Bee colonies dwindling across the country

A deadline of Oct. 1 has been set for public comments on the proposed pollinator plan, according to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

A deadline of Oct. 1 has been set for public comments on the proposed pollinator plan, according to Kenny Naylor, Director of Consumer Protection Services for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF).

Prior to that deadline, the fourth and final regional public hearing will be held in Hugo to gain input on the proposed pollinator plan. The public hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Kiamichi Technology Center, North Seminar Room, 107 S. 15th St., Hugo.

Around 80 people gathered for a public hearing Aug. 11 at Langston University’s campus in Oklahoma City. That was followed by regional meetings. The initial three were Aug. 26 in Enid, Sept. 2 in Lawton and Sept. 9 in Tulsa.

Pollinators are essential to agriculture in Oklahoma. They are responsible for the success of many of the state’s crops like canola, sesame and watermelons. Native pollinators are also necessary for many native plants like redbud, Oklahoma’s state tree and Chickasaw plum.

The Oklahoma Managed Pollinator Protection Plan (OKMP3) is being developed in response to a growing need for a balanced public policy that mitigates risk to pollinator species, while minimizing the impact of that mitigation on production agriculture, according to ODAFF.

Oklahoma’s MP3 is a multifaceted plan involving multiple stakeholders. A draft pollinator plan is posted on ODAFF’s website at www.ag.ok.gov and comments can be submitted to Naylor at kenny.naylor@ag.ok.gov .

A group will be formed with stakeholders to address changes to the plan.

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