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USDA Spending Millions to Improve Honeybee Habitat

Created: 02/25/2014 6:50 PM KAALtv.com
By: Sean Boswell

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The U.S. Department of agriculture will spend millions to help improve honeybee habitat and food supply in five Midwestern states, according to the Associated Press.

Dairy farmers and ranchers in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and the Dakotas can qualify for about $3 million to reseed pastures with alfalfa, clover and other plants appealing to both bees and livestock, according to AP.

Commercial honeybees have declined in population each year in the past decade due to habitat loss and pesticide use.

"They're an integral part of our agricultural system. Without the honeybees we don't have food to eat, up to and including beef, you know if you don't have alfalfa you don't have beef, and the honeybees pollinate the alfalfa, they also pollinate pretty much any flowering plant that we have,” said local beekeeper Andrew Pruett.

Many beekeepers bring hives to the area to gather nectar and pollen for food. The bees then travel West to pollinate various foods.

Commercial honeybees pollinate around $15 billion worth of produce each year, according to AP.