During National Pollinator Week, USDA Announces Key Measures to Improve Pollinator Health
WASHINGTON–Today, during National Pollinator Week and in advance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's seventh annual Pollinator Week Festival, the USDA is announcing two initiatives in support of the President's National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honeybees and Other Pollinators, announced just over one year ago. A review of USDA's most popular conservation program found that farmers and ranchers across the country are creating at least 15 million acres of healthy forage and habitat for pollinators, and the department has also entered into a new partnership with leading honey bee organizations that will help to ensure future conservation projects continue to provide benefits to these important species.
"Pollinators are small but mighty creatures who need our help as much as we need theirs, and that is why USDA is dedicating resources from all corners of our department to boost their habitat and better understand how to protect them," said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. "In addition to creating healthy habitat and food for pollinators through our conservation work, USDA research is leading to breakthroughs in pollinator survival that may reverse the declines we've seen over the past few decades. We look forward to continued collaboration with America's beekeepers and honey producers to ensure this work is meaningful and effective."
USDA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with two honey bee organizations, the American Honey Producers Association and the American Beekeeping Federation, to facilitate an ongoing partnership that will ensure USDA's conservation initiatives are as advantageous as possible to pollinators and that beekeepers understand how they can benefit from USDA's conservation and safety net programs. For several years, USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have worked closely with these groups and others to help improve habitat for honeybees and other pollinators in various conservation programs. The National Strategy emphasized the need for public-private partnerships like this one to expeditiously expand pollinator-health initiatives to achieve the scale necessary to make meaningful and long-term improvements.