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President Obama Sets Up Task Force to Save Food’s Best Friend, Honeybees

Those buzzing little creatures that make us run in fear are actually pretty important to global food security — and President Obama is out to save them.

Establishing a new task force headed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Obama says the end-goal is to investigate the loss of pollinators, and establish a strategy to keep the pollinators alive. From a presidential memorandum on White House blog:

Pollinators contribute substantially to the economy of the United States and are vital to keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year in the United States. Over the past few decades, there has been a significant loss of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies, from the environment. The problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment.

While the effects of bee colony losses on agriculture hasn’t been widely studied, the White House states, it’s clear that many native bee species “are in decline.” CNN notes that in addition to the task force, “Obama’s budget for next year recommends about $50 million for multiple agencies to help boost research, increase the number of acres dedicated to pollinators’ conservation programs and boost funding for research on pollinator losses.”

[The White House, CNN]

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