally friendly because it uses it less water, and it’s grown in the Central Valley, where we have so much drought problems, consumers will be ready to buy the fruit, because it’s environmentally friendly,” Centofanti says.

She and her fellow researchers at Parlier are hoping to get funding to continue looking at the antioxidant content of fruit grown with less water. They’re not only analyzing pomegranates and peaches, but opuntia cacti and agretti (salsola soda), a gourmet vegetable from Italy that can be watered with salt water.

As The Salt previously has reported, other farmers in California who’ve been experimenting with so-called dry farming, which involves using far less water than normal, have found it can create much sweeter, more flavorful produce.

Meanwhile, researchers in Mexico, Thailand, Taiwan and Spain have managed to grow spicier peppers by giving them less water. But when UC scientists working with jalapeño growers in Santa Clara and San Benito counties tried repeating the experiment, the results were only lukewarm.

Sasha Khokha is central valley bureau chief for KQED’s statewide public radio program, The California Report. A version of this story ran on KQED.org.

View this story on npr.org

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Secretary Ross Joins Ag in the Classroom “Teach the Teachers” event

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross (center) demonstrates the five F's of agriculture--Food,  Fiber, Flower, Forests and Fuel--at a California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom event this month in Santa Cruz. The picture depicts forestry, showing that it helps provide housing.

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross (center) helps demonstrate the five F’s of agriculture–Food, Fiber, Flower, Forests and Fuel–at a California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom event this month in Santa Cruz. The picture depicts the impacts of forests, showing that they help provide housing.

More than 220 California educators and volunteers attended an annual California Agriculture in the Classroom Conference earlier this month to learn about agriculture and connecting Common Core to California crops. The conference, hosted by the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (CFAITC), was held October 16-18 in Santa Cruz County and provided participants with free resources and valuable avenues for teaching Common Core, STEM, and school garden/nutrition lessons.

The program, designed for educators, administrators, and community volunteers, presented opportunities to explore the agricultural industry and enhance existing curriculum with examples and scenarios about food and fiber production. California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross welcomed the group of educators along with Dr. Jim Painter, professor emeritus at Eastern Illinois University. Renee Shepherd, owner of Renee’s Garden, also spoke to the educators and Michael Marks, Your Produce Man, closed the conference with trivia about the more than 400 crops grown in California. Conference participants were able to experience the variety of agriculture at the conference and were able to learn directly from leading agricultural experts.

In her comments, Secretary Ross shared the importance of California agriculture, emphasizing the many things that stem from from agriculture, and helped teach the educators the 5 F’s of agriculture – Food, Fiber, Forests, Flowers, and Fuel.

From cut flowers and strawberries to artichokes and timber, Santa Cruz County is the smallest agriculture producing county in California in land mass and one of the most diverse.

The California Ag in the Classroom conference empowers attendees to return to their classrooms and school communities confident and capable of sharing the importance of agriculture’s significant impact on California and its economy with their students.

CFAITC is a 501(c)(3) organization that works with K-12 grade level teachers, students and community leaders, to enhance education using agricultural examples. The organization’s mission is to increase awareness and understanding of agriculture among California’s educators and students. The ultimate vision of the organization is an appreciation of agriculture by all.

Link to CFAITC news release

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School Lunches: “California Thursdays” Project Launch Follows Success of National School Lunch Week

california_thursdays_hero

A quick quiz:  If you could be a student anywhere in the nation during National School Lunch Week, which state would you choose? Easy answer, right? California!  Students across the nation celebrated this annual observance last week, October 12-18, and of course the California kids had the best spread to choose from. But then, we’re allowed to be a bit biased about things like that at CDFA – in fact, we’re proud of it.

To show our pride, California is taking National School Lunch Week one step further today (October 23) with “California Thursdays,” a partnership at schools throughout the state seeking to serve more healthy, freshly prepared, California-grown fruits and vegetables in cafeterias. The project is a collaboration by the Center for Ecoliteracy (CEL), partner school districts and allied organizations; and will make each Thursday a focal point for featured California-grown menu items at our schools. It’s a great way for students to learn that their state’s agriculture is something to take pride in – and something to take part in as well.

CDFA has provided support for the program with a Specialty Crop Block Grant, and our Office of Farm to Fork is helping participating schools source directly from California growers. I’m pleased to note that Office of Farm to Fork employees will be in Turlock today for the “California Thursdays” event there.

California’s innovative growers, our Mediterranean climate, our rich and varied soils, and all of the other ingredients that our state boasts help to make this the very best place for a student to get a tasty, healthy, nutritious, energy-infusing school lunch. We also have a lot of dedicated, hard-working cooks, chefs, nutritionists, food service professionals and school staff throughout this state who make it their business to put California produce on the menu at our schools. From farmers to administrators, servers and students, it takes all of us to get the job done.

There will be “California Thursdays” rollout events in 15 different school districts: Alvord, Coachella Valley, Conejo Valley, Elk Grove, Hemet, La Honda-Pescadero, Lodi, Los Angeles, Monterey Peninsula, Oakland, Oceanside, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, and Turlock. We look forward to seeing that list grow in the future.

These events are wonderful ways to feature California-grown produce, enrich the lives and the nutrition of our students, and emphasize the natural link between health and education.

 

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USDA launches site to provide climate information to farmers and ranchers

climate_change-1

The USDA has launched a Climate Hubs web site. The new site provides a portal for farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and others to find useful, practical information to help cope with the challenges and stressors caused by a changing climate. The site provides resources related to drought, fire risks, pests and diseases, climate variability, and heat stress, and links users to the network of USDA conservation programs and resources that provide producers with technical and financial assistance to manage risks.

Each region also has its own site. For more information, see the “USDA Climate Hubs Website: Connecting Stakeholders to the Hubs” blog.

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Honeybees stung by drought – from CNBC

Bees

By Mark Koba

There’s very little in California’s agriculture industry that’s been left untouched by the ongoing drought, and bees are no exception.

Besides making honey, bees are crucial to pollinating about one-third of all U.S. crops.

But the drought, heading into a fourth year, is threatening honey production and the ability of beekeepers to make a living in a state that was once the top honey producer in the country.

“My honey production is down about 20 percent from the drought,” said Bill Lewis, president of the California Beekeepers Association.

Lewis, who manages around 50 billion bees in Southern California, explained that the lack of rain has reduced plants that provide food for the bees and the nectar they turn into honey.

Lewis said he’s had to feed his bees much less nutritional food such as sugar water that’s threatening the health of the bees and slowing the generation of honey.

“It doesn’t have the minerals that real food from plants have,” he said. “It’s like putting them on Twinkies.”

Lewis added that feeding the bees this way costs him more but it’s a cost he can’t pass on to consumers.

“Imports of honey keep me from raising my prices,” he said. “It’s a real challenge, financially.”

Commodity Cutbacks

In 2003, California was the top honey producer in the U.S., but it has since fallen behind North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and Florida. And according to the Department of Agriculture, California’s honey crop fell from 27.5 million pounds in 2010 to about 10.9 million pounds in 2013, or less than 5 percent of the country’s yearly $317 million crop.

But beyond honey production is bees’ crucial role in the pollination of numerous crops, like plums, strawberries, melons, lemons, broccoli and almonds.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of bees to our industry,” said Bob Curtis, associate director of agricultural affairs at the Almond Board of California. “The drought has decreased forage for bees within California, and ensuring a variety of forage is a long-term challenge.”

Leading Production States

State
Pounds Produced
Dollar Value of Production
North Dakota 33,120,000 $67,565,000
Montana 14,946,000 $31,088,000
South Dakota 14,840,000 $30,570,000
Florida 13,420,000 $27,377,000
California 10,890,000 $22,869,000
Source: US Department of Agriculture

 

Pollination also is a revenue source for beekeepers, but a lack of irrigation water has left many fields empty. An estimated 420,000 acres of farmland went unplanted this year—about 5 percent of the total in the state. That means that fewer farmers are renting hives and beekeepers have less income.

“I’ve had to raise my prices to farmers who do rent, which hasn’t been easy,” said the California Beekeepers Association’s Lewis.

“If we don’t get any water, there will be more cutbacks on commodities,” said Eric Mussen, a professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis. “And that will affect bees, honey production and pollination of crops going forward.”

Call for help

As bad as the situation in California is—80 percent of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought—the Almond Board’s Curtis said the lack of rainfall has not prevented almond growers from getting sufficient bee pollination so far.

But the drought is just one hazard making honeybees suffer. Beehive losses worldwide have increased over the years due to pesticides, parasites and colony collapse disorder, by which adult bees disappear from colonies due to various causes.

However, for Lewis, the drought is enough of a crisis to make a plea for help, even if it means using more water.

“It’s devastating,” Lewis said. “What people can do here is plant flowers wherever there’s dirt. The bees need them.”

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Rice growers wrap up drought-impacted harvest – from Capital Press

RICE HARVEST 1

By Tim Hearden

WILLIAMS, Calif. — As rice growers in California wrap up their harvest of a drought-diminished crop, good yields and more widespread sales of rice straw are helping them to at least partly make up for lost acreage.

 

The rice harvest was 85 percent complete as of Oct. 19, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Leo LaGrande, a grower here, finished work over the weekend and said his yields deteriorated as the season went along.

“We had some fields that looked good earlier and we thought it would be better, but it didn’t quite mature to the yields we wanted,” he said. “I would call it an average year for us.”

But yields remained strong for Marysville, Calif., grower Charley Mathews, who also finished harvesting last weekend, he said. Good weather during crop development led to rice that grew tall and went flat, making for slow going during harvest, he said.

“It helps,” Mathews said of the big yields. “The yields might be up ahead of last year’s state average, but not enough to close the gap in our shortfall (in acreage).”

California rice growers are expected to produce 36.8 million hundredweight, down 23 percent from last year, NASS estimated. About 140,000 acres of rice went unplanted this year because of water shortfalls — a 25 percent decrease from last year’s crop, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.

LaGrande had to leave about one-quarter of his land unplanted, he said.

“We thought we were very fortunate because some of our neighbors had to leave 100 percent out,” he said.

However, the yield forecast of 8,000 pounds per acre would be a 1 percent increase from last year and would tie records set in 2004 and 2008, according to NASS’ office in Sacramento.

The optimistic outlook for yields follows a spring planting season that was more drawn-out than usual because exchange contractors along the Sacramento River agreed to space out their water delivery schedules to maintain the right river temperatures for winter run salmon.

Rice is typically planted between mid-April and mid-May, with harvests coming six months later, but many growers didn’t get started until mid-May and were still planting in June. Those that were still harvesting this week ran into a rainstorm on Oct. 20 that stopped their work.

While farmers welcome the rain, their water worries aren’t over. Many are unsure if there will be enough water to decompose rice straw left in fields.

Willows, Calif., grower Larry Maben may pump water from wells into his fields after harvest if there isn’t enough rain, which is “an awfully expensive source of water,” he said.

“It’s going to be kind of a balancing act,” Maben said.

With not as much water available for decomposition, more producers are baling and selling straw “than I’ve ever seen,” said Mathews, who’s on the USA Rice Federation’s executive committee.

University of California researchers reached out to growers this summer to promote converting their rice straw into “strawlage,” a feed that the scientists say is on a par with a low-quality alfalfa. UC Cooperative Extension advisors said the straw would be a good alternative for livestock producers confronted with feed shortages because of the drought.

The straw can also be used for erosion control in forest fire recovery projects, Mathews said. While decomposition helps the soil, growers can make up for the lack of straw by adding nutrients before planting next spring, he said.

LaGrande said he’ll probably bale 60 percent of his rice straw, the majority of which will be fed to cattle.

“It’s huge,” he said. “I think the dairy industry is grabbing onto it more every year. And this year with the drought, some cattlemen who really never tried rice straw before are buying into it. At $300 a ton for alfalfa or $40 a ton for rice straw, you’re going to try it.”

Link to story

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USDA to Launch New Farm Bill Program to Help Provide Relief to Farmers Affected by Severe Weather

2014 Farm Bill’s APH Yield Exclusion to be Implemented for 2015 Spring Crops

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2014 – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the implementation of a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. The Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion, available nationwide for farmers of select crops starting next spring, allows eligible producers who have been hit with severe weather to receive a higher approved yield on their insurance policies through the federal crop insurance program.

Spring crops eligible for APH Yield Exclusion include corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, grain sorghum, rice, barley, canola, sunflowers, peanuts, and popcorn. Nearly three-fourths of all acres and liability in the federal crop insurance program will be covered under APH Yield Exclusion.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency and Farm Service Agency staff worked hard to implement several 2014 Farm Bill programs ahead of schedule, such as the Agricultural Risk Coverage, the Price Loss Coverage, Supplemental Coverage Option and Stacked Income Protection Plan. USDA is now able to leverage data from the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage to extract the information needed to implement APH Yield Exclusion earlier than expected.

“Key programs launched or extended as part of the 2014 Farm Bill are essential to USDA’s commitment to help rural communities grow. These efforts give farmers, ranchers and their families better security as they work to ensure Americans have safe and affordable food,” said Vilsack. “By getting other 2014 Farm Bill programs implemented efficiently, we are now able to offer yield exclusion for Spring 2015 crops, providing relief to farmers impacted by severe weather.”

The APH Yield Exclusion allows farmers to exclude yields in exceptionally bad years (such as a year in which a natural disaster or other extreme weather occurs) from their production history when calculating yields used to establish their crop insurance coverage. The level of insurance coverage available to a farmer is based on the farmer’s average recent yields. In the past, a year of particularly low yields that occurred due to severe weather beyond the farmer’s control would reduce the level of insurance coverage available to the farmer in future years. By excluding unusually bad years, farmers will not have to worry that a natural disaster will reduce their insurance coverage for years to come.

Under the new Farm Bill program, yields can be excluded from farm actual production history when the county average yield for that crop year is at least 50 percent below the 10 previous consecutive crop years’ average yield.

RMA will provide additional program details in December 2014.

Federal crop insurance, which is sold through private crop insurance agents, offers a variety of options that may impact coverage and premium costs. Producers are encouraged to work with their crop insurance agent to determine the coverage that best meets their risk management needs. Farmers can find a crop insurance agent in their area at: www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agent.html.

Today’s announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

View original release online: USDA News Release #0233.14

Contact the USDA Office of Comunications: (202) 720-4623

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Growing California video series – Acres of Ambition

The next segment in the Growing California video series, a partnership with California Grown, is “Acres of Ambition,” a  profile of a program in Salinas training farmworkers to become farmers.

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Almond Board of California introduces best practices for bees

Bees

As part of an ongoing commitment to honey bee health, the Almond Board of California released a comprehensive, set of Honey Bee Best Management Practices (BMPs) for California’s almond industry. Developed with a wide array of input from sources including the almond community, beekeepers, researchers, California and U.S. regulators, and chemical registrants, the BMPs represent the Board’s most extensive educational documents to date to ensure that almond orchards are and remain a safe and healthy place for honey bees. The documents lay out simple, practical steps that almond growers can take together with beekeepers and other pollination stakeholders to protect and promote bee health on their land and in the surrounding community.

(The) release builds on decades of work by the almond industry. Since 1995, the Almond Board of California has invested almost $1.6 million – more than any other crop – on research related to honey bee health, on subjects including Varroa mite and other honey bee pest and disease management, nutrition and honey bee forage, impact of pesticides, and technical assistance for beekeepers. Almond orchards are often honey bees first source of natural pollen after the winter, and honey bee hives routinely leave the almond orchard stronger than they arrived.1

“Nobody is a bigger fan of honey bees than almond growers. Without bees, there would be no almonds. And without almonds, bees would lose a vital source of nutritious natural pollen,” said Richard Waycott, CEO of the Almond Board of California. “These Best Management Practices are another significant milestone in our decades-long commitment to protect bee health and preserve that mutually beneficial relationship.”

“With these Best Management Practices, the Almond Board is responding strongly on honey bee health and, in particular, pesticide use and considerations during bloom,” said Dr. Eric Mussen, UC Davis Extension Apiculturist Emeritus. “Their recommendations actually go far beyond the almond orchard, providing important insights for all crops when it comes to promoting honey bee health.”

The BMPs emphasize the importance of communication among everyone involved in pollination, including beekeepers, bee brokers, farm owners/lessees, farm managers, pest control advisers and applicators. The wide ranging recommendations include information on:

  • Preparing for honey bee arrival;
  • Assessing hive strength and quality;
  • Providing clean water for bees to drink;
  • Using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies to minimize agricultural sprays;
  • Removing honey bees from the orchard; and
  • Addressing suspected pesticide-related honey bee losses

While experts have attributed honey bee health decline to a variety of factors including pests, decreasing sources of natural pollen, and lack of genetic diversity, the BMPs focus significantly on pesticide application practices and considerations during almond bloom – with lessons that apply to the multitude of other crops that rely on honey bees and that use pesticides and fungicides.2 Among the specific recommendations:

  1. There should be agreement between beekeeper and grower on a pesticide plan that outlines which pest control materials may be used.
  2. Insecticide applications should be avoided at bloom until more is known about their impact on young developing bees in the hive (bee brood).
  3. Tank mixing insecticides with fungicides should be avoided.
  4. If fungicide application is needed during bloom, it should take place in the late afternoon and evening, when bees and pollen are not present. This avoids contaminating pollen with spray materials.

Along with the full Best Management Practices, (the) release includes a Honey Bee Best Management Practices Quick Guide for Almonds, and Applicator/Driver Honey Bee Best Management Practices Quick Guide for Almonds. The guide for applicators and drivers is available in both English and Spanish to ensure maximum accessibility and adoption. Each of the documents is available in full atwww.Almonds.com/BeeBMPs.

Link to news release

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