YAKIMA, Wash. The White House Friday issued a statement calling for more money, research and habitat for the nation s struggling pollinators.

In his presidential memorandum President Obama said that pollinators contribute substantially to the economy of the United States and are vital to keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets.

The memorandum estimates pollinators contribute more than 24 billion dollars to the U.S. economy each year.

Yakima beekeeper Eric Olson said he s glad to see the federal government come around on this issue.

Olson has been preaching the benefits of habitat and available food for bees for years.

He provides food by letting alfalfa and other plants, from which bees get nutrients, grow wild in the rows between his orchard trees. Other orchardists and farmers mow or treat those plants to keep the rows clear.

He also protected his bees from unknown threats when he stopped wintering them outdoors in California and put them in a rented fruit storage building in Yakima.

Researchers are now studying Olson s beekeeping methods.

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