Subcommittee Reviews the Status of Pollinator Health Including Colony Collapse Disorder

Jun 26, 2008

WASHINGTON - Today, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture held a hearing to review the status of pollinator health including colony collapse disorder.  Congressman Dennis Cardoza of California is Chairman of the Subcommittee.

“The importance of bees and other pollinators cannot be underestimated.  Nearly 130 different crops - totaling over $15 billion in annual farm gate value - depend on pollination to grow.  Simply put, if there are no bees, there is no way for our nation’s farmers to continue to grow the high quality, nutritious foods our country relies on,” Cardoza said.  “Testimony today also revealed that the lack of pollinators could further increase food prices.  USDA desperately needs to better coordinate their research and response to this ongoing crisis, and more clearly define their needs, so that Congress can adequately respond.”

“I appreciate the efforts of agencies at the Department of Agriculture to take the lead in the research and dissemination of information regarding Colony Collapse Disorder,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Randy Neugebauer of Texas.  “I encourage USDA and its university and state partners to continue to work closely with the bee industry in this effort, and to work together in coordinating research in efforts to increase and inform interested parties on this very important issue.”

Today’s hearing marks the second House Agriculture Committee hearing in the 110th Congress to examine the health of pollinators and the threat of colony collapse disorder in honey bee colonies across the United States.  The first ever Congressional hearing devoted to this topic took place in March 2007. 

The Subcommittee heard testimony from researchers and entomologists, commercial beekeepers, and agricultural producers that depend on bees for pollination of their crops.  Honeybees are the most economically valuable pollinators of farm crops in the world, contributing to the production of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and forage crops.  Bee pollination of agricultural crops is said to account for one-third of the American diet.

The opening statements of all witnesses are available on the Committee website, and a full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee website at a later date.

Witness List:

Panel I

  •  Dr. Edward Knipling, PhD, Administrator, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
  •  Dr. Keith S. Delaplane, PhD, Professor, Department of Entomology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
  • Ms. Maryann Frazier, Senior Extension Associate, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

Panel II

  • Mr. Steve Godlin, Beekeeper, Visalia, California
  • Mr. David Mendes, Vice President, American Beekeeping Federation, North Fort Myers, Florida
  • Mr. Robert D. Edwards, Producer, Whitakers, NC
  • Mr. Edward R. Flanagan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jasper Wyman and Son, Milbridge, Maine

Panel III

  • Ms. Kathy Pien, Brand Director, Haagen Dazs Ice Cream, Oakland, California
  • Mr. John Replogle, President and CEO, Burt’s Bees, Durham, North Carolina
  • Ms. Laurie Davies Adams, Executive Director, Pollinator Partnership, San Francisco, California

http://agriculture.house.gov

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