bee and sunflower file photo

Bees gather on a sunflower in Fairview, Montana. 

Bees returning

An annual migration of beehives is well under way in North Dakota, one of the top honey-producing states in the nation. There’s more than 670,000 hives in the state every summer.

Beekeepers are required to register hive locations with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, even if it’s just one colony. Every hive must also be identified with the beekeeper’s name, phone number and beekeeper ID.

Landowners concerned about beehive placement may contact Samantha Brunner at 701-328-4765 or email her at sbrunner@nd.gov.

To see a map of registered locations, create a beekeeper account, register apiary locations or apply for a license, visit https://ole.ndda.nd.gov.

USDA Service Centers open

USDA Service Centers have opened for office visits by appointment. Visitors will be prescreened for travel and must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Online services will continue to be available for customers. For the most current updates on program flexibilities due to the coronavirus visit farmers.gov/coronavirus.

Stress management course available

Michigan State University, working in cooperation with Farm Credit, Farm Bureau, and Farmers Union, has put together a stress management course to help farmers, families and neighbors. The course will provide skills to spot the signs of stress and suicide as well as identify effective communication strategies, and connect farmers and ranchers with appropriate mental health resources. To register for this free course visit https://bit.ly/3ew4aL1.

Farmers to Families Food Boxes, Farm Aid hit milestones

The USDA’s Coronavirus assistance program Famers to Families Food Box program has reached the 20 million mark on food boxes its distributed to support both American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

USDA has $3 billion overall to spend on the program. It’s so far spent $2.36 billion, according to its weekly reports.

Farm Aid, meanwhile, has topped $4 billion. About half the money has gone to livestock producers. Corn and soybean growers and other non-specialty crops got about $1 billion. Dairy farmers took $900 million, while fruits, nuts, vegetables got $84 million.

USDA launches Ask the Expert series

From soil health to cover crops, USDA is launching a series to connect growers with experts on a variety of topics. This time around, the series focuses on soil health with Joey Koptis. Visit farmers.gov for more details on this new Ask an Expert series.

Brand renewal time is here

North Dakota requires brands to be renewed every five years, and it is that time again. Brands are expiring Jan. 1, 2021. If you have moved, contact North Dakota Stockman’s Association to ensure your address is correct before the renewal notices go out in August. To contact the brand recording department, call 701-223-2522 or email brands@ndstockmen.org.

Large-project orchard, garden grants awarded

North Dakota Department of Agriculture awarded $65,000 for large-project orchards and gardens: $19,900 for fruit trees and shrubs in Valley City that will be used to help educate students; $20,000 to Velva for a public orchard for plant science and horticulture classes; $20,000 for a community orchard in Wahpeton for an outdoor classroom for schools, 4H clubs, FFA, and Boy and Girl Scouts; $5,300 to Turtle Mountain Chippewa Pembina Pow Wow for garden boxes to grow vegetables and promote intergenerational and cultural learning. Extra produce from the Velva and Wahpeton projects will be given to local food pantries, summer feeding programs or senior centers, or used to teach about canning and preservation.

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