BISMARCK, N.D. — Three North Dakota farmers have partnered with a beekeeper on a pilot project to improve the health of bees and other pollinators.

The project, Bee Integrated, is an experiment aiming to better practices of both beekeeping and farming in unison. As part of the experiment, the beekeeper compares the best and normal practices of the colonies. They test the pollen the bees bring back from the farmer’s land to see what they’re foraging on.

Honey bees contribute their pollinating powers to a third of the country’s food supply but pollinator populations are declining, The Bismarck Tribune reported. The decline is due to loss of habitat, pests and exposure to chemicals.

“The thing I like about this project is, every organization might have its own best practices but what’s really new is that integration,” said Bee Integrated project manager Mike Smith. “What does it take to put them all together in a way that farmers and beekeepers might pick up and use.”

Lamoure farmer Kasey Bitz said he came across the project at a farmer convention and trade show. By signing up for the project he volunteered a portion of his land to be used for planting pollinator mix.

Smith said farmers are paid for the use of their land. The project uses land where production is lacking.

The project is funded by the Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund, a non-profit organization.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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