Rabb announces pollinator task force legislation

HARRISBURG, Sept. 29 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced today that he is drafting legislation to establish a pollinator task force, which would study policies and practices that serve to best protect pollinators and develop recommendations based on that information.

The task force would be a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, various other state departments and agencies, agriculture industry representatives, registered apiaries, academic institutions, conservation organizations and data collection groups.

“Unfortunately, pollinator populations continue to experience a decline. In recent years, beekeepers have reported bee population losses of over 50% in Pennsylvania and beyond,” Rabb said. “In addition, 51 species of butterflies, 111 species of moths and three species of bumble bees are now considered to be at risk.”

Pennsylvania is home to hundreds of species of pollinators, such as beetles, butterflies, flies, moths and bees. Those pollinators contribute to the state’s diverse cropping systems, which produce a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Rabb, a member of the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, said the crops add around $260 million to the state’s economy annually.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has issued warnings that without a concerted and collaborative international effort, many pollinators could face extinction, which would directly impact global food production.