New Program Seeks Growers To Help Curb Declining Bee Population
Submitted by: FINN PARTNERS
U.S. Bee Buffer Project is Providing Bee Forage Kits to California & North Carolina Land Owners
San Francisco, CA (OPENPRESS) The U.S. Bee Buffer Project, a Pollinator Partnership (P2) initiative, is immediately seeking 300 farmers, ranchers and foresters in California and North Carolina to set aside small plots of land as bee buffer zones. The soon-to-be-established honey bee forage supports pollination-reliant crops, which represents one-third of the food we eat.
"Honey bees play an integral role in the success of American agriculture," says Laurie Adams, executive director at the Pollinator Partnership. "By fostering the health and growth of bee colonies, farmers are helping to enrich their crops and, ultimately, improve their bottom line."
Why Bees? Why Now?
Honey bees are valuable to the nation's crops and economics, contributing approximately $15 billion to the U.S. economy each year. Still, U.S. bees are having trouble finding food to store for winter months; 2012-2013 winter losses totaled more than 30 percent of honey bee colonies nationwide.
Specific to California's economy agribusiness community, the state's high-value crops requiring extensive pollination include:
- Almonds annual state crop value 4,347,200,000 (U.S. dollars)
- Berries annual state crop value 2,121,574,000 (U.S. dollars)
- Avocados annual state crop value 386,449,000 (U.S. dollars)
Specific to North Carolina's economy and agribusiness community, the state's high-value crops requiring extensive pollination include:
- Blueberries annual state crop value 131,200,000 (U.S. dollars)
- Apples annual state crop value 50,226,000 (U.S. dollars)
- Cucumbers annual state crop value 16,422,000 (U.S. dollars)
- Peaches annual state crop value 5,980,000 (U.S. dollars)
- Squash annual state crop value 4,559,000 (U.S. dollars)
Bee buffer zones help to offset losses for the bee industry while improving the health of crops and orchards within four miles.
"We are excited to work with California farmers to improve bee habitat across the state," says Bill Lewis, President of the California State Beekeepers Association and U.S. Bee Buffer beekeeper partner. "This initiative is vital to encouraging a healthy pollinator habitat that results in a vibrant and diverse forage base for bee pollinators throughout the state, which is critically important to sustaining healthy bee colonies."
Save bees. Protect crops. Help yourself.
I started beekeeping on our farm in effort to help bees in our area and do something good for area farmers, as well as future generations," says Tom Hendrickson of Bennett Bunn Plantation in Zebulon, North Carolina. "We have since expanded our bee yard and now also use our hives as a learning lab in cooperation with the 5 County Beekeepers Association."
"We are very eager to participate in the U. S. Bee Buffer Project; the benefits far outweigh the small amount of time and resources it takes to maintain our bee buffer," Hendrickson adds.
Land owners in California and North Carolina willing to dedicate and maintain .25 to 3 acres collectively impacting 6,000 acres for an official bee buffer zone, can apply for the U.S. Bee Buffer Project. Those selected will receive free flower seed kits to plant in their buffers.
To learn more, reference the U.S. Bee Buffer Frequently Asked Questions. To review eligibility requirements and complete participant application, visit http://beebuffer.com/.
The U.S. Bee Buffer Project is sponsored in part by The Burt's Bees® Greater Good Foundation.
WHAT IS A BEE BUFFER?
A strip of land alongside crops full of pollinator plants creating vital, nutritious bee habitats. The buffer allows bees to forage on the plentiful nutrition in the diverse buffer areas, while also pollinating adjacent crops. Research has shown a little Bee Buffer can go a long wayjust one acre of pollinator-friendly plants is enough to impact 33 acres of farmland, together offering bees a broad expanse of diverse forage.
Burt's Bees® has been offering distinctive earth-friendly, natural health and beauty care products for 30 years. From a beekeeper's backyard in Maine to the leading edge of natural, Burt's Bees knows natural body care solutions from head-to-toe and operates with The Greater Good™ top of mind. No parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or SLS and no animal testing.