CLA sees need for local cooperation to save pollinators

Last week's National Pollinator Week gave organizations and government agencies the opportunity to educate the public on the important role pollinators play in our agricultural system. And organizations like CropLife America (CLA) don't want the education and involvement of agriculture for improving pollinator populations to stop, and it also recognizes the need to listen to dissentient opinions and address opposing views.

CropLife America (CLA) has been working with key stakeholders engaged in improving pollinator health for more than a decade. In contrast, steps taken recently by the Keep the Hives Alive Tour raised concerns and complaints from across the agriculture community, according to CLA.

The Honey Bee Health Coaltion (HBHC), to which CLA belongs, brings together diverse groups with a variety of interests and perspectives. The coalition's focus is to identify joint solutions to the many challenges facing honey bees. Members of the HBHC, welcome and encourage all interested parties to share differences of opinion in open dialogue on critical issues for bee health, including issues related to crop pesticides. But additional topics include threats to pollinators from poor bee nutrition, loss of forage lands, parasites, pathogens and lack of genetic diversity.

"CLA recognizes that bee health is a complex issue and that all stakeholders have a role to play in positively contributing toward pollinator prosperity," said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. "It is critically important that all who claim to care about bee health commit to understanding every factor related to bee health, with an intent to find shared solutions and create opportunities for improvement, rather than simply assigning blame to a single area of concern in pursuit of single focused political goals."

Field studies have consistently found no unreasonable adverse effects on both wild and managed bee populations when pesticides are applied according to label directions, according to CLA, crop protection manufacturers and researchers.

"The crop protection industry promotes sound stewardship practices in crop protection product usage, and CLA will continue to work with growers, beekeepers, regulators and other stakeholders to support bee health through the HBHC and other avenues," CLA has maintained.

CLA announced more of what it contends is important with the following statement. "CLA believes that strong communication among farmers, pesticide applicators, and beekeepers is integral to coexistence of pollinators and production agriculture, and to identifying issues related to pollinator health. Collaboration at the local level leads to solutions that promote bee health, positively impact pollination services, and facilitate crop production and protection. Through increased communication between beekeepers and growers at the local level, stakeholders can develop solutions that work in their specific areas rather than seeking intensive nationwide policy changes."

CLA notes that it supports the public television series America's Heartland in hosting broadcast programming and online educational resources that highlight the connection between pollinators and agriculture. Information on crop protection technology stewardship practices is in The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship, which can be downloaded. This guide was jointly produced by the American Seed Trade Association and CLA along with several grower organizations. Also, CLA suggests people visit its website: CLA's website.