USDA funds now available for livestock, bee losses

The loss of bees last year is leading to the USDA offering funds.
The loss of bees last year is leading to the USDA offering funds.
Farm equipment users who specialize in bees and other forms of livestock may want to take note that emergency funds are now available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

More than $13 million was released by the USDA to help farmers and ranchers who experienced losses last year that were tied to weather, disease or other factors. The funds are being made available through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program.

"The Obama administration is committed to helping producers who have suffered devastating losses due to natural disasters and this program will allow eligible producers that suffered losses in 2009 to receive emergency assistance payments that may be critical to their survival," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

More than $7 million of the funds will be specifically directed toward beekeepers, whose operations have been affected by a strange disorder that has seen colonies disappearing.

Colony Collapse Disorder was first observed in the fall of 2006 and has seen hive losses of between 30 to 90 percent. The cause of the phenomenon is not known and investigations by the government and others are ongoing.ADNFCR-2034-ID-19897769-ADNFCR