USDA Announces Partnership With Honey Bee Organizations

USDA Announces Partnership With Honey Bee Organizations

Last week, scientists, educators and legislators came together to discuss the plight of the honey bee during the eighth annual National Pollinator Week. All over the country, people met to learn more about pollinators and brainstorm new ways to protect their habitats from destruction.
 
In observance of this important yearly event, the USDA revealed plans to expand its Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) by partnering with two prominent honey bee organizations – the American Honey Producers Association and the American Beekeeping Federation.
 
This partnership is designed to “ensure USDA’s conservation initiatives are as advantageous as possible to pollinators and that beekeepers understand how they can benefit from USDA’s conservation and safety net programs,” according to a press release.
 
Thus far, the USDA’s conservation program has worked with farmers and ranchers to create at least 15 million acres of habitat and foraging space for pollinators. In spite of these significant strides, many members of the beekeeping community have been critical of the USDA’s failure to limit the use of neonicotinoid pesticides associated with Colony Collapse Disorder.
 
By partnering with private organizations, the USDA hopes to address these concerns and strengthen their conservation efforts in the future.  It remains to be seen whether this will translate to meaningful, far-reaching legislation designed to protect pollinators from harmful pesticides. After all, protecting pollinators’ habitats won’t do much good as long as they continue to die in droves every year. Until honey bees can be effectively protected from the root causes of colony collapse, it’s hard to say how much of an impact these conservation efforts can really have.
 

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