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Thread: New CCD article

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    Default New CCD article

    Here's a new article on CCD. I thought it was rather well written

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortu...ion=2007082807

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    Quote Originally Posted by Panhandle Bee man View Post
    Here's a new article on CCD. I thought it was rather well written

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortu...ion=2007082807
    I just wish they'd leave out the over-wrought, sensationalist garbage...


    And jars of honey, of course, would become golden heirlooms to pass along to the grandkids. (Used for millennia as a wound dressing, honey contains potent antimicrobial compounds that enable it to last for decades in sealed containers.)

    In late June, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns starkly warned that "if left unchecked, CCD has the potential to cause a $15 billion direct loss of crop production and $75 billion in indirect losses."
    I'd like to see the assumptions and the spreadsheet that produced that nonsense. One could just as easily proclaim that the loss of honeybees will result in a "potential" multi-billion dollar windfall to growers simply because of the laws of supply and demand.

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    Thanks for posting it. The guy can write. I know Dennis and I had a good laugh at the picture of him. Why does every writer seem to think it's interesting to describe his appearance. When you read these articles don't forget who they were written for--the general public.

    For those of you that missed it, see my article on CCD which appeared in ABJ in April. It's on this site under Point of View. (POV).

    Thanks,

    Dick Marron

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    nicely written article .... thanks panhandle.

    coyote sezs:
    I'd like to see the assumptions and the spreadsheet that produced that nonsense.

    tecumseh replies:
    well the spead sheet would not be that difficult to construct coyote... just list all the crops that require pollination via the honeybee and elimate these from the usda crop report and your job is done.

    then coyote adds:
    One could just as easily proclaim that the loss of honeybees will result in a "potential" multi-billion dollar windfall to growers simply because of the laws of supply and demand.

    tecumseh retorts:
    now please don't tell me you slept thru economics l02 coyote, or that your dog ate your economics homework? with falling (or rising) price whether total returns rise or falls is a function of the cross elasticities (relative slopes) of the supply and demand function. now I would have to look it up... but I do seem to recall that this is the bases of what an economist would classify as a criterion for what fell into the general classification as an inferior or a superior good.

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    These type articles would do much if they went beyond the self serving described "box" that they usually are confined too.

    There is no connection made between the plight of the honeybee and the average homeowner. Articles usually mention the poor beekeeper being effected, how the food industry may be effected, and so on.

    But if were going to mention pesticides, why not remind the public about the "perfect lawn" mentality and the billions sold in pesticides for home use. Or that consumers dictate the chemical use on large farms by the way we all want picture perfect fruits and vegetables.

    I know many farmers who don't use honeybees. They rely on beneficial insects. And I know very little(or none, other then beekeepers) ) backyard gardens that have honeybees. The average homeowner also uses beneficial insects, has good yields in the garden, and may not connect the dots. And for others, mentioning the loss of the honeybee, is questionable since they realize many people fed themselves on crops long before the honey bee was introduced to the U.S., or maintained by large commercial beekeepers of today. The connection between the honeybee and the benefical insects should be a must in educating the public.

    It needs to be real for the public to believe. And talking about doomsday four years out, people starving, and other doom and gloom mentions, are not being taken serious by many. Will food prices go up due to lower crop yield, Yes. Will the backyard garden see the impact of the loss of beneficial insects, Yes.

    Unfortunately, using terms like "nonsense" is not limited to beesource when viewing articles such as this.

    I think we are missing something in having these article not connect the dots and go one step further.

    Overall, the story is written nicely. It should of been one of the better ones anyhow. Afterall, it has 6 months of other articles to base some style and content on. Rather late to the party however. I liked the almost humerous comments on each individual. I know I can't wait to call Dennis..."strapping!"

    But for me, the article is just a rehash of the many already written, with little additional substance and little value for education. These article have to be more than just bringing to light the plight of unknown people, and mentioning cliche sayings. They need to educate the public, and suggest how one may make a difference. Many are willing to help and make that difference, if given solid facts and suggestions based on commonsense and logic.

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    I have to disagree with you on this one Bjorn. Articles just like this do the job of educating the public. You are a beekeeper and have lots of direct experience to draw on. Joe Q. Public does not. Even if it is a rehash of previous info, it puts a public face on the problem. Unfortunately, the best we can hope for is that the government finally takes a "throw money at the problem" attitude. That won't do much for the average beekeeper.

    Is it crisis time for the beekeeping industry? No, not yet. Beekeepers will recover.

    What if it happens again this fall? Crisis time for sure because lots of beekeepers will exit stage left because of the financial devastation.

    The reality here is that we need something to "fix" the ccd problem and we need it fast. It would help a lot we could breed a resistant bee. That is improbable because our bees are already trying to adapt to a one-two knockout combo of tracheal and varroa mites. Throw ccd into the mix and its "strike 3 you're out" for many beekeepers.

    Darrel Jones
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

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    Darrel,
    >>>>I have to disagree with you on this one Bjorn. Articles just like this do the job of educating the public. You are a beekeeper and have lots of direct experience to draw on. Joe Q. Public does not. Even if it is a rehash of previous info, it puts a public face on the problem. Unfortunately, the best we can hope for is that the government finally takes a "throw money at the problem" attitude. That won't do much for the average beekeeper.>>>>

    Did I actually say that these pieces do not educate the public? I think what I said is that perhaps we could be better served taking it a bit further than claims of "nonsense". Anyways, I'm trying to improve or make suggestions of how the public and beekeeping may improve upon this problem, and your content with this as the best we can do. I personally always hate to see this attitude.

    So what is this public face you speak of? Can you enlighten upon this public face a bit, and is there even any support coming from this? I'll suggest that the public face is not worth a dang as it stands now. And the complete snub from the politicians in funding only shows this. Where's the public support, where's the outcry from food industries such as almonds, apples, and such. The ship is slowing passing us by. And now you suggest that articles just like this educate the public. True I suppose. But for one to be happy with the results and be complacent with it as good as it is, is a sad thing.

    You suggest based on my overview of this article that "we need something to "fix" the ccd problem and we need it fast". Going well so far is it? I suggest that connecting the dots to the public, additional education beyond the same article thats been circulating for months now, and going a step further would be something to consider. But you shoot that down and suggest its as good as it gets. Well yes then! I agree. Its as good as it will get with atitudes like yours.

    Lets see where that public support is. Lets see where that federal funding is. Lets see one more article and be happy where the road is going. Sorry, I think much more can be gleaned from going a little further then the articles and support generated thus far.

    "the best we can hope for...."

    Thats where I differ. I don't think the best we can hope for is goverment "throwing money" at the problem. If it does, so be it. But to suggest that this is the best we can do is your suggestion....is something I hope that other beekeepers are not happy as taking as a stance.

    Much can be taken from this CCD thing beyond goverment "throwing money" and suggesting thats th best we can hope for. Public education, making the public aware of the individual impacts that they have in relationship with the beekeeper and enviroment, getting more into beekeeping, among other things could be helpful. But all these things are overlooked in such articles.

    And so it goes.....
    Last edited by BjornBee; 08-29-2007 at 08:15 AM.

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    Lets assume that this piece "educates" the public. Most articles that educate also seek change, support, or in some way motivate the reader to act upon the information in some manner.

    Lets see. What does this article ask the reader to do? What does it suggest that the public can do to help....

    "So what to do in light of this new, unsolved, and probably ongoing threat to our food supply? Don't panic. But do take time to slowly savor your next sweet, spicy slice of cantaloupe, watermelon, apple, peach, or pear."

    There you have it! As good as it gets. What a great article......

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    Yellow journalism. I particularily like the "can suddenly swarm on you like something out of Hitchcock" phrase. I have a vision of bees like in "The Birds"...

    Also, "Honeybees also pollinate alfalfa used to feed livestock, so meat and milk would get dearer as well. Ditto for farmed catfish, which are fed alfalfa too." Of course, the author must understand that we farmers don't need pollination in alfalfa in order for us to harvest the hay - in fact we don't allow the alfalfa to get too far into the bloom stage for maximum protein development. Sure, pollination must occur for seed production, as we will need to replant waning fields in 4-5 years. But, other beneficial pollinators are ready to step up to the plate for this pollination. Additionally, I believe that corn, wheat and soy based meals are used primarily in farm-raised catfish - I haven't heard about alfalfa's role in fish food.

    I think that prices for food might increase more based on grains being diverted for ethanol production, and not as livestock feed because of the high petroleum prices increasing demand for ethanol. You can see that the price of meat, eggs and milk (cheese) have increased in the past year because of some competition for biofuel production. But, I think that we also have to consider that we are on a global market situation here - we import vast amounts of fruits and vegetables for example from Chile. Is CCD rampant in South America?

    If we are so concerned by rising costs for food "pricey as sumptuous old wine" as this jourmnalistic masterpiece indicates, perhaps we should understand that Americans' proportion of income that goes towards food is lower than either Canada and Mexico. It would be much lower if we didn't "dine on the go". On average, we spend 1/2 our food dollar on food away from home.

    "While CCD isn't likely to obliterate honeybees, it may wipe out enough migratory beekeepers to precipitate a pollination crisis." Certainly there will (and has been?) a downswing in pollinating services. But, demand dictates a need, supply dictates an increased cost of providing the service, so understandably there will be commercial beekeepers who will be willing to provide that service, with financial gain.

    I think that many might feel that this article is well-written because it "sounds the alarm" (actually used in this article). Sure, we should be concerned about CCD, but as I have said in the past, perhaps CCD is a serious matter, perhaps not - we will need to see what researchers might determine before we get our undies in a bunch. Sensationalistic, "doomsday" articles always get their group of followers - I'd rather read about the situation, and what in greater detail has and is being determined regarding CCD than have to go through the laborious reading of "fluff", with no substance within the piece.

    MM

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    "tecumseh replies:
    well the spead sheet would not be that difficult to construct coyote... just list all the crops that require pollination via the honeybee and elimate these from the usda crop report and your job is done."

    Well, your job might be done but the methodology and results are both still bogus. I'm sticking with Calderone, who produced the 2000 report that I'm guessing the USDA managed to extrapolate into the $75 Billion dollar figure. I don't see anything in his update to indicate the dollar losses would even come close to that amount. If bees contribute $8b-$12b per year to agriculture, I can't see how their loss would create $90b (15 direct + 75 indirect) in losses.

    http://www.entomology.cornell.edu/It...yCollapse.html

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    coyote sezs:
    Well, your job might be done but the methodology and results are both still bogus. I'm sticking with Calderone, who produced the 2000 report that I'm guessing the USDA managed to extrapolate into the $75 Billion dollar figure. I don't see anything in his update to indicate the dollar losses would even come close to that amount. If bees contribute $8b-$12b per year to agriculture, I can't see how their loss would create $90b (15 direct + 75 indirect) in losses.

    tecumseh replies:
    well your accounting background is showing coyote.. not that this is a bad thing coyote, it simply does not reveal the total economic picture of what this kind of structural change would involve in terms of total $ impact. let me just fill in a few blanks for ya' bro.

    first off evenything generated in this fashion is an ESTIMATE. there are hard numbers that back up these estimates, which if you have nothing to do in your life can be examined, cross examined, criticized and recorrect with another ESTIMATE. much like the insurance industry (statistically based) these ESTIMATES of value have been honed so long there accuracy is quite amazing.

    really the part that you seem to be overlooking is called a multiplier by economist types... that is you take an ESTIMATE of physical production (total $) and you expand this using the proper multiplier. for many agricultural product a good number to use is $7.50 per dollar of product produced. which can be viewed as total dollar of economic activity generated via a dollar of product (via the product traveling thru so many hands*).

    hopefully your political leanings are not rubbing off on you ability to understand these kinds of things... just repeat after me... I am NOT a free electron bouncing off the inside of a vacume tube.

    or you can consider this analogy.... our economic system is much like a engine with lots of gears and cams that keeps everything working along together. now what exactly happens (total dollar effect) when the gear strips or the cam jumps time.. what is the effect on the operation of the engine? the total effet (total dollars) on the engine goes well beyond the cam's operation... think inconvience, towing fee, storage,etc. some newer engines may even provide a better analogy since some newer engines when the engine jumps time you can toss out that engine and go find yourself a new one.... or so my mechanic buddy tell me.

    *back to politics... this is also the little fly in the ointment that most folks that push for a value added tax really either do not understand or hope you don't understand.

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    Well said Bjornbee about personal responsibility and connecting the dots to see the big picture.

    Much reporting on catastrophe is prone to let you sit back and watch the world go down the tubes while whitewashing things individuals can do. I guess that cuts down on readership to put a mirror on the page.

    French individuals including beekeepers managed to focus attention on imidaclorprid and limit its use. Seems America would have learned the lesson on the wanton use of persistent pesticides. I'm not doubting that a virus will end up being a contributer to CCD, but there is a bigger problem with pollinating insects in general, and pesticides and habitat loss (colony homes and forage) clearly play a roll.

    I do think the posted article was pretty good though and certainly better than no article about bees at all, but it does have the common thread Bjornbee points out.
    Last edited by MichaelW; 08-30-2007 at 06:54 AM.

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    that is you take an ESTIMATE of physical production (total $) and you expand this using the proper multiplier. for many agricultural product a good number to use is $7.50 per dollar of product produced. which can be viewed as total dollar of economic activity generated via a dollar of product (via the product traveling thru so many hands*).
    Fine. Let's use the magic multiplier effect, the USDA estimate of $90,000,000,000 in potential direct and indirect monetary losses, the USDA estimate of 2,392,000 colonies in the US, the economic theory that the free market will arrive at a fair market value for goods and services, superior goods, inferior goods, Giffen goods, substitute goods (there ain't any substitutes for honeybees in this scenario),etc., and work backwards to arrive at the value of a colony of bees. Then we can apply a little more eKonomiKs and arrive at a market rate for pollination services. (Of course, they're just estimates...)

    $90,000,000,000 / 2,392,000 = $37,625 economic impact per colony

    Now, someone 'splain how an economic input that generates $37k in economic gain is only worth $150 tops to the market. And that's GROSS. Heaven only knows what the net to the poor pollinator is. Something is askew. Either the $90B is bogus, or pollinators ain't getting anything close to what their service is worth. You do the math and let us know which.

    (And I wasn't asleep in eKon 101. The tear gas from the National Guard, the constant aroma of burning herb, the nekkid coeds, the dogs fighting in the lecture hall, etc. just made it hard to concentrate way back then...)

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