2021 Policy Agenda

AMERICAN HONEY PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION

POLICY AGENDA 2021

AHPA will work on the following federal policy and regulatory agenda in 2021. As we have done in the past, we will periodically poll AHPA membership to ensure that this agenda is in line with expectations and needs.

 

I.          SECURING ECONOMIC SUPPORT FOR BEEKEEPERS

 

•   ELAP:  work with Congress on oversight of the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (“ELAP”).  AHPA will work with USDA to ensure consistency in the administration of the ELAP program and notify them of recurring challenges faced by beekeepers using the program.  With a final rule-making published in 2020 (major concerns averted), we continue to monitor the implications of the rule changes for our members and provide feedback both to USDA and to Congressional authorizers and appropriators.  In 2021 we will be submitting a recommended improvements to the Congressional appropriations committees.  

 

•   Coronavirus Support / CFAP:  in follow up to our successful efforts to include honey in the CFAP-2 program, AHPA will work with the incoming Biden Administration and the Congressional oversight committees to ensure beekeepers continue to be covered under future phases of CFAP and alternative support programs. 

 

II.         PROTECTING HONEY INTEGRITY

 

•   Trade Enforcement: lobby Congress and work with Customs to dedicate more financial resources, manpower, and technology to detecting fraud and adulteration in imported honey. With multiple years of new funding achieved at the Congressional level and significant action underway to improve enforcement, we look forward to a continued partnership with Congress and the agencies in 2021.  We will consider complimentary legal action on a case by case and resources available basis.  

 

•   Honey Integrity: work with the 4 year old AHPA-established, industry-wide Honey Integrity Task Force, USP, CBP, FDA, USDA and other stakeholders who share AHPA’s mission to assure the integrity of the American honey supply and reasonable profits for American producers. This work includes a focus on standardizing definitions of honey, assessing and standardizing test methodologies for honey, promoting specific consensus enforcement protocols at Customs and FDA, assessing and improving label requirements and enforcement of those labels, and working with retailers and marketers to limit the use and sale of adulterated honey in the United States. With the USP standard recently published for comment, we will focus our attention early in 2021 on finalizing our work with USP and using the final USP product as a compelling tool to ensure consistency and integrity in the honey market - both in the commercial and regulatory context.  As we have for years, we will encourage FDA to support this effort, either through adopting an official consensus standard or providing additional guidance to the states to ensure uniformity of state standards. 

 

•   FDA / Added Sugar:  follow up on our recent successes in getting Congress to prohibit the FDA from requiring that packaged honey be labeled with “added sugar” grams.  Despite those successes, FDA’s 2019 guidance documents on nutrition labels now require single ingredient products such as honey to include a % DV citation next to sugar amounts. While we do not view this requirement to be as confusing as the prior grams of “added sugars” requirements, we have been working successfully with Congress to require FDA to produce detailed guidance for the industry on acceptable labels that will NOT confuse the consumer. 

 

III.        PROMOTING HONEY BEE HEALTH

 

•   Honey Bee Research Funding: work with Congress and USDA to maintain and increase funding for honey bee research at ARS honey bee research labs and various other USDA agencies (APHIS, NIFA, NASS, ERS).  Lobby to protect annual NASS surveys from any further data collection lapses. 

 

•   Honey Bee Research Coordination: continue to work with USDA on implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill honeybee and pollinator research programs with an emphasis on ensuring the success of the now well-established USDA Honey Bee and Pollinator Research Coordinator position at the Office of the Chief Scientist.  We will continue our work in partnership with that office to steer existing and future USDA research dollars to their best use on behalf of the commercial beekeeping industry.

 

•   EPA / Chemicals Research: work with stakeholder partners and the incoming Biden administration officials to identify priority actions for the agency to take in protection of commercial beekeepers and honey bee health.  Comment on a report expected from USDA and EPA in Q1 2021 summarizing recommendations from the AHPA-requested 2020 EPA/USDA Pollinator State of Science Workshop.

 

 

IV.       SUPPORTING BEEKEEPING OPERATIONS

 

•   Transportation / Hours Of Service: continue working with DOT, Congress, and our allies in Washington to extend hours of service time for bee haulers and to delay compliance with the new ELOG requirements until a workable solution is enacted.

 

•   Immigration: work with Congress, our allies in Washington, and the incoming Biden Administration to improve the H-2A Program so that beekeepers can more easily access workers, keep them here longer, and move them around the country more freely, among other things.  Legislation improving the program passed the House in 2019 and is expected to be reintroduced and acted upon in 2021.  With a number of immigration issues of concern to the incoming Biden-Administration, we expect more attention to this issue in 2021 than 2020. 

 

•   Public Lands Access:  work to improve beekeeper access to public lands by working with the national offices at the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other overseers of multiple use lands to provide consistent guidance to local land managers on when and how to approve multi-year beekeeper permits for access to those lands, and to ensure manager’s are aware of the national priority preference for honey bee access. In particular, AHPA will work to vigorously defend beekeepers against a recent petition filed by the Xerces Society with USFS seeking to deny commercial beekeeper access to Forest Service lands.  We are engaging the agency directly with counsel and will lobby Congress in 2021, as needed.  

 

•   Forage Protection  / Biocontrol Agents:  continue to oppose proposals before APHIS to release bio control agents aimed at “controlling” the spread of Tallow, Knotweed and other important honey bee forage.

 

•   Farm Bill Implementation / Conservation: work with Congress on oversight and USDA and our stakeholder allies on implementation to improve the amount of pollinator friendly acreage included in the FSA and NRCS conservation programs.

 

V.         PLAYING WHACK-A-MOLE

 

Time, resources and opportunity considered, AHPA will endeavor to work on new issues that arise in 2021 or that are identified during the AHPA conference, whether those issues arise in the resolutions meeting or by way of written submissions to the executive board by AHPA members.  Such issues will be considered and voted upon by the AHPA Executive Board on a case by case basis before any federal engagement is commenced.  Dues do not cover all of our Washington and legal expenses.  Consider contributing to AHPA today for a better tomorrow!