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Tuesday, May 05th, 2009 | Author:


Please contact your Senators and ask them to sign on to a letter by Senator Boxer in support of vital research on agricultural pollinators. Please read below for additional information. The deadline for Senators to sign on to this letter is Wednesday, May 6.

Find the contact information for your Senator’s office

Thank you,
Scott Hoffman Black
Executive Director, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Providing funding for research into the causes and remedies of honey bee and native bee declines is a critical step in pollinator conservation.Infection of endothelial cells of the ventricle of the bee by N. cerana Please take a moment to call or write your Senator, let them know how important pollinators are, and ask them to 1) support this appropriation and 2) contact Senator Boxer’s office to sign on to this important letter.

Senator Boxer has written a letter requesting that the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee allocate $20 million in Fiscal Year 2010 for pollinator research projects as authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. These funds will increase the resilience and security of our farming systems by supporting vital research into Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in managed honeybees and to promote the health of honey bees and native pollinators through habitat conservation and best management practices.

As you may know, the 2008 Farm Bill includes language authorizing $100 million over five years to further our scientific understanding of the essential agricultural services pollinators provide our nation. The letter only seeks to fully fund critical provisions that were recently signed into law through legislative consensus.

Managed and native pollinators, such as honey bees, bumble bees, and other native bees, are needed for the production of over $18 billion (and possibly as much as $27 billion) per year in agricultural products in the U.S. These animals are required for 35 percent of the world’s crop production. Yet, total pollinator spending at USDA in the 2008 Fiscal Year accounted for merely 0.01 percent of the agency’s budget. Without pollinators, our current yields of alfalfa, almonds, apples, cherries, cranberries, blueberries, kiwifruit, strawberries, melons, squash, peppers, peaches, pears, plums, carrot, onion, and other seed crops, would not be possible.

Arising in 2006, the as yet unexplained phenomenon termed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) diminished our nation’s already dwindling honey bee colonies, and highlighted our relative ignorance of the complex systems that support animal pollinated food production. It is vitally important to conduct research to better understand and solve this problem. Randy Oliver teaches beekeepers how to use microscope to find Nosema

Studies in other developed nations have well documented a diminished presence of honey bees and other vital pollinators in interdependent agricultural and ecological systems, but much information is lacking in the U.S. A major conclusion of a comprehensive study by the National Academy of Sciences in 2007 found that for most North American pollinator species, long-term population data are lacking and knowledge of their basic ecology is incomplete.

Funding for pollinator research will protect the health, future, safety, and sustainability of our nation’s most nutritional food crops. These funds will ensure that we base our sustainable future in agriculture on a more comprehensive understanding of the science that supports it.

Thank you for your help in this effort.

Read more about the 2008 Farm Bill Benefits to Crop Pollinators >>
Read more about the Xerces Society Agricultural Pollinator Conservation Program >>
Browse the Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation resources >>
Browse the Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation publications >>

The Xerces Society is an international, nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. For over three decades, the Society has been at the forefront of invertebrate conservation, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs.