The U.S. Bee Buffer Project, an initiative of the Pollinator Partnership (P2), Burt’s Bees and The Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation, is immediately seeking 100 Ohio farmers, ranchers and orchardists to set aside small plots of land as bee buffer zones. Once established, the nectar-rich honey bee forage will support pollinator- dependent crops, which represents one-third of the food we eat.
“Offering the U.S. Bee Buffer Project in Ohio supports the state’s farmers and honey bee population; both play an integral role in the success of American agriculture,” says Laurie Davies Adams, Executive Director of the Pollinator Partnership. “By fostering the health and growth of honey bee colonies, farmers are helping to enrich their crops and, ultimately, improve their bottom line.”
This is year-two for the U.S. Bee Buffer Project; last year the program launched exclusively in California and North Carolina – where now 200 bee buffer zones are established. Bee buffer zones help offset losses for the bee industry while improving the health of crops and orchards within four miles of the buffer site.
Honey bees are valuable to the nation’s crops and economics, contributing approximately $24 billion to the U.S. economy each year. Still, U.S. honey bees are struggling to find food to store for winter months, and our goal is to reduce their stress. In 2014, Ohio’s high-value crops requiring pollination had a production value of more than $66 million, which includes the following crops. “We are excited to be a partner with the U. S. Bee Buffer Project and to work with Ohio’s many farmers providing nutritious forage for Ohio’s honey bees,” says Kim Flottum, Editor of Bee Culture magazine in Medina, Ohio. “Habitats created by these buffers go a long way in ensuring a sustainable future for not only Ohio’s honeybees, but all of Ohio’s pollinators … which in turn ensures a diverse and healthy future of our agricultural environment.”
Ohio farmers, ranchers and orchardists willing to dedicate and maintain .25 to 3 acres – collectively impacting 6,000 acres – can apply for the U.S. Bee Buffer Project until December 15, 2015. Those selected will receive free bee buffer seed kits to plant in their buffers.
What Is A Bee Buffer?
A strip of land alongside crops full of nectar-rich plants – creating vital, nutritious honey bee habitats. The buffer allows bees to forage on the plentiful nutrition in the diverse buffer areas, while also pollinating adjacent crops. Research has shown a little Bee Buffer can go a long way—just one acre of pollinator-friendly plants is enough to impact 33 acres of farmland, together offering bees a broad expanse of diverse forage.
To learn more, reference the U.S. Bee Buffer Frequently Asked Questions. To review the eligibility requirements and complete participant application, visit http://beebuffer.com/.