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Friday, June 28, 2013

CCD Monsanto Bee Crisis

Monsanto launches honey bee advisory council

Reporter-St. Louis Business Journal
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The buzz around the plight of the honey bees has prompted Monsanto and other stakeholders to form a new advisory council to address bee health, the company announced.
The Honey Bee Advisory Council, which industry experts, was announced at the three-day Honey Bee Health Summit at Monsanto’s Chesterfield Village Research Center this week. The summit was hosted by the $13.5 billion agriculture company and by Project Apis m (PAm), for a crowd of about 100.
Monsanto also rolled out a Honey Bee Health page on its website.
“Healthy honey bees are essential for productive agriculture and the environment,” Jerry Hayes, who runs Monsanto’s bee industry efforts, said in a statement.
Since 2006, colonies of honey bees have been dying off in what’s been known as Colony Collapse Disorder.
An estimated 10 million bee hives, valued at $200 each, have been lost since 2006 — adding up to a total replacement cost of $2 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Overall, the number of bee colonies has dropped to 2.5 million in 2012, from 6 million in 1947. Colony losses this past winter were 31 percent, compared with 22 percent in 2011-12, according to USDA data.
Monsanto and PAm have been working together in California for the last year (in a three-year program) to encourage farmers to plant forage, the food supply for honey bees that is made up of nectar and pollen from flowering plants. Company officials said “year-one” results yielded 450 acres of forage, 130 percent of the goal.
For its part, Monsanto has been investing in bee health in the past several years. In 2011,Monsanto acquired Beeologics, a startup founded in 2007 to develop biological tools for disease control for bees, for $113 million. “If beekeepers let mite pressure get out of control, it becomes an uphill battle and they usually lose,” said Hayes, who is the Beeologics commercial lead.
The Honey Bee Advisory Council is comprised of Monsanto executives and others, including Diana Cox-Foster, a professor at Penn State University; David Mendes, past president of the American Beekeeping Association; Gus Rouse, owner of Kona Queen Hawaii Inc.; and Larry Johnson, commercial beekeper.

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