The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking nominations to help strengthen pollinator research support. Individuals with diverse expertise and experience with pollinators are being encouraged to serve on the newly formed USDA National Pollinator Subcommittee. The subcommittee is designed to aid in the efforts of working towards the overall goal of improving pollinator health. The subcommittee will be part of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board.
“USDA takes very seriously our duty to protect pollinators so that they can continue to play a critical role in our food production system,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “Pollinator species help produce more than 100 crops grown in the United States. We are keenly interested in understanding the stressors that impact pollinators, including climate change, pests, pathogens and reduced forage. We strive to ensure our research and data in this area are meeting the needs of bee managers and the farmers that rely on pollinators.”
The NAREEE Advisory Board’s Pollinator Subcommittee provides guidance to the Secretary of Agriculture, USDA’s science agencies and university collaborators regarding pollinator priorities and goals. Seven new members for the Pollinator Subcommittee are expected to be appointed and will serve between one and three years. Terms are anticipated to begin in July. NAREEE will be accepting nomination packages from now until May 31.
Pollinator research is organized into five major study areas within USDA. Status and trends address projects relating to things such as pollinator inventory and monitoring, along with economics and social sciences. Pest and pathogen research deal with both established and emerging issues. Research is also classified under environmental stressors, which includes pesticide exposure, weather stress, and migratory and stocking density stress. Forage, habitat, and nutrition also comprise a priority area of study, along with genetics and breeding.