White House urged to put organic in pollinator policy
The Organic Trade Association (OTA)has called on the White House to officially recognize organic farming practices as beneficial to the health of honey bees and other pollinators, and to emphasize agricultural production methods as a key solution to stopping disproportionate bee deaths. In a unanimous decision, OTA's Board of Directors adopted a strong set of policy positions on pollinator health that promote organic farming as part of the national solution to conserve and protect pollinator populations.
"It's time our policymakers recognize organic's contribution to our pollinator population, and officially make organic a part of the solution," said Melissa Hughes of Organic Valley and president of OTA's Board. "Organic farming alleviates many threats to bees and other pollinators by not using synthetic pesticides and supporting biodiversity and the habitat of pollinators." The action by OTA follows the release of a report from The Organic Center showing the effectiveness of organic farming practices in maintaining the health and populations of important crop pollinators, predominantly bees. The report is available for download here.
Seventy-five percent of all crops grown for human consumption rely on pollinators, mostly honey bees, for a successful harvest. Every year more than US$16 billion (about €14 billion) worth of crops in the USA alone benefit from pollination. But over the past decade, the bee population has plummeted. Since 2006, beekeepers have lost over a third of their bee hives. The White House recently released its official strategy to protect pollinators. While the Administration's strategy provides funding to protect bee habitat, increase research, and directs the EPA to re-evaluate neonicotinoids, OTA said the plan "only minimally addresses the impact of agricultural production methods on pollinators." More information is available from www.ota.com
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