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Agriculture and Beekeeping Groups Demand Pollinator Protection in Farm Bill

October 23rd, 2013
Center for Food Safety

Center for Food Safety and 57 allies send letter to farm bill conferees calling for inclusion of pollinator protection provision

Center for Food Safety, along with a diverse coalition of beekeeping, agriculture, and conservation organizations, calls on the House and Senate farm bill conferees to support a key pollinator protection provision in the House-passed farm bill. Over fifty organizations and businesses joined Center for Food Safety in the letter to the conferees in support of the provision (Sec. 11315), originally offered as an amendment by Representatives Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), and asking that it be included in the final farm bill.

“This year has shown the highest honey bee losses since colony collapse began; it is a clear message that we need to do more to protect pollinators.  The Hastings amendment is a much needed win for pollinators everywhere and we hope it compels the government to do more to protect these vital species,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety.

“Maintaining healthy populations of honey bees and other pollinators is essential for the long-term success of American agriculture,” added Kimbrell. “These critical species are at the front lines of pesticide exposure and habitat loss, and it is high time that the government do more to protect them.”

The Hastings amendment, which easily passed the House this summer 273-149, seeks to improve federal coordination in addressing the dramatic decline of managed and native pollinators as well as direct the government to regularly monitor and report on the health of pollinators including bees, birds, bats and other beneficial insects.

In the United States, pollination contributes to $20-30 billion in agricultural production annually.  In North America, honey bees pollinate nearly 95 kinds of fruits, including many specialty crops like almonds, avocados, cranberries, oranges and apples.

Earlier in the summer, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) filed a nearly identical amendment to the Senate farm bill, but it was not voted on prior to the Senate passing its bill. Center for Food Safety is optimistic that the Senate conferees will support the House language in conference.

The letter to House and Senate conferees was signed by 58 groups, including the American Beekeeping Federation, American Bird Conservancy, American Farmland Trust, American Honey Producers Association, Amy’s Kitchen, Annie’s, Inc., Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, National Farmers Union, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature’s Path Foods Inc., Pesticide Action Network North America, Pheasants Forever, Inc., Pollinator Partnership, Pollinators Stewardship Council, Quail Forever, Sierra Club, United Natural Foods Inc., Xerces Society, and many more.

For more information please visit Center for Food Safety’s Pollinators & Pesticides Campaign.

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