Pollinators are a vital part of U.S. agriculture and it is estimated that they directly impact 35% of the world’s agriculture. Bees are responsible for more that just honey; they pollinate grapes, strawberries, avocados and cucumbers, among many other food crops. Approximately one-third of the crops used to produce foods and beverages are dependent on pollinators, representing nearly $20 billion of crop value in the U.S. each year.
Protecting pollinators is one of the crop protection industry’s top concerns. Many of the products our industry makes contribute to enhancing bee health, such as pesticides that control parasitic mites and products that support increased bee forage.
Neonicotinoids, crop protection products currently under attach for allegedly killing bees, are currently under Registration Review by the EPA. Ensuring risks and benefits are appropriately evaluated and balanced are part of this well-defined process. To that end, Bayer, Syngenta, and Valent have commissioned an independent study last November to determine estimates of the benefits of neonicotinoids.
Recent reports have cited certain crop protection products such as neonicotinoid insecticides as a potential leading cause of bee colony loss. Neonicotinoid insecticides have been used in the United States for many years without significant effects on populations of honey bees. The principal use of neonicotinoids as a seed treatment keeps exposure to pollinators to a minimum, and also reduces potential soil surface and worker exposure. Industry efforts are continually underway to further reduce these small risks.
This letter has information about these 15 new reports on the benefits of neonicotinoids, as well as instructions on how you can let EPA know you support the continued use of this valuable technology. In addition, EPA has announced a 60-day comment period on its report, “Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments to Soybean Production,” closing December 22. To protect farmer’ rights to have choices in production practices for soy and other crops, we urge you to post your comments today as per instructions in the letter mentioned above.
For more information, visit www.GrowingMatters.org.