U.S. Honey Bee Numbers Up; Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance
**EPA will extend the deadline to meet requirements of its new farmworker protection standard until guidance and training materials are ready to help states implement the changes.
The EPA’s Wendy Cleland-Hamnett did not specify a new deadline for compliance, but NASDA and other farm groups have repeatedly asked for an extension until at least Jan. 2, 2018.
Shortly before President Trump took office, the Obama administration denied an extension request.
**The results of the latest survey of U.S. beekeepers by the Bee Informed Partnership are improved, but experts caution not to read too much into the numbers.
That’s because the colony losses are still higher than desired and the survey of nearly 5,000 beekeepers only captures about 13 percent of the estimated 2.8 million honey bee colonies in the U.S.
Beekeepers reported losing 21.1 percent of their colonies over the 2016-17 winter, down from 26.9 percent last year and the smallest percentage loss since 2006-07.
**Farmers who don’t have access to conventional crop insurance are showing increasing interest in the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which was expanded by the 2014 farm bill.
Before 2014, farmers could only buy catastrophic NAP coverage, which protected producers against yield losses of more than 50 percent at 55 percent of the average market price.
Interest in NAP doubled the first year, going from 66,000 applications in 2014 to 138,000 in 2015, according to a report by USDA’s Economic Research Service.