Friday, May 20, 2011

Just in from Washington

USDA Grant Develops Network to Monitor Honeybee Health

Washington--The Agriculture Department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced a grant to Pennsylvania State University and several collaborators to develop a nationwide network to monitor and maintain honeybee health.

“Pollinators are valued at more than $18 billion annually in the United States, but in 2009 and 2010, 25 percent of commercial beekeepers lost more than 50 percent of their operations for unknown reasons,” said Roger Beachy, NIFA director. “The project being announced today will examine the issues concerning the health of the pollinators of U.S. crops and establish and deliver best practice strategies directly to producers who need this information the most.”

The overall goal of the $5 million, five-year project is to focus on Extension efforts while expanding upon previous USDA-funded research. The scientists will use an epidemiological approach to determine which management practices most successfully reduce honeybee mortality and increase profitability for beekeepers.

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