Did you know the United States Department of Agriculture offers two programs, ELAP and NAP, to cover honey bee losses? In fact, the USDA has up to $20 million of Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds available for losses under the ELAP program, courtesy of the 2014 Farm Bill.
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What is ELAP?
ELAP, or Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish, is a USDA program to offer financial assistance to eligible producers of livestock due to losses. For this article, we will only be covering the honey bee portion of the program.
ELAP is essentially insurance for your bees, but there is no premium, deductible or fees. Yes, the program is completely free to join!
Once your bee yard(s) are enrolled, they will be covered for colony loss (just the bees), hive loss (bees and the physical hive), as well as any additional feed purchased (beyond normal quantities) necessary to sustain a colony.
What does ELAP cover?
ELAP offers reimbursements on colony feed, colony loss, and hive loss. The loss must be the result of:
- Colony Collapse Disorder
- Winter storm
- Adverse weather
For 2018, the USDA will reimburse at least 75% of fair market value, which equates to at least $105 per colony loss and at least $193 per hive loss. Supplemental feeding reimbursement is at least 60% of the actual cost of feed.
Who is eligible?
Almost everyone! There is no minimum to the number of hives one must own to enroll. Honey bees used for honey production, pollination and breeding are eligible. Wild, feral or native bees (i.e. leafcutter or mason) are not eligible.
As long as your adjusted gross income from your hives is less than $900,000 per year and you are a US citizen, you are eligible.
Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
The USDA has additional programs that offer certain benefits for beekeepers. Qualification for these programs will allow you to enroll in the NAP program for free.
Those eligible for Socially Disadvantaged (also referred to as Targeted underserved farmer or rancher) certification include women, American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians or Asian Americans, Blacks or African Americans, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics.
Limited Resource eligibility requirements include those that “Earns no more than $173,600 in each of the two calendar years that precede the complete taxable year before the program year, to be adjusted upwards in later years for inflation; and has a total household income at or below the national poverty level for a family of four, or less than 50 percent of county median household income for both of the previous two years.”
If you have been keeping bees for less than 10 years and have never certified any livestock with the USDA, you are eligible for the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers certification.
Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)
Beekeepers are also eligible for NAP, a reimbursement program for financial losses due to low honey yield as a result of:
- Excessive moisture
- Excessive wind
- Plant disease
- Insect infestation
Those that qualify for the certifications noted above can enroll in NAP for free. Otherwise, enrollment is $250 per year, which is a small fee considering the amount of honey and income that can be lost in a low production season.
For additional information, please contact your local USDA office.
How to apply
Producers (beekeepers) must apply at your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) Service Center. To find your local office, click here.
We completed the application this year (2018), and it was very simple. The agents had the paperwork prepared, and it only took about an hour. It would have been a lot quicker but I asked a ton of questions. We were even able to enroll hives that are in different counties! I hope we do not have to make a claim in the future, but it is reassuring to know that we have coverage if needed. We have lost hives in the past to CCD and nearly lost two hives in two different yards due to wildfire. I highly encourage all eligible beekeepers to apply!
Bonus: Get the beekeepers calendar for free
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- 12 months of in depth information addressing key activities and objectives
- A full 4 pages detail common pests and diseases, along with mitigation options
- Additional Resources section lists more than 20 excellent resources for more beekeeping information
- Plus, you’ll obtain access to our Farmstead Google Calendar to help keep you on track
Download your free copy today! Simply fill out the form below and A Years Journey In Beekeeping: The Beekeepers Calendar will be sent right to your inbox.
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