American farmers who backed Donald Trump in 2016 can be excused for wondering when they’ll get some presidential love.
After approving a bee-killing pesticide last month, the White House said Saturday that it would stop collecting data on declining honey bee populations.
The Trump administration cited budget cuts for temporarily suspending data collection for its Honey Bee Colonies report. That report has been compiled every year since 2015.
“The decision to suspend data collection was not made lightly, but was necessary given available fiscal and program resources,” according to a news release from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Survey.
Bees Contribute $24 Billion a Year to Ag
Bees might be small, but they play a huge role in farming. They pollinate crops, increase yields, and make honey. Many fruits, nuts, and vegetables require pollination to yield fruit. It’s estimated that honey bees contribute $24 billion annually to U.S. agriculture.
“This is yet another example of the Trump administration systematically undermining federal research on food safety, farm productivity, and the public interest writ large,” said Rebecca Boehm, an economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told CNN.
Researchers at the USDA Economic Research Service say bee tracking is important for beekeepers and other stakeholders like the honey industry and farmers whose crops rely on honeybees for pollination.
“We’re concerned about whether honeybee colony losses are still high and whether we’re making any progress in bringing them down,” said Peyton Ferrier, a USDA economist.
Karen Pence Wants Help for Honey Bees
CNN noted that Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, is advocating to help honey bees. She keeps a beehive at their residence.
Trump has won applause from western growers for trying to increase the supply of irrigation water. But his international trade war has caused heartburn — and decreased profits — for farmers throughout the country.
India has struck back against the U.S. by imposing tariffs on 28 products. Among them: almonds, apples, lentils, and walnuts.
In addition, amidst Trump’s trade battle with China, almonds growers in Australias have increased their exports to China by 2000%.