USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is reaching out to beekeepers and farmers across the nation this month and next to gather information on the number and health of honey bee colonies, honey production and stocks, and the cost to farmers of pollination services. USDA says the surveys will be used to develop baseline data and additional goal metrics for winter, summer, and total annual colony loss in support of the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. Among its goals, the Strategy aims to reduce honey bee colony losses during winter to no more than 15% within 10 years.

The EPA extended the public comment period on the proposed changes to the Pesticide Applicator Certification Rule an additional 30 days. The closing date for comments is now January 22nd, 2016. EPA is proposing stronger standards for pesticide applicators that are certified to apply the riskiest pesticides, known as restricted use pesticides. The goal is to reduce the likelihood of harm from the misapplication of those pesticides and ensure a consistent level of protection among states.

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