Governor’s Committee on Pollinator Protection Releases Groundbreaking Recommendations for the State of Minnesota

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Minnesota Governor’s Committee on Pollinator Protection released a landmark set of recommendations to reverse pollinator declines in Minnesota.

Now it’s time for the new governor to implement them!

The report is the powerful culmination of two years of hard work and tough conversations by the members of the Governor’s Committee — a group of 15 representatives chosen by Governor Dayton in 2016. The committee includes Minnesota farmers, industry representatives, beekeepers, educators, researchers, and pollinator advocates. The 39 recommendations in the report include steps to increase habitat, protect pollinators from harmful pesticide exposure, and better educate Minnesotans on pollinator conservation.  One innovative recommendation is to establish a state-funded program to provide farmers with a financial incentive to plant corn and soy seed not treated with neonicotinoids.

Other top-priority recommendations are:

·  Expand funding and eligibility criteria for pollinator habitat and management practices on rural lands, beyond what is provided by existing pollinator habitat programs

· Establish a Minnesota Department of Agriculture Crop Pest Loss Endemnity Fund for farmers avoiding pollinator-harming pesticides

·  Restrict the use and sale of neonicotinoid insecticides to licensed applicators

·  Adopt in statute a goal to reduce overall use of pesticides harmful to pollinators and designate an agency to create and implement a plan to meet the target

·  Discontinue neonicotinoid seed treatments in soybeans

·  Establish a turf conversion program focused on replacing turf with pesticide-free flowering habitat in urban, suburban and rural non-ag. lands

The release of the report coincides with the election of incoming governor Tim Walz. The committee calls on the governor elect and other decision-makers to take timely action based on the recommendations proposed in this report. Citizens are encouraged to call, email or write Governor Walz and their legislators to support recommended pollinator protections.

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