Support the Pollinator Protection Amendment to the Senate Farm Bill

June 3rd 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 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?

Amendment 1027 would help to ensure the long-term viability of populations of honey bees, wild bees, and other beneficial insects through several initiatives, including:

  • Establishing an inter-agency dialogue about pollinator health between the Department of Agriculture, Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Creating a task force on bee health and commercial beekeeping
  • Directing the government to regularly monitor and report on health and population status of pollinators (including bees, birds, bats, and other species)
  • Compelling agencies to utilize the best available peer-reviewed science on environmental and chemical stressors to pollinators, including international efforts addressing pollinator declines
  • Assessing the feasibility for new public bee research labs

While the Farm Bill debates continue to be a rollercoaster of upsets and victories for small farmers, conservation groups and other stakeholders, it is important to remember that this five-year bill affects all of us, and all of us will be affected by the devastating pollinator losses plaguing our nation.  It is crucial that we take whatever steps we can, however small they may be, to work towards protecting these critical species and our future food security.

The Senate will resume voting on amendments next week, so please take action today and urge your Senator to support the Pollinator Protection Amendment!

Subject: Support Amendment 1027

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