Pollinators: A Science-Based Approach

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In addition to supporting modern farming technology and practices through legislative and public policy advocacy, Croplife America (CLA) supports a more holistic and scientific approach to understanding and improving pollinator health. While activist groups may claim to link crop protection products with a decline in pollinator health, science suggests that a number of complex factors are at work. Counter to some claims, precision agriculture technology allows farmers to apply pesticides with minimal environmental exposure. Federally-approved label guidelines also dictate the appropriate and safe application of these products.

[Plus: Clearing A Path For Agricultural Progress]

Pollinating insects such as honeybees are crucial to agriculture and, paired with the increased focus on bee health and discovering solutions to their challenges, it is crucial for all of the agricultural industry to remain engaged on this issue. A few examples of the central role that pollinators play in agriculture include:

  • It is estimated that pollinators directly impact one-third of the world’s agriculture.
  • Pollinators are vital to the U.S. economy. Honeybees alone are believed to contribute $20 billion to $30 billion in U.S. crop production each year.
  • A multitude of crops, including many berries, melons, avocados and almonds, could not be produced without the help of pollinating insects.

The crop protection industry seeks to develop science-based solutions for supporting pollinator health by collaborating with multiples parties and advocating
for the following measures:

  • Analyzing the impacts of pesticides on honey bee colonies through continued research.
  • Focused educational outreach intended to help consumers understand the importance of pollinators to agriculture.
  • Additional research on the multiple factors involved in pollinator health. A recent report issued by the USDA and EPA identified a number of influential factors that can impact bees, such as genetic diversity, the varroa mite and availability of forage.

EPA exhaustively reviews chemical products through its transparent registration process, taking into full consideration the potentially adverse effects these products might have on honeybees, other insects and the environment. CLA supports the EPA in its comprehensive pesticide registration process and the extensive environmental risk assessments that the agency conducts. One of CLA’s highest priorities remains working with our members, legislators, conservationists, regulatory agencies and other stakeholders on solutions for pollinator health. Addressing this issue is essential in the ongoing success of agriculture both in the U.S. and around the world.

Greenwood is executive vice president of government relations and public affairs for CropLife America, Washington, DC.

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One comment on “Pollinators: A Science-Based Approach

  1. Bill Warner

    Nice picture of a bee-mimic syrphid fly to illustrate an article primarily discussing honey bees. I guess some syrphids (the hairier ones than the one depicted) are minor pollinators, so you weren't completely wrong…and "holistic" in the title would be inclusive of syrphids…at least that will be the excuse of the person that couldn't tell a two-winged fly from a four-winged bee.