Bee producers impacted by drought N.D.

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Some people enjoy honey in their tea or on their toast, but many may not realize how much goes into producing it.

Besides bees, honey producers rely on the weather, which has been very dry this growing season.

Woodworth Honey and Bees in Halliday relies on flowers, which require a lot of water, for its honey. U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says it's an industry she wants to help.

Brent Woodworth says he grew up with the bee business. This year, he says production is less than usual.

"We are totally at the mercy of mother nature, if it rains then we get a crop, if it doesn't then we don't get a crop," said Brent Woodworth, Woodworth Honey & Bees LLC president.

The honey farm will get about 50 to 60 percent of a normal crop because of dry conditions affecting flowers' nectar. Heitkamp visited the operation to learn more about the impact.

"This is a great specialty crop for North Dakota, but the bee industry and bee keeping is essential to agriculture and our whole ecosystem," said Heitkamp.

The presentation is a part of Heitkamp's two day drought and Farm Bill tour in Western North Dakota. She talked with Woodworth about her efforts for a strong Farm Bill in 2018 because his farm is a specialty in North Dakota.

North Dakota is the number one producer of honey in the nation.

"She makes an impact, she's on ag committees and she has a lot of input with these different people that make decisions that affect us," said Woodworth.

Woodworth says bee keepers have an option that separates them from other farmers. They're able to move bees to locations with more moisture.

Woodworth's farm has been in Halliday since 1974.