Producers have just about a month left to submit an application for the Seeds for Bees program. Cover crop seeds are distributed to growers to help provide additional habitat for bees and other pollinators through the program. Director of Habitat Programs at Project Apis M. and manager of the program, Rory Crowley said there has been significant interest this year.
“Just after two months, we’re already almost to our acreage goal just being applied for. We’ve got 170 total applications. We’re very, very excited about that as well. We’ve reviewed 125, so we’re getting through them relatively quickly,” Crowley noted. “August 31 is the last day for open enrollment, so we want to make sure that you guys all get in your applications on time, and all get a chance to get awarded.”
Several different cover crop mixes are available, designed to address priorities such as improving soil health and water infiltration. First-year producers receive $2,500 worth of free seed through the program. Second-year producers receive $1,500 in seed mixes. After hitting the 12,500-acre mark last year, the goal for this year is to enroll 15,000 acres in the program. Thus far, 14,500 acres have been applied for, with 8,000 acres being awarded. The August 31 deadline to apply is meant to coincide with the optimal time for planting cover crops in almond orchards to boost pollinator habitat during bloom.
“If our goal at Project Apis M. is to have blooming cover crop before the almond bloom, we need to get that cover crop in in October,” said Crowley. “So that second goal is to make sure that seed is at every single farmer’s door, every rancher’s door, before October 1 so that they can execute in the month of October to get that seed in the ground.”
Producers interested in applying for the Seeds for Bees program can find more information on the Project Apis M. website.
Listen to Crowley’s interview below.