1. Allotment of Program Funds:
Funding for the program will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition, several factors such as project size and location to the nearest registered apiary will be considerations. This is done to speed up the enrollment process. This means that program materials are also ordered and delivered to landowners in a timely manner. Funding for program enrollment is available through support from a broad coalition of commercial beekeepers, the honey packing industry, agricultural industry and The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund.
2. Sign-up Dates:
There will be no official starting or sign-up date for the program. Since funds are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, landowners are encouraged to enroll before available funding for the year is fully enrolled.
3. Application Process:
The first step in the enrollment process is to complete the application form and submit it to The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund at the contact information listed in this set of guidelines. Please make sure the form is complete, legible, and includes the proximity to a registered apiary. The next step is to completed and sign a contract with the application form. Fill out the online version or download a printable version using the links below.
Please make sure the following information is included with each Application and Contract:
4. Landowner Payments:
Annual rental payments are available and vary by state. Please check your state's Program Guidelines for rates and details.
Landowners will receive their annual rental payments following the schedule listed on their contract. Annual rental payments are issued on the anniversary date of the establishment of the project. For a project that is enrolled and planted in the spring of 2017, the first annual rental payment will be issued by The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund in May 2018. Annual rental payments are issued after each project has been verified to have complied with the Use Restrictions of the contract on an annual basis.
Planting incentive payments are available and vary by state. Please check your state's Program Guidelines for rates and details.
Landowners will receive their planting incentive payments following the schedule listed on their contract and the completion of planting. Planting incentive payments are issued in the year of the establishment of the project. For a project that is enrolled and planted in the spring of 2017, the planting incentive payment will then be issued by The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund in June 2017.
5. Contract Approval:
As completed applications and contracts are received by The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund, they will be reviewed to ensure all required documents are received and entered into the program for funding. As applications are enrolled and accepted, landowners will be contacted to notify them of their application status. Landowners will be contacted using the information entered in their application form, but an email communication is preferred.
6. Contract Length:
For the 2017 program, landowners will have the option of enrolling the contracted acres for a 3, 4, 5 or 6-year contract at the time the application and contract materials are submitted. At this time, there is no assurance that contracted acres will be eligible for re-enrollment in the program when the original contract term is completed. Landowners should consider this factor when selecting the contract length at the time of original enrollment.
7. Land Eligibility:
Land that is currently in native rangeland is not eligible for enrollment in the program. In addition, land that is currently in grass cover (non-native rangeland) will need to have the existing grass cover removed prior to enrollment in the program. Please see Guideline points #10 and #13 for additional guidance on enrollment of areas currently in grass cover.
8. NextGen Habitat Projects Seed Mixtures:
As an additional landowner incentive, the NextGen Habitat Projects seed mixtures will be provided in the program at no cost to landowners. This program is being offered to help meet the critical habitat needs for both honey bees and monarch butterflies. As such, landowners will be provided with seeding mixtures designed to meet specific habitat and nutritional requirements for the target species. NextGen Habitat Projects seed mixtures are designed by The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund biologists to ensure that maximum wildlife benefits are being obtained. In order to ensure that planting materials are distributed in a timely manner, please submit all applications and contract materials to The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund as soon as possible.
This information will allow us to place orders with seed vendors and have the seed delivered as quickly as possible. The seed vendor will ship the grass seed mixture directly to the name and address provided in the program application. Unless otherwise specified, all seed orders will be delivered with the fluffy seed separated from the small, slick seeds. This seed mixing combination is designed for projects that will be planted using a no-till grass drill with multiple seed boxes.
9. Pollinator Habitat Planting Guidance:
For this program, enrolled landowners will be supplied with two separate seeding mixtures. Fifty percent of the enrolled acres will be established to NextGen Habitat Projects seed mixture designed to provide superior forage and nutrition for honey bees. This mixture will be comprised primarily of legume species known to benefit honey bees. Fifty percent of the enrolled acres will be established to NextGen Habitat Projects seed mixture designed to provide plants necessary for the life history and nutritional needs of Monarch butterflies. This mixture will be comprised of a wide variety of wildflowers and contain critically important milkweed species as Monarch larvae are obligate herbivores of milkweeds.
Landowners are to plant the NextGen Habitat Projects seed mixtures they receive into two separate block plantings by May 25 of the initial year of the contract. The NextGen Habitat Projects seed mixtures are not to be mixed together at the time of planting. While both honey bees and Monarch butterflies will use and benefit from each of the NextGen Habitat Projects seed mixtures, they are to be planted in separate plantings to help ensure the success of the planting establishment and development.
NextGen Habitat Projects seed mixtures should be planted using a no-till grass drill to ensure the proper planting of mixtures. Additional planting guidance includes:
10. Project Use Restrictions:
Enrolled acres are restricted from haying, mowing, shredding and/or grazing from April 15 to September 30 of each year of the contract. This requirement is in place to ensure that the pollinator habitat benefits of the planting are in place and available at the most critical times of the year. Landowners are able to hay or graze the contracted acres outside of the April 15 to September 30 timeline.
11. The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund Signs:
Landowners will receive two The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund signs that are required to be posted on the project. These signs are an important part of promoting the program and its success. Where possible, the signs should be posted on the project in a manner that the public is able to see the signs and learn about the program.
12. General Program Requirements:
The goal of the program is to establish new pollinator habitat in an area that did not have pollinator habitat. Areas that are in existing grass cover can qualify only if the current cover will be completely removed through chemical application (using both a fall and spring spraying of a non-selective herbicide) and re-established to an approved NextGen Habitat Projects seed mixture. Areas that do not currently meet these requirements can be prepared with herbicide application in 2016 and enrolled in the 2017 landowner signup period.
There are no requirements allowing the public access to lands that are enrolled into The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund. All rights and decisions regarding access to the land for hunting remain with the landowner.
Violation of the contract can result in forfeiture of paid and future payments. This includes annual rental payments, planting incentive payments and the cost of pollinator habitat seeding mixtures.
13. Program Contacts
Mail Applications & Contracts to:
The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund
6630 Everett Street
Lincoln, NE 68506
For questions or more information, call1-866-431-4230.
“The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund is the bees’ buzz! The effort is integrating the very best performing habitat solutions where they are most needed, by bringing landowners and beekeepers together in a program where everyone benefits. It’s our goal to make every available acre the best it can be. It’s truly amazing just how much difference an acre can make when the habitat is engineered for maximum productivity!”
“This project is a unique conservation effort, targeting acres in regions where conversion to soy and corn is happening very fast. By identifying places where habitat makes the most sense, the bottom line improves for the grower, the beekeeper, the monarch, upland songbirds and game birds, honey bees and native pollinators – it’s a program that can’t lose!”
"The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund is unique in that it has found the way to plant cost-effective pollinator habitat that establishes quickly and provides great pollinator benefits. It's the trifecta of getting great pollinator benefits onto the landscape. If we try to solve the critical problems for pollinators using the same tools and methods we have used for the last decade, we won’t be successful. The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund brings new strategies, methods and partners together to save monarch butterflies, honey bees and other pollinators, not to mention the nation’s food supply and beautiful landscapes."