Recently, the federal government decided to cut funding for what bee advocates consider to be a vital study on the honey bee population. Due to the problems with the colony collapse disorder as well as weather problems that have created more honey bee loss than usual over the winter, even missing a single year of this information can be crippling to the industry. On Monday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) echoed those sentiments while speaking at a news conference at the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center in Albany.
According to Senator Schumer, the cuts by the federal government will not only impact the honey bee industry but also the overall economy of upstate New York. Schumer believes much of the progress in the region as an agricultural hub is now at risk over this decision. Rather than cut funding, Schumer believes the government should be increasing its contribution to work on bee populations.
Schumer stated, “It sure helps, but you don’t need to be a beekeeper to understand the benefit pollinating bees have on the Upstate economy and the Capital Region. Look around and you will see that they boost an agricultural hive of economic productivity. From farmers’ markets, to farm-to-table restaurants, to apples to flowers that solidify our area as an agricultural hub, we have a lot to tout —and it is because of bees like these”
He added, “So to find out that, in an under-the-radar move from Washington, the USDA has clipped the wings of a critical data-collection program on honey bee colonies, impacting jobs and productivity in places like Albany, really stings.”
The Senator came to the event loaded with stats that makes it even more baffling as to how the federal government could move forward with these cuts. As we have been reporting here for weeks, Schumer echoed many of the loss numbers we have stated, including the fact that since 1940, the honey bee population has been more than cut in half, a loss rate that is simply unsustainable.
New York has not been immune to the problem of loss, with almost 18,000 hives lost in the past year. If that continues, the local agriculture scene in New York can expect a significant decline. Considering more than $47 million in agricultural goods were sold in 2017 in Albany county alone, as Schumer stated, the impact on the county from the colony collapse problems could be devastating.
Source: Troy Record
Photo Courtesy of Senate Democrats via Creative Commons License