CropLife America (CLA) has submitted public comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to the agency’s Proposal to Mitigate Exposure to Bees from Acutely Toxic Pesticide Products. The EPA proposal would prohibit the foliar applications of products containing any of 76 pesticide active ingredients during bloom where bees are known to be present under contract pollination services. CLA’s comments stress that this proposal would create impractical regulations that hinder agricultural production without positively impacting honey bee health or pollination services. Growers and beekeepers alike find this approach counterproductive, and many have voiced their opinions to EPA through public comment. EPA accepted public comments on the proposal in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0818 through Friday, August 28, 2015. 

“Honey bees are crucial to agricultural production, and the key to promoting their health lies in farmers and beekeepers working together,” stated Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “Through communication at the local level, growers and those providing contract pollination services can tailor solutions that work in their specific geographic areas. The crop protection industry supports the sound and responsible usage of pesticide technology to reduce pests and fight crop disease, and we will continue to work with growers, beekeepers, regulators and other stakeholders to support bee health.”

Contract pollination services continue to be an integral contributor to agricultural production, with the gross revenue of beekeepers from pollination services in 2012 exceeding $650 million.1 The U.S. apiculture sector employed nearly 3,000 full-time workers in about 450 commercial beekeeping businesses in 2014, up some 16% from just two years earlier.2 Increasing communication among beekeepers across the country and the growers they serve about the use and timing of crop protection products can positively impact both pollinator health and the effectiveness of pollination services. 

“Agriculture and bees must thrive together to benefit everyone,” Vroom added. “This past May, the President’s Pollinator Health Task Force identified private-public partnerships as one way to support our honey bees and other pollinators. We also anticipate that both pollination contracts and state pollinator management plans can positively impact honeybee health and agricultural productivity. Before we jump to intensive nationwide regulatory policy changes, we need to look at the local level to make sure growers and beekeepers can properly coordinate their activities. Increased organization among all farming stakeholders leads to a more efficient and sustainable food supply for us all.”

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. CLA is a member of the Honey Bee Health Coalition, a diverse, multi-stakeholder group focused on improving the health of honey bees and other pollinators. CLA also strongly supports the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign. For more information on crop protection technology stewardship practices, download The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship, jointly produced by the American Seed Trade Association and CLA along with several grower organizations. Read more about pollinator health and the crop protection industry on CLA’s website.

1Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook: Economic Insight. U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. September 26, 2014. http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1679173/special-article-september_-pollinator-service-market-4-.pdf

2Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/cew/apps/data_views/data_views.htm