MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture hopes to help honeybees by giving $3 million to farmers and ranchers in the Upper Midwest to improve pastures.
The department planned to announce its new program Tuesday morning. It gave details in advance to The Associated Press.
Commercial honeybees pollinate about $15 billion worth of agricultural products each year. But the bees have been in decline for more than a decade due to habitat loss and pesticide use.
About 65 percent of the nation's commercial beekeepers bring hives to Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas each summer to gather nectar and pollen and build up strength for winter.
The USDA hopes to help the bees by encouraging farmers in those states to plant alfalfa, clover and other plants that feed both bees and livestock.