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jueves, mayo 10, 2012

Beekeers Perspective: Class Actions

¿Que tienes en la cabeza? ¿En que piensas?


Bee protection is now threatening to affect crops not dependent on bees for pollination and has become increasingly important to the registration of pesticides used on cotton. Beekeepers have become aggressive in their demands that applications not be made during bloom which would severely affect cotton production.

 I see, so its OK to damage the beekeepers interests, but not the cotton growers (or any other sector of the primary producers) interests? What about the interests of so many other interdependent ecological niches? Perhaps a Class Action is going to be needed.

 If the argument is between honey and cotton/canola/corn, whatever, we lose. Hives can be anywhere, not so with cotton fields. So why not work with them instead of demanding that we and our bees are the only thing that is important and we are going to sue to get our way?

 While I agree that pitting beekeepers against farmers is a lose/lose battle, it is important to remember that many crops NEED bees. If the environment isn't safe for them, beekeepers are justified in pulling out, or raising prices for pollination

 SEE: Insect pollination enhances seed yield, quality, and market value in oilseed rape Riccardo Bommarco, et al. Oecologia. Springer-Verlag 2012

 ... study clearly shows that insect pollination is required to reach high yield, seed quality, and thus market value in oilseed rape. Insect pollination contributed 18% to yield and 20% to market value. This estimate is in accordance with yields obtained from B. napus fields to which honey bee hives were added, which demonstrated contributions of 46% (Sabbahi et al. 2005) and 22% (Manning and Wallis 2005) from honey bee pollination to the yield. In addition, Morandin and Winston (2006) demonstrated how decreasing bee abundance leads to seed deficit in oilseed rape.

Isn't that the nub of the commercial beekeepers problem? For many beeks AND farmers, pulling out is not a realistic economic option. And raising prices for pollination, whilst it sounds sensible (and simple) presupposes a marketplace that is level and fair. Might work for Californian Almonds, or any other crop where the growers effectively control the price they can get for their crop, but for most other beeks and farmers that is not the case, and it certainly isn't so here! That being the case, then the problem can be ameliorated by the manufacturers of these agrichems compensating the beekeepers for the extra costs and financial losses that they have imposed on the beeks. That is fair and reasonable, and their profits would certainly sustain that. Many Class Actions are focussed on obtaining fair and reasonable compensation for disadvantage imposed on one party by the actions of another.

 Lets not forget the EPA is looking to protect not only honey bees, but native pollinators. Which means simply because a beekeeper doesn't have hives near the fields, native pollinators still have to be considered.

 Of course the biggest problem we have locally is that pesticide applicators fail to follow state law and notify the beekeeper. Not that that will fix everything, but without notification we can't do anything but rely on the EPA to restrict spraying to when there are no bees in the field.

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