Nov. 18 — As federal agencies develop a nationwide strategy to reverse a dramatic decline in the number of pollinator insects, a pair of recent public forums revealed deep disagreements among the issue's stakeholders: beekeepers, farmers, environmental activists and chemical companies.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA today announced that nearly 2,500 applicants will receive disaster assistance through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) for losses suffered from Oct. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30, 2013.
The program, re-authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides disaster relief to livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs. Eligible losses may include excessive heat or winds, flooding, blizzards, hail, wildfires, lightning strikes, volcanic eruptions, and diseases, or in the case of honeybees, losses due to colony collapse disorder. Beekeepers, most of whom suffered honeybee colony losses, represent more than half of ELAP recipients.
"As promised, we're making sure that thousands of producers who suffered through two and a half difficult years without Farm Bill assistance, are getting some relief," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Once the Farm Bill was restored, not only did we implement the disaster assistance programs in record time, we're issuing payments less than three months after the enrollment deadline. The funds will hopefully help producers with some of the financial losses they sustained during that time."
The Farm Bill caps ELAP disaster funding at $20 million per federal fiscal year. To accommodate the number of requests, which exceeded funds available for each of the affected years, payments will be reduced to ensure that all eligible applicants receive a prorated share of assistance.
ELAP was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.
To learn more about USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster assistance programs, visit the FSA factsheet page at www.fsa.usda.gov/factsheets or contact your local FSA office at http://go.usa.gov/pYV3.
VBA is working with the UVM Extension to promote the use of more pollinator plants that would enhance food resources for honeybees and other wild pollinators. As part of this initiative, the VBA would like to promote hay and pasture crops that are more ‘bee friendly’ without sacrificing forage quality that dairy and other livestock farmers are dependent upon. However, there is a need to conduct field trials on farms to actually determine the feasibility of various mixtures and management practices that would help the VBA meet these goals while dairy livestock farmers still meet their feed goals. Read more about the project here:
We recently submitted a final report for a two-year grant from the USDA and the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. The first year helped us to pay some of the cost for our members to attend the Eastern Apicultural Society annual conference held in Burlington in August of 2012. The second year enabled us to launch our Mobile Mentor program.
VBA Members: You now have the option of checking the status of your membership account, updating your membership information and renewing your membership in the Vermont Beekeepers Association online.
It's easy. Simply login to the site as you normally would and look under the User Menu on the right sidebar of the site's front page. You'll see a few new options:
State Apiculturalist Steve Parise has confirmed that Zombie Fly Apocephalus borealis has been detected here in Vermont. This fly is native to North America. This fly attacks its host by injecting eggs into the abdomen; the emerging fly larva eats the insides of its host. This results in "Zombie" like behavior of the host.
The honey bee sampling was taken from an observant beekeeper in Burlngton. The affected honey bees were sent to San Francisco State University for testing. John Hafernik, a researcher and professor of biology at San Francisco State University has started a website tracking the discovery of infected honey bees in the United Stated. "Zombee Watch"
A Burlington Free Press article was recently published about the Vermont beekeeper and his experience in detecting the Zombie Fly. Killer 'zombie fly' maggots found in Vermont honeybees
For additional information about Apocephalus borealis, please click this link: Apocephalus borealis