New California Agriculture Program is a Boost for Bees

New California Agriculture Program is a Boost for Bees

bee hive

Unfortunately, thefts of beehives have skyrocketed in recent years as pollination costs have soared, increasing the hives’ value. Besides the safe movement of colonies, Bee Safe is intended to help prevent apiary theft. (Photo: David Eddy)

The Almond Alliance of California recently announced it has successfully advocated for $1.9 million for one to three years in additional, dedicated state funds for the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) new Bee Safe program. This program will ensure the safe movement of colonies, prevent apiary theft, and convene stakeholders on best management practices.

Almond Alliance President Elaine Trevino emphasized that the successful lobbying effort was made in partnership with the California State Beekeepers Association, and their team continues to advocate for more bee-friendly objectives.

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“Additionally, we will be pushing forward to have the legislature commit to increased staffing at border stations and streamlined inspections during the peak pollination season,” Trevino says.

Honeybees are essential for a successful almond crop. In fact, the single most important factor determining good yield is pollination during the bloom period, and honeybees are the most successful pollinators of almonds blossoms.

The Almond Alliance testified in favor of the CDFA’s Bee Safe Program funding request during state legislative hearings on Gov. Brown’s proposed budget. The Almond Hullers and Processors Association, formally known as the Almond Alliance of California, is a non-profit organization with a mission of advocating on behalf of the California’s almond industry in California.

Formerly Hullers and Processors

AAC actively advocates for the positions of almond growers, hullers, shellers, handlers, and processors, while educating the industry about upcoming and existing regulatory changes. Through workshops, newsletters, conferences, and meetings, AAC serves as a clearinghouse of information that informs the almond industry and continues to position the industry as an agricultural leader in the state.

AAC is governed by a nine-person Board of Directors including a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Chief Financial Officer, and Secretary. Trevino praised their collective efforts, which resulted in successfully securing the funding.

“We are thankful for the efforts by the California State Beekeepers Association and the Almond Board of California in providing critically important research
and data about the importance of bees to the California almond industry,” says Trevino. “These funds will aid greatly in efforts to ensure the safe movement of hives, prevent apiary theft, and educate beekeepers and almond growers on best management practices.”

According to the CDFA, the Bee Safe Program is intended to improve the health and survival of honeybees by increasing foraging opportunities, reducing pesticide exposure, and providing funds for enforcement of existing laws at the local level to promote and protect California’s beekeeping industry.

Each year, thousands of shipments carrying more than 650,000 beehives are transported into California in time for the almond bloom. Though almonds are the most prominent crop requiring pollination — and, at around Valentine’s Day, the earliest, too — honeybees help pollinate at least 90 additional crops in California.