American Seed Trade Association President & CEO Andrew W. LaVigne released a statement in response to the White House's announced steps to promote pollinator health. This comes after a year-long interagency task force:
"The American Seed Trade Association is heartened by the White House's proactive approach to assisting pollinators that are challenged by many factors impacting their health. Bees are vital in seed and agriculture production, as well as general ecosystem health, and ensuring their wellbeing is a priority. We are gratified that the Strategy recognizes the important work ASTA and CropLife America have done to increase education and outreach to the agriculture community on best management practices for treated seed through the Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship. While the success of the Strategy is important to ASTA, we must ensure science continues to play a primary role in any actions taken.
"The White House stated that increasing the quantity and quality of habitat for pollinators is a major part of this effort. Practical solutions are needed to increase pollinator forage resources and we are pleased to see the Strategy recognizes the important role of USDA conservation programs to support this effort. Members of ASTA are eager to collaborate with the USDA's NRCS and FSA and their state affiliates to provide appropriate seed mixes that cost effectively address multiple conservation goals.
"However, ASTA is concerned that the strategy laid out by the Department of Interior does not fully take into account the expertise and capacity of the native seed industry to provide pollinator friendly native seeds. Collaboration between the Department of Interior, its agencies and seed suppliers should be initiated as soon as possible to find solutions to build and sustain populations of pollinators on federal lands.
"The White House has put forth an exciting plan to promote and protect pollinators, which are crucial to our industry. To achieve maximum outcomes, public-private partnerships are essential and ASTA stands ready to play an active role."