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The White House Releases its Strategy for Restoring Pollinator Habitats

May 19, 2015
Today, The White House released its National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, calling for the restoration or enhancement of 7 million acres of land for pollinators over the next five years through federal actions and public/private partnerships.

AgriPulse covered the announcement:

Other goals of the strategy are to reduce honey bee colony losses during the winter months to no more than 15 percent within 10 years, and to increase the population of the Monarch butterfly to 225 million by 2020 in its overwintering grounds in Mexico.
“Pollinators are critical to our nation's economy, food security, and environmental health,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and EPA chief Gina McCarthy said on behalf of the task force that prepared the strategy. “Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year, and provides the backbone to ensuring our diets are plentiful with fruits, nuts and vegetables. Through the actions discussed in this Strategy, and by working with partners across our country, we can and will help restore and sustain pollinator health nationwide.”

The White House said its Strategy, which includes added research funding, also advances commitments to increase and improve pollinator habitat, both directly, through management of federal land and facilities, and indirectly, though interactions with state and local governments, the private sector and citizens. It added that the plan is aimed at “reducing the impact of multiple stressors on pollinator health, including pests and pathogens, reduced habitat, lack of nutritional resources and exposure to pesticides.”

AgriPulse noted that The Washington Post reported that the EPA will announce that it will accelerate a review of the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on pollinators and impose new restrictions on what pesticides farmers can use when commercial honeybees are pollinating their crops.

BIO works closely with CropLife America (CLA), a crop protection association that represents the companies that develop, manufacture, formulate and distribute crop protection chemicals and plant science solutions for agriculture and pest management in the United States. CLA welcomed today's release of the White House's National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.  In their statement, they commended the White House Pollinator Task Force for issuing a strategy that has a multi-pronged and coordinated approach to bolstering pollinator health.

“'The crop protection industry looks forward to joining the many stakeholders in reviewing the National Pollinator Health Strategy...Stakeholders have eagerly awaited the strategy’s release since President Obama established the task force last year,' stated Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA.

"Pollinators add more than $24 billion to our nation’s economy, and honey bees support over 90 commercially grown crops in North America. CLA and our members support stewardship practices in seed treatment, among other key crop protection strategies, and we will continue to work with growers, beekeepers, regulators and other stakeholders to promote responsible pesticide use.

"Ongoing research and field studies have consistently found no adverse effects on bee colonies when pesticides are applied according to label directions. These science-based label directions are written under supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); in the process, potential environmental and health hazards are carefully evaluated and necessary mitigation measures are taken.

"CLA supports the public television series America’s Heartland in hosting broadcast programming and online educational resources that highlight the connection between pollinators and agriculture." 

The Wall Street Journal also covered the story and elaborated on the White House's plan to further research the link between pesticides and honeybee die-off rate. Read Tennille Tracy's Obama Task Force Lays Out Plan to Save Honeybees

Lastly, many of BIO's Food & Agriculture Section members are doing their part to help improve pollinator health and learn more about what is contributing to the decline of butterflies and bees.

Bayer developed an entire website page dedicated to bee care.  It holds general information on bees and what Bayer is doing through research to improve bee health.  You can find here information on how Monsanto is helping the honey bees keep on buzzin’ and the work the company is doing to restore habitats for the monarch butterfly.

You can also also visit BASF's page which outlines some factors that may be contributing to the decline in bee health.