That’s what one Midwest-based
large-scale commercial beekeeper told me last week at the annual
gathering of the American Honey Producers Association (AHPA).
And he meant it.
Independent science continues to point
to pesticides as one of the critical co-factors in bee losses -
alongside nutrition and disease - and beekeepers continue to see
major declines. And these losses parallel the ongoing increase in
pesticide products used on seeds and in fields across the country.
But it isn’t just this year; USDA reports major bee population declines since 2006. Another beekeeper told me he lost over $250,000 in honey business last year alone, and he’s no longer pollinating melon and cherries.
As he reminded me, this not only has
direct impacts on him, but his employees, their communities,
suppliers, vendors, the food system and agricultural economy.
front & center
And representatives from chemical giants
like Arysta, Bayer and
Monsanto made their presence known,
even hosting workshops to pacify concerned beekeepers.
If history is any guide, these corporations will likely continue to object to finding healthy, sustainable and commonsense solutions to bee declines.
Beekeepers, and the farmers they work
with, don't have the necessary support from state and federal
officials to protect pollinators and maintain productive businesses.
They feel victim to a handful of powerful pesticide corporations and
lax government regulators.
Some beekeepers have taken matters into their own hands, forming the National Pollinator Defense Fund.
With a commitment to protecting bees and their livelihood, this new band of beekeepers will,
No doubt it will take all of us to make sure they are successful, and to ensure we will have healthy bees and beekeepers for years to come.
Albert Einstein speculated that,
"If the bees disappeared off the surface of the globe,
man would have left only four years of life.
No more bees, no more pollination,
no more plants, no more animals, no more man."