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Archived Latest News June 2013


House Adds Honey Bee and Pollinator Protections to Farm Bill

June 21, 2013

The Center for Food Safety applauds the passage of a pollinator protection amendment Wednesday that was offered by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) to the Farm Bill currently being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, a fitting and positive development during National Pollinator Week.

Beekeepers worldwide have seen record losses of pollinators this year.

"Honey bees and other pollinators have been suffering record-high population losses,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety. "Pollinators are vitally important to agriculture and are an integral part of food production. These critical species are at the front lines of pesticide exposure and it is high time that the government do more to protect them.”

The Hastings amendment, which passed 273-149 with 81 Republicans and 192 Democrats voting in favor, seeks to better improve federal coordination in addressing the dramatic decline of managed and native pollinators as well as direct the government to regularly monitor and report on the health of pollinators including bees, birds, bats and other beneficial insects. Read More



International Trade Today_________________

Honey Provisions in Senate Customs Bill Create Buzz Among Industry, Despite Concerns About Cost, Impact

In the sticky world of honey shipments - where antidumping cases can span decades, criminal investigations can topple major suppliers and faulty testing can quash a court case - industry stakeholders are hoping a provision in the Senate customs reauthorization bill will bring sweet relief. Tucked at the end of S-662, it aims to prevent honey transshipment by requiring CBP to create a honey characteristic database and report to Congress on honey testing capabilities. It also encourages the Food and Drug Administration to promptly create standard of identity for honey. A House Ways and Means Committee spokesperson said they are studying the provision for possible inclusion in a House customs bill.

The database would be "at least another tool in the toolbox as far as CBP being able to seize honey, seize illegal shipments," said Mark Jenkins*, chair of the American Honey Producers Association (AHPA) legislative committee. The group has been working on S-662 with the office of Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the bill's sponsors. The database, as outlined in the bill, would compile individual characteristics of foreign honey, "to facilitate the verification of country of origin markings of imported honey" (read S-662 here). CBP would be required to consult with industry groups, the FDA and foreign customs agencies when building the database. Read More

*NOTE-Mark "Jenkins" in this article is Mark Jensen,  chair of the American Honey Producers Association Legislative Committee



Pollinators Protected, at least in the House

By Kim Flottum

A pollinator protection amendment passed yesterday that was offered by Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) to the Farm Bill currently being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, a fitting and positive development during National Pollinator Week.

"Honey bees and other pollinators have been suffering record-high population losses, and we all know pollinators are vitally important to agriculture and are an integral part of food production. These critical species are at the front lines of pesticide exposure and it is high time that the government do more to protect them.” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety.

The Hastings amendment, which passed 273-149 with 81 Republicans and 192 Democrats voting in favor, seeks to better improve federal coordination in addressing the dramatic decline of managed and native pollinators as well as direct the government to regularly monitor and report on the health of pollinators including bees, birds, bats and other beneficial insects.

In the United States, pollination contributes to $20-30 billion in agricultural production annually.In North America, honey bees pollinate nearly 95 kinds of fruits, including many specialty crops like almonds, avocados, cranberries, oranges and apples.

"This year has shown the highest honey bee losses since colony collapse began; it is a clear message that we need to do more to protect pollinators. The Hastings amendment is a much needed win for pollinators everywhere and we hope it compels the government to do more to protect these vital species,” added Kimbrell.

Earlier this month, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) filed a nearly identical amendment to the Senate Farm Bill but it was not voted on prior to the Senate passing its bill. The House has yet to vote on final passage of the bill, which is expected to come early next week. The Center is confident that the Senate will support the pollinator protection language when the two bills go to conference.


Message From Our President, Randy Verhoek

New Money for Pesticide Research

As you will recall Executive Board members of the AHPA descended upon Washington, DC several weeks ago and laid the cards on the table, so to speak, concerning the state of the bee industry. Bret Adee and I followed up with more meetings 10 days later. Our message was loud, clear and to the point. "The bee industry is in real trouble and if we are to survive we need research money now.” Yes, we understand that times are tight with the budget and sequestration, etc. but after 7 years of CCD we are no closer to a solution and our current ARS labs have just about enough money to keep the lights on and that is about it.

Now here we are in June and myself along with Bret Adee, Steven Coy, Joe Sanroma and Rick Smith attended a stakeholder meeting hosted by Dr. Tom Rinderer at the ARS Bee Research Lab in Baton Rouge, LA. to help steer $1.3 million in new area wide funding for pesticide research.

Thanks to Dr. Kevin Hackett who pulled together a broad based group of researchers on top of those currently working on research projects at our three honey bee labs and the native bee lab at Logan, UT. Included for these new research projects are Dr. John Adamczyk, Integrated Pest Management from Poplarville, MS. as the RL for cotton/soybean application research along with Dr. Clint Hoffman, Applied Technologies from College Station, TX and Dr. Y.C. Zhu a toxicologist from Stoneville, MS. In addition there will be research going on by Dr. Peter Teal, Gainesville, FL. and Ian Yocum and Joe Rinehardt in Fargo, ND.

After a serious discussion of what beekeepers are experiencing in the field we were able to identify the top 4 areas of importance of research.

1. Continual exposure. What types of pesticides are coming into the hives on a season long basis.

2. Synergisms. Adjuvants, fungicides, pesticides and mite treatments. Are there synergistic side affects when bees are continually exposed?

3. Winter bees. Are these pesticides coming into the hives where the bees are storing contaminated pollen? Do these pesticides shorten the life span of the bees and/or affect their ability to thermo regulate and survive the winter?

4. Improved pesticide applications and night spraying. Reducing exposures in cotton and soy beans.

5. Other areas of consideration. Soil accumulation, glyphosate, neo-nics in general, accumulation of materials as it affects foraging, IGR’s, snotty brood, limits of the bees ability to detoxification.





Pesticide Producers Turn To ‘Bee-Washing’ To Fight Backlash

ByAndrea Germanos,Common Dreams

Pesticide makers have taken to framing themselves as stewards of the bees as backlash over their products’ links to mass bee deaths grows.

"Scientists, consumer groups, beekeepers and others blame the devastating rate of bee deaths on the growing use of pesticides sold by agrichemical companies to boost yields of staple crops such as corn,”Reuters‘ Carey Gillam reports, and this uproar worries officials at Bayer and Syngenta, who make the pesticides, as well as Monsanto, DuPont, and other companies who used them as coatings for the seed they sell.

So just as some companies have tried to "greenwash” their toxic products, these agrichemical companies are engaging in "bee-washing.” Gillam continues:

"Monsanto Co. is hosting a ‘Bee Summit.’ Bayer AG is breaking ground on a ‘Bee Care Center.’ And Sygenta AG is funding grants for research into the accelerating demise of honeybees in the United States, where the insects pollinate fruits and vegetables that make up roughly a quarter of the American diet. Read More



Kim Flottum

The Applicator Must Ensure that Pesticide Spray Drift Does No Harm

LAWRENCE, Kansas – June 4, 2013 – Recently, pesticide spray drift from different pesticide applications caused damage to field corn on a bordering farm, vegetables in an adjacent backyard, trees and bushes in a nearby state park and vegetation on an adjoining campus. In all cases, the applicators were fined because they had not taken the necessary precautions to avoid drift.

Pesticide spray drift is the physical movement of spray droplets from the intended target to any non-target site. Drift is not just about crop injury; it can negatively impact workers, organic crops, the general public, beehives, gardens, aquatic areas and other sensitive habitats, even if the effects are not immediate or obvious.

Pesticide labels vary with regard to information on spray drift management. Some labels provide a detailed list of required drift management techniques. Labels may specify a maximum wind speed in which to spray, or simply indicate not to apply under windy conditions. Labels may also require an "adequate” or specific size buffer zone between the target site and sensitive sites, such as areas occupied by humans, animals or susceptible vegetation.

"No portion of the label stands alone – it is critical that spray drift-specific requirements be considered concurrently with all other label requirements,” notes Don Renchie, Ph.D., Pesticide Safety Education Program Coordinator, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. "For example, the agricultural label requirement to protect workers will override any maximum wind speed allowed on the label if workers are in close proximity downwind of a planned application.” Read More


2013 Farm Bill Progress

June 06, 2013

The Senate vote for closure on the 2013 Farm Bill passed 75-22 today, June 6, 2013, while the House Ag leadership is working to find sufficient votes for passage of the Farm Bill sometime in June 2013. The Senate will discuss a motion to proceed to the Immigration Bill tomorrow, June 7, 2013. Closure for the Farm Bill helped stop a long debate process over the many amendments that have been filed. The Senate has agreed to do the final vote on the 2013 Farm Bill Monday at 5:30 pm EST. The Senate Agriculture Committee leadership is still negotiating which amendments will be addressed before the final vote of the Farm Bill; some 240 amendments remain filed.

To view the Senate Floor upcoming schedule, click here.


The Top 5 Priorities of AHPA

AHPA is certainly busy strategizing how to keep modern commercial beekeeping viable and profitable going forward. Keeping this in mind, we have developed a Top 5 Priorities List.

1. Fund Economic Research Service to develop an Economic Model of the value of bees. This new study is our foundational effort to factor in the real value of honey bees past the farm gate due to their direct impact on food production in the U.S.

2. Build a state of the art genetics lab at Baton Rouge and move the Tucson lab to California. Research objectives of California Lab:

Development of BMP’s and IPM on current fungicides, pesticides, and Insect Growth Regulators in a manner that minimizes stress on honey bees while protecting the nation’s crops. This lab would also continue research on wintering bees using feed, nutrition and other methods. This is a reasonable move given the fact that over half of the nations bee supply end up in California to pollinate almonds.

3. Triple bee research funds to ARS.

4. Triple bee research funds to the Land grant system.

On items number three and four on the list, we simply need applied research in the field to determine the affects of pesticides on honeybees.

5. Forage and Nutrition. Fund the reclaiming of canals, aqueducts and clean water riparian areas to a state that maximizes the benefit to Honey Bees and native pollinators and whenever possible road and the highway right of ways to be maintained in a state that maximizes benefit to Honey Bees and native pollinators.

These maybe lofty goals that may not happen overnight but the AHPA is determined to go after these funds until they are appropriated. If again, according to the UN study that honeybees are number three, then we need research funding to match the benefit.


New Guidelines for Reporting Pesticide Incidents


SUBJECT: Transmittal of Guidance for Inspecting Alleged Cases of Pesticide-Related Bee Incidents

FROM: Lisa Lund, Director
             Office of Compliance

I am pleased to distribute the attached guidance for inspecting alleged cases of pesticide-related bee incidents in time for spring and summer incident investigations. This guidance is a supplement to the national Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Inspection Manual. It presents unique considerations that federal, state and tribal inspectors should examine when investigating bee deaths that may be related to pesticide use. I request that you distribute this guidance to your state lead agencies and tribal pesticide programs and encourage you to discuss implementation of this guidance with them . We hope that using this guidance will make federal, state and tribal investigations of pesticide-related bee incidents more effective and efficient and help beekeepers , growers, and other stakeholders better understand the inspection process and the challenges associated with these complex investigations.

Strengthening our investigation of bee incidents through the implementation of this guidance is an important element of the U.S . Environmental Protection Agency's Pollinator Protection Strategic Plan. This plan includes working collaboratively with beekeepers, growers, pesticide manufacturers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, states and tribes to enhance pollinator protection.

The development of the guidance was led by Region 5 Land and Chemicals Division with staff from Region 5 Regional Counsel , Headquarters' Offices of Pesticide Program s and Enforcement and Compliance Assurance and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

In addition, the State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (SFIREG) and the Tribal Pesticide Program Council (TPPC) reviewed a draft of the guidance and provided comments.

If you have any questions or comments on the guidance, please contact Ed Messina, Director of the Monitoring, Assistance and Media Programs Division at (202) 564-2300, or have staff contact Carol Galloway, OC at (913) 551-5092, or Margaret Jones, Region 5, at (3 12) 353-5790.

  Download Guide Here




Wild vs. domesticated bees
It could cost more to get food on your table if farmers let wild bees go extinct




Senator Boxer Introduces Pollinator Protection Amendment to the Senate Farm Bill

By Larissa Walker, Policy and Campaign Coordinator at Center for Food Safety

May 31st, 2013

Next week Congress comes back from recess and the Senate will resume debates on the Farm Bill. While there are a number of possible amendments we have our eye on this year, especially those pertaining to the labeling of genetically engineered food, support for organic farmers, and a repeal of the "Monsanto Protection Act,” there’s one amendment in particular that we’re expecting to receive a ton of buzz: Senator Boxer’s pollinator protection amendment.

Over the past decade, honey bees and other pollinators have been suffering record-high population losses. Given that one in every three bites of food is reliant on bees and other species for pollination, the decline of pollinators demands swift action; our agricultural economy, food supply and environment depend on their well-being. Thankfully, Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) introduction of amendment (S. 1027) to the Farm Bill would be a step in the right direction towards protecting honey bees and other pollinators if passed.

What exactly would this amendment require the government to do?

Read more


Benefits of Propolis to Honey Bees: Does Propolis Reduce Levels of Viruses in Larvae?

Marla Spivak
University of Minnesota

We proposed two research objectives: 1) to test if there is a correlation between colony health and propolis collection in European-derived honey bees, and 2) to compare the immune systems of African- and European-derived colonies that have been enriched or deprived of a propolis envelope in the nest cavity.

Read Final Report Here


Urgent Message

from our President Randy Verhoek

May 24, 2013

Dear Member,

Bret Adee and myself are again out in DC on behalf of the Honey Producers as the Farm Bill progresses. First of all I have some good news to report on the creation of the Boxer Bee amendment. The passing of this amendment would:

1. create an interagency task force on bee health and commercial beekeeping;

2. encourage a more proactive approach to protecting pollinator health at USDA, Department Of Interior and EPA; and

3. require feasibility studies for modernizing one current ARS honey bee research laboratory and establishing one new ARS pollinator research laboratory.

Please call your senators and support the passage of this important legislation as this is the foundation we can use to build upon for solving honeybee health challenges now and in the future. Please call your senators today!

Read full Boxer Bee Amendment

Also amongst the amendments lurking in the Farm bill is a worrisome piece of legislation that concerns us that has to do with imported treated seed where the pesticides coated on this seed would be completely unregulated. We simply cannot allow this to pass especially given the fact that there are documented cases where these toxic coatings have killed bees.

Read Seed Senate Amendment SA- 984

Please Call your Senators Now!

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Cassie Cox
Executive Secretary
PO Box 435
Mendon, UT 84325