Oct. 23 --A coalition of 58 environmental organizations, grower groups and businesses sent a letter to members of the farm bill conference committee urging the House and Senate conferees to include House-passed pollinator protection language in any compromise version of the farm bill reached by the committee.
The letter, sent Oct. 23 by the Center for Food Safety, Greenpeace, the National Farmers Union and other groups, urges support for the pollinator protection language, which the groups say would greatly improve federal coordination in addressing widespread honey bee and other pollinator population declines.
The House and Senate Agriculture committees announced Oct. 23 that the farm bill conferees will hold their first public meeting Oct. 30. The meeting will include opening statements and discussion of the two chambers' differing versions of the farm bill.
The pollinator protection language, found in the House-passed Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 2642), would establish an Agriculture Department task force on bee health and commercial beekeeping and would require federal agencies to provide formal guidance on various issues related to pollinator protection, including permitting managed honey bees to forage on National Forest Service land and using the best available science to study environmental and chemical stressors on pollinator health.
The pollinator language would require a pollinator task force to submit a report to Congress summarizing federal and international activities to address pollinator population declines and providing recommendations on how to better coordinate federal agency efforts to address the decline of managed honey bees and native bees.
The Environmental Protection Agency and Agriculture Department released a report in May concluding that additional research and improved data collection are needed to determine whether pesticide exposure is contributing to pollinator population declines. The report identified several factors that are believed to play a role in the population declines, including the varroa mite, viruses, poor nutrition and a lack of genetic diversity within honey bee colonies .
The House included the pollinator language, which was offered as an amendment to the farm bill by Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), on a vote of 273-149.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, offered similar language as an amendment to the Senate bill, but that amendment did not receive a vote.
The Center for Food Safety said in an Oct. 23 statement that it is optimistic that the Senate conferees will support the House pollinator language in conference.
The letter states that extreme declines during the winter of 2012-13 indicated that “deliberate action” is needed to protect honey bees and beekeeping operations in the United States.
Many beekeepers have documented bee kills of between 50 percent and 70 percent of their hives this year, according to the letter.
“Maintaining healthy populations of honey bees and other pollinators is essential for the long-term success of American agriculture,” the groups said.
Managed pollinators contribute between $20 billion and $30 billion in agricultural production annually in the U.S., according to the letter.
The groups said inclusion of the pollinator protection language would be a “significant step” in ensuring the long-term viability of managed honey bees and native pollinators.
To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Ambrosio in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Sullivan at email@example.com
The Oct. 23 letter signed by 58 organizations and businesses is available at http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/pollinatorprotection_senateconfereesletter_102313_45789.pdf.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)