I attended the MN Hobby Beekeepers monthly meeting tonight. The guest speaker was Dr Don Wyse. He gave a presentation of a project that he and his research team from the U of MN is working on, called Forever Green.
Forever Green is a plan to change the farm landscape from what it is today, a two crop (corn and soybeans) to a multi crop diversified landscape that promotes harvest-able cover crops. These cover crops will change the landscape with more economic opportunities for farmers, better soil conservation, better and safer water quality, more pollinator forage, and better protection of our natural resources.
What this means for beekeepers. Less pesticide use, more bee forage ( the potential could be millions of acres), cleaner water for the bees. The landscape could change from beekeepers, at the present most beekeepers are staying away from corn and soybean fields. With the Forever Green project. beekeepers may start actively looking for corn and soybean fields for larger nectar sources. Some of these plant cover crops bloom at times of the year when bees need forage that may not be widely available. One of the plants for example, Pennycress, blooms in April. Imagine large farm fields blooming in April when bees are looking for pollen and nectar sources.
This initiative is supported by large food manufacturers such as General Mills and Pepsico to name a few. General Mills has committed to lower their carbon usage by 30%. They need this type of ag initiative to help achieve this goal.
Here is a couple links for more information:
Forever Green https://www.forevergreen.umn.edu/
New Crops Hold Economic Promise
Here the website explains strategy and plant types
A brief YouTube Video about the project: