Clements: Pollinators are critical for our nation’s farmers. American Farm Bureau’s Paul Schlegel says pollinators are responsible for between 15 and 20 billion dollars of agricultural produce throughout the year.

Schlegel: Crops like strawberries and apples and cherries and others depend on pollination for farmers to be able get them to the market. Pollinator week is a way of educating the public on how many pollinators there are. It’s not just honey bees, it can be butterflies and birds and other things.

Clements: As part of the Honey Bee Health Coalition, the American Farm Bureau is working to help minimize losses to honey bee colonies across the United States. Those losses have increased in recent years due to a variety of factors.

Schlegel: Some people like to attribute those losses and those declines to pesticides. That, in fact, is not the case. So we want to make sure people are educated about things they can do in pollinator week to educate their neighbors about why pollinators are important and make sure that people don’t use some of the stresses in the system to get at pesticides.

Clements: He says there are many ways farmers and beekeepers can work together to help protect the health of honey bees.

Schlegel: We have a number of states working on state managed pollinator plans and we encourage our members to participate actively in those efforts because it’s a way of beekeepers and farmers to establish an ongoing dialogue.

Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.