CropLife America Responds to Today’s Pollinator Health Task Force Report

WASHINGTON, DC – CropLife America (CLA) welcomes the release of the White House Pollinator Health Task Force’s “National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.” The organization is ready to review the report closely to identify areas of collaboration and partnership in supporting pollinator health. The crop protection industry will also continue to advance stewardship activities in conjunction with additional task force plans. CLA praises the task force for creating a multi-pronged, coordinated approach.

“The crop protection industry looks forward to joining the many stakeholders in reviewing the National Pollinator Health Strategy. We are hopeful both the private and public sectors can strategically address pollinator health together,” stated Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “Pollinators add more than $24 billion to our nation’s economy, and honey bees support over 90 commercially grown crops in North America[1]. CLA and our members support stewardship practices in seed treatment, among other key crop protection strategies, and we will continue to work with growers, beekeepers, regulators and other stakeholders to promote responsible pesticide use.”  

Ongoing research and field studies have consistently found no adverse effects on bee colonies when pesticides are applied according to label directions. These science-based label directions are written under supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); in the process, potential environmental and health hazards are carefully evaluated and necessary mitigation measures are taken.

Stakeholders have eagerly awaited the strategy’s release since President Obama established the task force last year. In his June 20, 2014, Memorandum, the President noted, “Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year in the United States” The memorandum also highlighted the other multiple factors that can negatively impact honey bee health, including poor bee nutrition, loss of forage lands, parasites, pathogens and lack of bee genetic diversity.

“Early reports from unnamed sources knowledgeable about the White House report are saying that it will accelerate EPA’s timeline for further scientific evaluation of bee impacts by certain insecticides – we are skeptical of how sound science can be ‘sped up’ for this evaluation and look forward to a reasoned dialogue with EPA on that point,” said Vroom.

“We’re also keen to see how the new White House report addresses the role of long-sought state management plans outlined by EPA in edicts to state regulators over the past year,” Vroom added.

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. 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 a host of grower organizations. Read more about pollinator health and the crop protection industry on CLA’s website.

[1] Fact Sheet: The Economic Challenge Posed by Declining Pollinator Populations, The White House, 2014.

Michael Leary