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Wisconsin farmers could get help making pastures more attractive to honey bees

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Farmers in Wisconsin and four other Midwest states could soon get federal funds to make their pastures more attractive to honey bees.

The USDA will try to prop up a struggling industry in which bee keepers bring hives to the Midwest to be fed, before sending them to places like California where they help pollinate a variety of produce. It's a $15 billion a year industry.

To give it a boost, the AP says the USDA will announce Tuesday that dairy farmers and ranchers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and the Dakotas will share about $3 million. They'll use it to reseed pastures with alfalfa, clover, and other plants which appeal to both honey bees and livestock.

Farmers can also get help in providing facilities which improve animal movement from pasture to pasture, so vegetation does not get worn out.

The USDA is reportedly focusing on Wisconsin and the other four states because two-thirds of the nation's 30,000 commercial bee keepers bring their hives to the Midwest for at least part of the year. 

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)