During the 2017 Minnesota legislative session, CURE and our partners fought hard to keep pollinator protections on the radar. Even though legislative leadership worked to kill the pollinator provisions early in the session, pollinators and pesticides stayed in the mix until the end. The Department of Ag, Governor Dayton, and countless citizens that made their voices heard on this issue are to thank for that. Even Senator Torrey Westrom — one of our strongest opponents on pollinator/pesticide issues — gave a floor speech where he mentioned how many people were calling and emailing him and other Senators about pollinator issues.
“The current agriculture bill includes a few small advances. MN Department of Agriculture is authorized to work on research to minimize the impacts of pesticides on pollinators, but unfortunately language intending to undermine a new “verification of need” program also passed, narrowing the agency’s authority to make science-based decisions on pesticide policy.
And in a bait-and-switch move, legislators removed funding for the pollinator protection account and substituted research at the University of Minnesota, which focuses primarily on habitat. This research will likely generate good information about on-farm pollinator habitat, but it leaves a major research gap the state previously identified on pest thresholds for key Minnesota crops — including integrated pest management (IPM) research on pollinator-friendly approaches to keeping crop yields and farm incomes strong.”
For more information on pollinator action in the legislature and what it means for the future of pollinators in Minnesota, check out our partner at Pesticide Action Network (PAN), Lex Horan’s blog post.
Whether you made a phone call, wrote a letter to the editor, testified at a hearing, or posted on social media, we thank you for working to help keep this issue front and center. Take a look at a recent letter to the editor submitted by CURE staffer, Peg Furshong. We encourage citizens to continue making their voices heard on this issue — let your legislators know that pollinator protections are important to you and we need to #ActOnMNPollinators now!