USDA-ARS Funding may be cut. Beekeepers urged to call their Congressmen!

House Republican leadership have released a partial listing of proposed cuts to the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations bill totaling over $40 billion dollars. According to Congressman Hal Rodgers (R-KY), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, this is “the largest reduction in discretionary spending in the history of our nation.”

Included in the list of proposed spending reductions for the remainder of this fiscal year are plans to cut funding for the Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) by $246 million in this current year. Deeper cuts are likely for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, 2011.

Beekeepers need to call their House Representative and both of their Senators to urge that the small honey bee research program be left intact and remain at least at current spending levels:

  • Point out the urgent need for a solution to CCD and other conditions affecting honey bee health.
  • Point out the importance of honey bees to agriculture crops – $17.9 billion by the latest estimate.
  • Point out that USDA honey bee research is a small program on a tight budget that can’t absorb hefty across-the-board cuts like large programs can.
  • Point out how important good honey bee health is to your own beekeeping business.

Call today! The cuts are now being decided. The debate is scheduled to begin in the House on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2011. The Senate has not proposed such severe reductions to the FY 2011 ARS budget. We need to make sure they continue to fund our beekeeping research.

Capital switchboard: 202.225.3121 (House). Ask for the individual handling agricultural issues. Or, send a message via the Congressmen’s Web sites. You can find them at