Comments On Farm Bill

Good news. They reached agreement on a 5 year Farm Bill.

After reviewing a draft that was shared with American Honey Producers Attorney Eric Silva of Winston & Strawn in Washington about this afternoon comes the following comments…

ELAP: ELAP at $20 million per year retroactive to FY 2012. This is the higher dollar amount of the two bills and a great success, considering only last year it was reduced to discretionary appropriations with no retroactivity.

Research Funding Authorization: Extension of $20 million per year special authorization for honey bee research at USDA.

Guidance on NFS Land: Requirement for USDA to provide guidance re permitting honey bees to forage on National Forest Service land, and on planting and maintaining forage appropriate for honey bees.

General Guidance Clause: Requirement for USDA in consultation with Interior and EPA to publish guidance on enhancing pollinator health and the long-term viability of populations of pollinators.

Conservation Program Amendment: Requirement that land owners emphasize practices beneficial to managed honey bees under the USDA conservation program.

Standard of Identity Report: Requirement that USDA draft a report on need for a national standard of identity for honey.

USDA Annual Pollinator Report: Requirement that USDA annually report to Congress with: (a) progress made on oney bee health decline; (b) assessment of federal efforts to mitigate losses to bees and impacts to the commercial beekeeping industry; and (3) providing recommendations to Congress regarding how to better coordinate federal agency efforts.

Marketing Loan: Marketing loan at 69 cents.

Plant Incorporated Protectants: conference report includes our proposed, revised language on importation of plant incorporate protectants, and not the original language put forward by the seed trade association.

Bad News:

Chairman Lucas (R-OK) substantially revised some of our pollinator protection amendment, despite it being passed by a wide margin on the floor of the House. As Randy can attest, Mr. Lucas has one influential staff person who is no friend to the bee industry. Specifically, he eliminated:

*The interagency task force on honey bee health (replaced with above mentioned requirement to report annually on how to better coordinate interagency work).

*Language encouraging USDA to conduct feasibility studies on research laboratory improvements in Baton Rouge and CA.

*Language about using best available peer reviewed science.

Thanks for sharing to Richard Adee, AHPA