Cannella Panel to hold first public meeting on November 7th at CDFA

Bumblebee on a fiddleneck

Bumblebee on Fiddleneck

Understanding the strong link between agricultural production and the environment is vital to our food system. The Cannella Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel, established by Secretary Ross in August 2011, will convene its first meeting next week to discuss issues related to ecosystem services and agricultural stewardship. 

The panel, which brings together the expertise of private industry, academia and state government – will study, discuss and evaluate research findings related to the interconnection of agriculture with the environment.  As new rules and regulations are developed connected to agricultural production, there is a need to understand and disseminate widely any science that is related to it – ecosystem services is a good example that highlights potential environmental benefits from agriculture.  As the Science Adviser to the Secretary, my role is to help to guide the Cannella Scientific Advisory Panel towards achieving its goals and expectations.

Agriculture needs to be part of the environmental dialogue and the Cannella Panel is a great resource to help facilitate discussions on important issues and find practical solutions based on sound science.

The Cannella Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel will be meeting on November 7, 2011 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Gateway Oaks Facility – 2800 Gateway Oaks Drive, Room 101, Sacramento, CA 95833. Meetings are open to the public and stakeholder participation is encouraged. 

An agenda of the meeting can be found here.

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One Response to Cannella Panel to hold first public meeting on November 7th at CDFA

  1. Partners for Sustainable Pollination (PFSP) urges the Cannella Science Advisory Panel to add ensuring AG POLLINATION SERVICES for California agriculture to the agenda in its discussion of issues related to ecosystem services and agricultural stewardship.

    The scientific consensus is that a major bee forage deficit exists in California, which represents a major threat to bee health and to the sustainability of critical pollination services for California agriculture. Simply stated, our bees need access to safe, natural forage and nutrition between periods of crop pollination. Beekeepers must generally rely on other landowners for permission to pasture their bees.

    The Cannella Panel can help provide the scientific basis for programs, policies and incentives to help ag producers contribute to the health of our honey bees and the vital ag pollination services they provide, specifically in the form of improved access to safe, larger scale bee pasture needed for honey bee health in California agriculture.

    The reality is that far more bee forage is needed than can be reasonably provided on ag lands in California. Thus, the Cannella Panel can provide tremendous value by helping to identify the major bee forage potential (ecosystem service) on public lands in California and help make the case for providing beekeeper access to bee forage on public lands in California, without jeopardizing wildlife ecosystems. Unfortunately, public lands policy in California generally restricts or prohibits beekeeper access. This flawed policy is NOT based on sound science.

    I am volunteer executive director of PFSP, a volunteer-based nonprofit headquartered in Santa Rosa, California that is dedicated to improving the health of honey bees through a collaborative approach involving beekeepers, growers, scientists and land management agencies with a concurrent objective of contributing to restoring native pollinator populations. Our major outreach initiative is the Bee Friendly Farming™ initiative (http://pfspbees.org/BFFMap.pdf). We are working in California and across the nation to increase awareness, recognize ag producers who provide forage for honey bees and encourage consumers to support those ag producers. I also chair the California State Beekeepers Association’s Public Lands Task Force.

    PFSP stands ready to work with the Cannella Panel and others in support of increasing access to safe bee pasture for beekeepers and their honeybees. I regret that we are unable to attend the November 7 meeting. Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the Cannella Panel’s important work.

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