October 20, 2010
Today, October 20, the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) kicked off its three-day 10th Annual International Conference, “Pollinators and North American Priorities: Why Pollinators Matter: Benefits, Challenges, and Outcomes,” at USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. NAPPC, which is administered by the Pollinator Partnership (P2), is a collaborative group of over 120 organizations and individuals that work to promote and implement a continent-wide action plan to protect the numbers and health of all pollinating animals.
The conference program highlighted the economic and environmental value of pollinating animals as well as the many challenges they face, from the much-publicized colony collapse disorder in honeybees to broader threats including habitat loss and competition from non-native species.
Speakers included A.G. Kawamura, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Mace Vaughan, Pollinator Program Director at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White, who asked conference attendees to help NRCS “stay ahead of issues like climate change and the movement of weeds and invasive species and introduce some solutions in the next Farm Bill.”
“We purposefully embedded pollinators across a variety of Farm Bill programs,” said Chief White, “instead of creating one pollinator initiative” which could get cut with a single stroke in the next bill. In contrast with the 2002 Farm Bill, which had no references to pollinators, the 2008 bill had over 15 specific references to pollinators, including new provisions placing an increased priority on pollinator habitat in ranking acreage for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), as well as placing a high priority on pollinator research initiatives through USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI).