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La Crosse releases seeds purchasable from USDA grant

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Two new mixes will help bees and are subsidized by the USDA.

| June 2, 2014

Following the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement earlier this year of a nearly $3 million grant for farmers who employ practices that aid bees’ health via pollination, La Crosse seed is now offering two different mixes designed to meet the USDA’s pollinator requirements.

The grant will be available to farmers located in Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. These states were chosen for the fact that they are the summer resting ground for approximately 65 percent of honeybees, according to the USDA.

“Bees and other pollinators are responsible for aiding and expanding many of the forage and conservation seeds utilized in our region,” said Scott Wohltman, cover crop lead for La Crosse Seed. “It only makes sense to have these mixes available to the landowners who want to make a difference.”

Funding for the grant came from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to promote practices that will nurture honey bees with pollen and nectar.

According to a USDA press release, recent studies have shown that beekeepers are losing roughly 30 percent of their honeybee colonies each year, up from 15 to 20 percent in 2006.
"Honey bee pollination supports an estimated $15 billion worth of agricultural production, including more than 130 fruits and vegetables that are the foundation of a nutritious diet,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The future security of America's food supply depends on healthy honey bees.”

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