EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan State University researchers just got a $2 million, 4-year grant to study and improve blueberry pollination.

The grant is being provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The project is led by Spartan Professor Rufus Isaacs and includes experts from MSU, Oregon State University, Washington State University, and the University of Florida.

Agriculture is Michigan’s second-largest industry, and last year, our state produced more than $75 million dollars worth of blueberries.

The project will encompass a variety of topics, from wild native bees to economics, but the MSU portion will focus on honey bees. Isaacs says the declining number of native pollinators has led to an increased reliance on honey bee hives.

The researchers will develop new hive stocking strategies to help blueberry farmers maximize their pollination efforts while coping with problems like the weather.