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Honey Bee Research not on Farm Bill 'A-list'

House ag committee left off R&D funding for bee industry crisis.

Last month, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., introduced the Pollinator Protection and Research Act of 2007, to boost state and federal research efforts to resolve the cause of massive honey bee losses, labeled as colony collapse disorder. Word from bee industry experts on last Friday was that no funds were included in the first Farm Bill draft from the House Ag Committee.

Farm Bill action now moves to the House floor, where the Farm Bill will be debated as early as tomorrow or Thursday. During the floor debate, funds for honey bee research could be put into the Farm Bill.

Washington lobbyists for American Farm Bureau planned to meet with committee staffers yesterday to encourage doing that. The money would have to come from funds committed to another use. But members of Congress need grass root supporters for such provisions.

Last Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee approved continued funding the USDA bee labs for a total of $7 million – same as last year.

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