North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has announced that funding is available for research and promotion of honey bees in the state of North Dakota.

“The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is seeking grant proposals for research into finding practical solutions to honey bee health issues; and for honey promotion and outreach projects,” he said.

Goehring said applicants can submit proposals for any or all of four research priorities:

  1. Varroa mite control

  2. Understanding honey bee viruses and effects on honey bee health

  3. Correlating pathogen presence to management practices

  4. Other problem-solving ideas of interest to the beekeeping industry

Proposals for honey promotion and outreach projects must have a direct benefit to North Dakota honey producers.

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Multiple grants may be awarded. Proposals funding partial projects and proposals providing valuable extensions of previously funded projects will be considered.

North Dakota leads the nation in honey production, which is produced during the summer months in the state. Danzig Honey sends most of its honey to a honey packer but packs a small amount for local sales. Jenny Schlecht / Forum News Service
North Dakota leads the nation in honey production, which is produced during the summer months in the state. Danzig Honey sends most of its honey to a honey packer but packs a small amount for local sales. Jenny Schlecht / Forum News Service
Honey bee production has been a point of emphasis in the agricultural industry in recent years as climate change and pesticide use have impacted bee populations. In North Dakota, honey bee production has dropped approximately 80% since the 1970s, according to Jason Miller, vice president of Miller Honey Farms in 2018. Miller is a fifth-generation beekeeper.

Miller explained that changes in the landscape have been the biggest factor in the decline. As fields that once were in pasture, the Conservation Reserve Program or fallow have transitioned to row crops like corn and soybeans, the forage necessary to produce honey has gone away.

Complete information on applying for funds is available on the NDDA website at www.nd.gov/ndda. Grant applications must be received by May 14, 2021.

Additional information is available by contacting Samantha Brunner at 701-328-4765 or sbrunner@nd.gov.