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USDA Funding to Help Honey Bee Habitat


Honeybees are a backbone of agriculture production. An estimated $15 billion worth of crops are pollinated by honey bees, including more than 130 varieties of fruits and vegetables. But the population of honey bees has been declining in recent years due to such causes as colony collapse disorder.

To help improve the health of honey bees, the USDA has announced over 4 million dollars in technical and financial assistance to help farmers and ranchers improve honey bee habitat. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is focusing its efforts on five Midwestern states: South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The assistance provides guidance and support to farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that promote safe and diverse food sources for honey bees.

Funding to agriculture producers is through the NRCS Environment Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Jeff Vander Wilt of NRCS South Dakota joined Dakota Midday and discussed the USDA's honey bee habitat funding assistance.

The deadline for applications  is Friday, November. For more information, visit a local USDA service center or click here.

Karl was born to northeastern South Dakota crouton farmers, but was orphaned as a toddler during the Great Salad War (1966-67). Rescued by a flock of chickadees, he grew up in the woodlands of Sica Hollow. Legends of a bird boy living in the trees attracted the interest of renowned ornithologist and amateur bandoneon repairman Dr. Vogel Gehrke. With a handful of suet, Dr. Gehrke coaxed the timid boy down from the trees. He adopted him, named him Karl and taught him not to molt on the carpet. Dr. Gehrke’s book, The Bird Boy of Sica Hollow, was a best seller and Karl became a minor celebrity and teen idol. He appeared as a guest star on numerous television programs, most notably an awkward role on The Love Boat as the boyfriend of Captain Stubing’s daughter, Vicki. After critics panned his 1980 album, Bird Boy Does Disco, Karl retreated from public life and returned to Sica Hollow. Living in an isolated tree house, Karl achieved a reputation as a mystic. Pilgrims and seekers from around the world came to ask him about the meaning of life and for vinaigrette recipes. Growing tired of answering questions, he climbed down from his tree, shaved his massive white beard and took a job as the host of SDPB Radio’s Dakota Midday where he could ask the questions instead. After three years in that position, he ran out of questions and became host of Jazz Nightly instead. Karl makes his home in Vermillion with his charming wife Kari and three delightful children, Kodey, Kasey and Spatula. His hobbies include reciting the alphabet, combing his hair and doing volunteer work with delinquent songbirds.