ouse Committee on Agriculture Hearing Illustrates Need for Federal Coordination Regarding All Stress Factors Affecting Pollinators

WASHINGTON, D.C. – CropLife America (CLA) applauds the leadership of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research for their hearing on Wednesday, May 13 to review the federal coordination plan and response regarding the upcoming release of the White House National Pollinator Health Strategy, due for release soon. Members of the committee, along with witnesses, highlighted the multiple factors affecting bee health and the need for a harmonized response from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the two coordinating agencies for the White House Pollinator Task Force which also includes a huge array of other Federal agencies ranging from the Department of Defense to the Department of the Interior. 

“The hearing today highlights the importance of unified policies and the need for strong communication between USDA and EPA,” stated Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “Agriculture is a large contributor of our country’s economy. For instance, the U.S. is a major producer and exporter of soybeans, earning $3-4 billion in soybean and related product exports1. We must ensure that farmers have the tools they need to grow crops while addressing the many factors that affect pollinators. Pollinators are vital, too — they support 1/3 of the human diet2. CLA looks forward to working with beekeepers, policy makers and other stakeholders to safeguard our nation’s pollinators and keep the agriculture sector strong.”

Jim Jones, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, and Robert Johansson, acting chief economist at USDA, testified on behalf of their respective agencies. Rodney Davis (IL-13), chairman of the subcommittee, commented in his opening statement that neonicotinoid insecticides “are highly effective” and offer “significant benefits.” He further stated, “It is frustrating that efforts to innovate and employ new, proven technologies to enhance our ability to produce food, feed and fiber are constantly under attack.” Suzan DelBene (WA-1) noted in her opening statement, “My goal is to ensure that individual growers have the tools needed to make the best pest management decisions given their individual circumstances of crop, climate and ecological sensitivity.” A press release from the House Committee on Agriculture states that, “The committee intends to continue its oversight, including receiving input from various stakeholder organizations, once the national strategy from the White House Task Force is made available for public review.”

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. Additionally, the association 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, and also strongly supports the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign. Read more about pollinator health and the crop protection industry on CLA’s website.

1 Major Crops Grown in the U.S., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

2 Insect Pollination of Cultivated Crop Plants, S.E. McGregor, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Michael Leary