Friday, January 10, 2014

$500K for projects to reduce risks to bees

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded $500,000 in agricultural grants to the Louisiana State University, the University of Vermont and the Pennsylvania State University. From the original article ($500K for projects to reduce risks to bees):

The Louisiana State University project to minimize impacts to bees from insecticides used in mosquito control. Mosquito control is critical for public health; however, insecticides can be hazardous to bees. Bees are essential for crop production and ensuring a healthy food supply. Practices and guidelines resulting from the project will be distributed to mosquito control districts and beekeepers throughout the U.S.
The University of Vermont project to reduce pesticide use and improve pest control while increasing crop yields on 75 acres of hops in the Northeast. The awardees will also develop and distribute outreach materials to help farmers adopt these practices. The project’s goal is to reduce herbicide and fungicide applications by 50 percent while decreasing downy mildew, a plant disease.
The Pennsylvania State University project to protect bees and crops by reducing reliance on neonicotinoid pesticide seed treatments and exploring the benefits of growing crops without them. IPM in no-till grain fields will be used to control slugs and other pests that damage corn and soybeans. Researchers will share their findings with mid-Atlantic growers and agricultural professionals.

I am in corn and soybean country, so the Pennsylvania State University's project is the most interesting, provided the IPM approach is cheaper than the good ole' spay'em and forget'em approach. I do have to say that the farmers that are close to my apiary sites are very mindful of the bees and give me the courtesy call before spraying.

Will any of those projects impact the agriculture around you? Would you like the EPA to fund a different project? Care to share?