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Support for Blue Dasher Farm
Dear Beekeepers & Friends of Bees & Beekeepers,
As all of you know, the last several years have been challenging for the bees and beekeepers. Pest, pesticides, pathogens and poor forage have taken their toll on the health of honey bees and the beekeeping industry. It has pushed normal annual beekeeper losses from 10 - 12% a few short years ago, to a current loss near 50 %. As a result, the bees have been in the news a lot the last few years and this has resulted in more researchers across the country taking a look at what is happing to the bees.
Dr. Jonathan Lundgren is one of the scientists looking into the challenges faced by the bees. Receiving the USDA's Herbert L. Rothbart Outstanding Early Career Research Scientist Award in 2011, this man is one of the nation’s top scientists. He is committed to improving our agricultural systems and the food supply by using insects to better our farming systems. Dr. Lundgren’s research shows that neonicotinoids are harming bees, monarch butterflies, and other wildlife; without providing any economic benefit to soybean farmers. Additional research has shown that RNAi, a new form of genetic pesticide, could potentially harm bees in unpredicted ways. And perhaps worst of all, Dr. Lundgren found that intensification of monoculture is at the root of the problem with our bees.
Based on his research and findings, Dr. Lundgren sounded the alarm that challenged the status quo. He published the discovery of his work without concern for the vested economic or political interest. If Dr. Lundgren had not discussed and published his findings, he would have had a much longer and more comfortable career within the USDA, all he had to do was stay quiet and put in his time. Instead, he told the truth about the obstacles beekeepers and farmers are facing. The truth that high input chemical farming systems are harming the bees and other beneficial insects, as well as harming the soil, and they weren't always helping farmers in the way they were being portrayed. For taking this stand and exposing the truth, the USDA has put up countless roadblocks in an attempt to diminish Dr. Lundgren's research, crush his spirit, and has made the lives of his family and his laboratory group living hell (see links below).
Unfortunately, Dr. Lundgren is not alone, other scientists whose research challenges the vested interest or political dynamic are routinely stifled at universities and stifled in federally funded research. (Some of our National Land Grand schools have presidents that sit on the Board of Directors of major chemical companies). Only a few other scientist and researchers have had the courage and integrity to risk career and economic wellbeing to stand up for what is right. By taking this stand, Dr. Lundgren has risked everything to make the world better for bees, farmers, and the next generation. We desperately need more scientists with this kind of integrity, and courage. We cannot let Dr. Lundgren fail at this point. If he fails, it will send a message to other scientists that if they tell us the truth, then they are flushing their education and careers down the drain.
Dr. Lundgren has decided to work harder than ever to help the beekeepers, farmers, and ranchers instead of giving up. He is starting an independent research, education, and demonstration initiative to help train the next generation of scientists and farmers in how to produce crops using ecological principles. Rather than taking a piecemeal approach to solving the bee problem, Dr. Lundgren is working to solve the root of the bee problem “we need to transform agriculture to make an environment where bees and farmers can thrive”
This research laboratory and demonstration farm will be Blue Dasher Farm, and he is fundraising to get the facility up and off the ground
www.indiegogo.com/projects/blue-dasher-farm (check out the additional videos in the “gallery” tab too on that website)
This is an exciting opportunity for you to be a part of the solution! Join Dr. Lundgren, take a stand and donate today! Any amount is helpful, but your donation, support and participation allows Dr. Lundgren to add your name to the list of donors and supporters so that he can use this as leverage to do additional fund raising. Also, spread the word through newsletters, bee clubs, gardening groups, conservation societies, churches, schools… your friends and family on FaceBook. Get the word out anyway you can! The only way Blue Dasher Farm is going to be able to help us, is if we give him the chance by using our sphere of influence.
Time is of the essence here. It cannot wait, his fundraising campaign is taking place now and will be done in the next few weeks. Let’s make it a success and send a message: We can have a better system, one where bees stay alive, farmer’s expenses go down, their profits go up, and our environment and food is healthier.
The Executive Board,
American Honey Producers Association
Below is more about Dr. Lundgren’s story.
For those who use USPS
Blue Dasher Farms
2016 State St.
Brookings, SD 57006
The State of American Agriculture
by: Eric Silva
The other night the President addressed Congress and America for one final State of the Union address. Among his special guests, sitting alongside the First Lady, was a small business owner from Colorado. She runs a nearly 100 year old, family-owned business committed to selling American honey and honey products.
Our country’s beekeepers might not be the first business owners that come to mind when one reflects upon the state of our union. Beekeepers are admittedly not the biggest job creators. And there is certainly no threat that the honey industry will ship itself offshore for tax breaks. But, nonetheless, the story of the beekeeper is a story worth paying attention to. Because while beekeepers might not leave America for the prospect of economic gain elsewhere, they are at risk of disappearing from the American landscape altogether if current trade and bee health decline trends continue. That would be a major problem for all of us.
America’s beekeepers don’t just supply honey. They are the lifeblood of some of our most nutritious crops, responsible for pollinating a full 1/3rd of our diet. Much like the honey bee itself, the American beekeeping industry is small but mighty. At less than $1 billion in total market cap, the beekeeping industry is nonetheless responsible for $20 billion in agricultural output as a result of pollination services. And that’s just counting dollars at the farm gate. A retail measurement would be exponentially higher. A significant percentage of that output comes from almonds alone with more than 80% of the world’s almond supply grown in California and 100% of that crop reliant on honey bees for pollination. In fact, some estimates place more than 70% of all commercially managed honey bees in California at the same time during the almond bloom.
Impressive as this is, American beekeepers and their honey bees are facing enormous and unsustainable pressures. Since 2006, honey bees have been dying off at alarming rates, averaging about 35% over winter mortality per year. Honey bees are faced with chemical pressures like never before, new diseases, treatment-resistent parasites, and a declining food source as more and more conservation land moves into non-pollinator-friendly agricultural production. Add to these pressures nearly two decades of market destabilizing illicit trade schemes, perpetrated mostly by Chinese exporters, and you have an unsustainable operating environment. The result? The American beekeeper is spending more time and money than ever to produce less honey and provide weaker bees to growers of almonds, apples, pears, berries and the more than 90 fruits and vegetables that rely on commercial pollination.
All of that said, there are some reasons to be optimistic about the future. Americans as a whole have stepped up to the plate, raising the collective conscience and calling for preservation of pollinators and the landscapes they rely upon. And since 2008, Congress and the Department of Agriculture have provided financial support to American beekeepers when their losses have reached unsustainable levels. They have also increased funding for honey bee health research, expanded data collection, and spent millions of dollars in grower outreach to promote better habitat. More significantly, in June of 2014, President Obama took the unprecedented step of using his executive powers to establish a multi-agency task force on the issue. That task force released a ten year national strategic plan in May of 2015 to promote the health of honey bees, and implementation is now under way, supported by a great deal of private sector interest.
These White House and Congressional actions are a great down payment on the solution. But the work, in some ways, is just beginning. Failing to solve this problem will not just impact beekeepers. It will mean declining crop production capacity across America, rising prices for consumers, and more reliance on foreign food production than ever.
For more information about the commercial beekeeping industry and what the White House, USDA and EPA are doing to address honey bee health, see the following links:
** North South Government Strategies represents the American Honey Producers Association (AHPA) and proudly advocates for the interests of the honey production and pollination services industries
New ARS Bee Genebank Will Preserve Genetic Diversity and Provide Breeding Resources
By Kim Kaplan
January 26, 2016
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is organizing a national bee genebank as part of the agency's response to ongoing problems facing the country's beekeepers. Average losses of managed honey bee colonies have increased to more than 30 percent per year due to pathogens, pests, parasites, and other pressures including deficient nutrition and sublethal impacts of pesticides. These stresses have threatened the continued business sustainability of commercial beekeepers.
The genebank, which will be located in Fort Collins, Colorado, will help preserve the genetic diversity of honey bees, especially for traits such as resistance to pests or diseases and pollination efficiency. It will also provide ARS and other researchers access to resources from which to breed better bees, according to entomologist Robert Danka, with the ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research Unit in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Danka is helping shape the bee genebank—the Russian honey bee and Varroa Sensitive Hygiene lines developed at the Baton Rouge lab will be among those conserved first.
To help make the genebank a practical reality, ARS researchers are developing better long-term storage techniques for honey bees, including improving cryopreservation of bee sperm and embryos. Their work will include creating a way to reliably revive frozen embryos and grow them into reproductively viable adults after storage.
Another component needed to create the new genebank is a germplasm species committee, which will decide which species and subspecies to collect and preserve. ARS and Washington State University are working with beekeepers on the next steps for the committee.
ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.
Read more about the new genebank in the January 2016 issue of AgResearch.
Apple Producers Named In Antidumping Ruling
Posted By: Christina Herrick | January 12,
The Secretariat of Economy (SE) in Mexico published the results of a preliminary antidumping investigation against imported apples from the U.S. As a result of this resolution, the Mexican government is requiring provisional duty payments.
The Regional Fruit Producers Association from the State of Chihuahua (UNIFRUT) requested an antidumping investigation against the producers and exporters of apples from the U.S., because they believed U.S. apples were sold in Mexico for less than fair value to the detriment of growers in Chihuahua. The petition was delivered to the SE on Aug. 14, 2014. On Dec. 4, 2014, the Mexican government announced it would begin an antidumping investigation on imports of apples from the U.S.
In the official notice, the SE stated there is sufficient evidence to support the claim that imported of apples from the U.S. were sold at discriminatory prices in Mexico.
The investigation resolution states
Imports of apples from the U.S. were made with dumping margins of up to 20.82% during the period of investigation. Such imports represented 98% of total imports.
The imports investigated registered growth both in absolute terms and relative to the market size and domestic production over the period analyzed. This resulted in the displacement of domestic sales and a larger share of U.S. imports in the Mexican market.
The prices of the imports investigated decreased during the investigation period and were lower than the average price of domestic sales in the months previous to the harvest during the period investigated.
Imports of apples caused the deterioration of relevant indicators of the Mexican apple industry, production in the period analyzed and in the period investigated. The share of domestic sales and production in the Mexican market, the income from total sales and the domestic market, as well as gross profits and gross operating margin were impacted.
The projections provided by UNIFRUT to support the analysis of threat of injury are based on a reasonable methodology and historical figures for both imports and economic and financial indicators of the domestic industry, and allows the SE to observe a probability that in case no antidumping duties were imposed, an increase of imports would aggravate the injury to the domestic industry.
U.S. exports are several times the size of the domestic Mexican market, and U.S. apple exports to the Mexican market were increasing in absolute and relative terms, and were made at low prices.
According to the SE, although there could be other factors causing injury to the domestic industry besides the imports under investigation, the presence and behavior of the imports with price discrimination, and prices at which imports were made, had a direct impact on the performance of various indicators of the domestic producers.
Due to the large number of U.S. producers/exporters of apples to Mexico, SE limited its examination in the antidumping investigation to the 11 largest U.S. producers/exporters of apples during the period of investigation. The SE decided to impose the following preliminary antidumping duties:
Broetje: 17.22 %
Custom Apple: 5.55%
Northern Fruit: 9.45%
Washington Fruit: none
Producers/exporters not part of the sample: 7.55%
All others: 20.82%
Preliminary antidumping duties started collection on Jan. 7, and will remain in force until a final determination is reached. Preliminary duties may be paid or guaranteed subject to a final determination. According to SE, interested parties may file written comments on this preliminary determination within 20 business days of its issuance directly to Mexico’s investigating authority:
Unidad de Prácticas Comerciales Internacionales (UPCI)
Insurgentes Sur 1940, planta baja (área de ventanillas),
Colonia Florida, C.P. 01030,
México, Distrito Federal MX6001