Almond Board Testifies on Bee Needs for State Assembly Committees

(Almond Board of California)

A joint oversight hearing was held TODAY to discuss the threat to California agriculture from the widespread loss of honeybees. Assembly member Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), chair of the state Assembly’s Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, said, “California’s agriculture depends on pollination by honey bees. The potential loss of bees is important for all of us who rely on agriculture for our jobs as well as our food supply.”

Added Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), chair of the Agriculture Committee, “Bees are vital to our economy and the food security of the nation.”

Gabriele Ludwig, ABC’s associate director of Environmental Affairs, testifying before the committees, noted that the Almond Board has funded research on bees for nearly 20 years, and on the basis on that research, she identified two changes that would most benefit honey bee health: better forage and nutrition, and a method for Varroa mite control.

Also presenting testimony was Gordon Wardell of Paramount Farms who spoke about Paramount Farms’ practices to protect bees and to make almonds the safest crop for bees.

Other presenters included Brian Leahy, director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, as well as several scientists, beekeepers and allied industry members.

The consistent points given to both the Environmental Safety and the Agriculture Committees were the complexity of this issue, the need for all stakeholders to work together, and the importance of funding for continued research and extension.

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