The health of honey bees has been the focus of meetings
involving federal and state agencies, stakeholders and the
The Almond Board of California had an active presence at four major events related to honey bee health this past April, reflecting increased interest by consumers and regulators in the decline of honey bees, monarch butterflies and other wild pollinator populations.
From the private sector to state and federal entities, the focus of the meetings is to discover what can be done to improve the well-being of honey bees and other pollinators. Given the importance of pollination services to the almond industry, as well as the industry’s long-standing focus on honey bee health research, Almond Board staff and leadership are actively involved in these meetings.
On April 29, a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing on bee health research. Dan Cummings, chair of the Almond Board’s Bee Task Force, joined panelists from the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the crop protection industry and nursery interests to discuss how almond-grower dollars are funding research on bee health in coordination with federal research efforts.
A day later, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy convened a meeting of wide-ranging stakeholders to explore what federal agencies and the private sector can do to improve honey bee/pollinator health and to develop partnerships related to enhancing and protecting habitat for pollinators. In addition to various bee and pollinator stakeholders, a number of corporate interests attended the meeting, reflecting a trend toward increased interest among the consuming public in pollinator issues.
Earlier in the month, the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA’s) Board of Agriculture held a meeting to educate board members about the various issues impacting bees. Almond Board’s Gabriele Ludwig, along with Gordon Wardell, Paramount Farming, presented at this meeting on behalf of the industry.
Also in April, Almond Board’s Bob Curtis and Ludwig worked with the Keystone Honey Bee Health Coalition, which aims to collaboratively implement solutions to achieve a healthy population of honey bees and other native and managed pollinators in agricultural ecosystems. Stakeholders included beekeepers, growers, agribusiness, NGOs, academics and government agencies.
Clearly, this level of activity highlights growing public concern about the status of honey bees and other pollinators. All of agriculture has a role to play in contributing to improvements in habitat and/or pest management techniques. The Almond Board continues to communicate what almond growers are doing and to build partnerships that can continue to improve the health of honey
bees and other pollinators.