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Grants to become available for beekeepers

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

Virginia is setting aside $250,000 in grants during the next two years for beekeepers.

This spring, the General Assembly passed legislation setting up the Beehive Grant Fund, according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which will be administering the fund.

The money, which will be available after Jan. 1, will provide up to $125,000 in grants in both fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2014, according to the release.

"Grants will be awarded at $200 per new hive up to $2,400 per person per year of the two-year grant period," the release states.

Beekeepers can apply for the grant if they buy a new hive, or buy materials and supplies needed to build a new hive after Jan. 1, according to the release.

The grant was designed to address the loss of honey bees in Virginia, according to the Agriculture and Consumer Services' website. Those bees are more important for their pollination than for their honey, it states.

Honey bees' pollination of apples added about $23 million to the apple industry in 2002, according to the site. They and other pollinators also help other fruits, vegetables and nuts, it states.

Grants will be on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the website.

The grant requirements will be published later this year and sent to stakeholders, according to the news release. To get on the notification list, email VABees@vdacs.virginia.gov.

For more information, call Keith Tignor at 804 786-3515, or email him at keith.tignor@vdacs.virginia.gov.

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