Pollinator Powwow

Agriculture and conservation leaders to gather in support of native pollinator populations.

Learn more about pollinators.

This bee, Osmia ribifloris, is an effective pollinator of commercial blueberries and is one of several relatives of the blue orchard bee, Osmia lignaria. Similar in appearance, the blue orchard bee is also a successful commercial pollinator now being evaluated for use in a wider range of crops.

courtesy Agricultural Research Service/Jack Dykinga

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National agriculture and conservation leaders are gathering later this month to explore ways to stabilize and enhance threatened native pollinator populations that contribute to a $20 billion fruit, nut, vegetable and field crop production industry in the United States.

The Native Pollinators in Agriculture Work Group, a panel of more than 30 growers, academics, government officials and conservationists, is hosting the first National Agriculture Pollinator Forum February 24-25 in Arlington, Virginia, to address the need to boost native bees, insects, birds and animal populations that are vital to production agriculture.

The emergence of Colony Collapse Disorder among managed bees puts a greater importance on the role of the "free" pollination services provided by native pollinators. These native bees, insects, birds and animals supplement the pollination services provided by managed bees to maintain farm productivity and profitability. The Work Group estimates that 15 percent of the combined value of U.S fruit, nut, vegetable and field crop production can be attributed to pollination services provided by native insects and animals.

The forum will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City immediately prior to the 2009 USDA Agriculture Outlook Conference. The forum will detail steps the agriculture community can take to capitalize on the services provided by native pollinators. Program highlights include: native pollinator pollination services; latest developments on Colony Collapse Disorder; habitat establishment and proper pesticide use; grower perspectives on how pollinator protection practices have helped their bottom line; projects growers can put on the ground to enhance native pollinator populations; and the launch of a national agriculture pollinator alliance

For the preliminary forum program, for more information about registration and the hotel, and for more about the Work Group, visit theĀ website. Media registration is free for credentialed outlets and can be obtained by contacting info@agpollinators.org.