PAm desires to receive donations and in-kind goods and services that will help to build its financial strength and carry out its mission. Some donors may view any donation as one that should be accepted; however, the PAm Board of Directors may decide not to accept gifts that require action on the part of PAm that falls outside the scope of our mission, requires excessive resources to maintain or sell, creates a legal liability for our organization, or comes from a source that does not align with our values or intends to influence our values. PAm maintains a Position of Independence and a goal of finding solutions for diverse existing challenges when publishing requests for proposals, reviewing proposals, selecting scientific advisors, awarding funding for research projects, implementing forage programs, creating resources for beekeepers and growers, and any other work that exists within the scope of PAm. The Board of Directors may decide not to accept gifts that interfere with or compromise our position of independence.
PAm's Collaboration with Corporate Sponsors
Frequently Asked Questions
January 1, 2020
In collaborations to promote honey bee health research and habitat development in US agricultural regions, Project Apis m. (PAm) has teamed up with corporate sponsors, such as Costco, Blue Diamond Growers, Veto-Pharma and global agribusinesses like Syngenta and Bayer. These partnerships support PAm’s ability to bring together resources and expertise including researchers, land-managers, growers, beekeepers and corporations to maximize the impact of programs directed and administered by PAm. This document provides responses to key questions about these partnerships and collaborations.
1. What is PAm trying to achieve through corporate partnerships?
PAm’s mission is to enhance honey bee health and crop production. We aim to achieve this goal through scientific research, forage and habitat projects, and industry collaborations. Healthy honey bees are key to economically sustainable beekeeping businesses, and a healthy and affordable food supply.
As PAm works to create solutions to honey bee health problems and beekeeping challenges, we work with diverse donors, including corporate sponsors who provide a significant amount of funding. This allows us to maximize our work to discover and develop practical solutions which address the multiple problems facing honey bees and beekeepers.
2. How does PAm work to achieve these goals?
Through our collaboration with beekeepers, private donors and a diversity of corporate partners, PAm is infusing funding into practical, applied research projects that directly help beekeepers and enhance honey bee health. Our forage programs plant supplemental forage in strategic locations to immediately support honey bee nutrition and mitigate other health risk factors including pesticide damage, Varroa mites, pathogens and viruses. Additionally, PAm works collaboratively with industry partners and stakeholders to create resources including Best Management Practices (BMPS), and to help ensure that beekeepers’ needs and concerns are heard.
PAm’s collaboration with corporations who rely on pollinated crops and products helps to ensure a sustainable supply chain through their support. PAm’s collaboration with agribusinesses furthers our mission by providing funding and helping us build relationships that give honey bees and beekeepers a greater voice in the agricultural industry. PAm is a respected, science-based organization that advocates for beekeepers and honey bees within the broader picture of the agricultural landscape.
PAm’s corporate partners also support habitat projects and best management practices which help bees and also help create a healthier environment for everyone through better-informed pesticide application practices, improved soil conditions and water quality through the use of cover crops, and more habitat for other important species including native pollinators, birds, mammals and beyond.
3. Does PAm accept money from donors with “strings attached”?
Yes, as long as the funds are in line with PAm’s mission and goals and approved by the Board of Directors, PAm may accept money from donors which they designated for specific purposes. This may include a sponsor designating the research priorities for their funding or restricting their donation to forage projects. Another example is the PAm-Costco Scholar selection, where Costco representatives participate in the selection process to give input and make recommendations. PAm’s breadth of work and flexibility allow a variety of models, however at no time can a donor influence the outcome of any research project, nor is a donor able to influence any other PAm funding or projects beyond their own specific agreement with PAm. Any funding that violates PAm’s Statement of Independence or is deemed inappropriate by the Board of Directors, will not be accepted.
4. What is PAm’s Statement of Independence?
PAm desires to receive donations and in-kind goods and services that will help to build its financial strength and carry out its mission. Some donors may view any donation as one that should be accepted; however, the PAm Board of Directors may decide not to accept gifts that require action on the part of PAm that falls outside the scope of our mission, requires excessive resources to maintain or sell, creates a legal liability for our organization, or comes from a source that does not align with our values or intends to influence our values.
PAm maintains a Position of Independence and a goal of finding solutions for diverse existing challenges when publishing requests for proposals, reviewing proposals, selecting scientific advisors, awarding funding for research projects, implementing forage programs, creating resources for beekeepers and growers, and any other work that exists within the scope of PAm. The Board of Directors may decide not to accept gifts that interfere with or compromise our position of independence. 5. What makes PAm’s collaborations with global agribusinesses both successful and challenging?
Growing enough food for a world that is rapidly increasing in population is no small task. Industrial agriculture is a part of our current food system and economic model. From the dustbowl in the 1930s to controversial pesticide use and expansion of croplands today, understanding and addressing the changing problems that are present in large-scale food production and resource management is a constant challenge.
Agriculture relies heavily on honey bees to pollinate many of the healthy foods that we eat including fruits, nuts, berries, vegetables and vegetable seed, and also crops like alfalfa that are fed to livestock to produce meat and dairy. Honey bee health is linked to agriculture in many ways, and as agriculture changes the beekeeping industry has also changed drastically over the past several decades. Land use and pesticide use including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides all affect honey bee habitat and health. The need for pollination services has increased the risk of shipping damage and stress, and increased the probability of pesticide exposures. Beekeepers are directly impacted by these factors.
For an organization which supports honey bee and pollinator health to collaborate with agrochemical companies is controversial to some, who believe agribusinesses have created many of the problems related to honey bee health. Project Apis m. engages all our partners to find common goals and work toward solutions.
PAm receives funding from sponsors who want to do something positive for honey bees and pollinators. Agribusinesses recognize the importance of these key species, and understand that it benefits agricultural systems as a whole and also the broader public, to have healthy pollinators. PAm is a trusted industry leader with connections to beekeepers, growers and other stakeholders; our close ties and understanding of agriculture make us a valued and sought out partner for many of these companies.
Project Apis m. stays true to our mission and our primary beneficiaries: beekeepers and honey bees. This is outlined in our Position of Independence Statement and part of our Financial Policy.
6. How do these collaborations support PAm’s Honey Bee Health Goals?
Research Funding Sources
PAm is committed to enhancing the health of honey bees and crop production. Our major corporate donors have funded over $5.3 Million in honey bee research projects. Of that $5.3 Million, $1.3 Million comes from global agribusinesses. Beekeepers and smaller donors have funded over $1.2 Million in honey bee research. Our collaborations with global agribusinesses have allowed us to fund a number of high-quality applied research projects, with oversight from independent Science Advisors and Stakeholder Steering Committees that are focused on creating practical tools for beekeepers. Without this collaborative effort we would not have been able to fund this body of important and impactful work. All funding sources and the research projects thereby supported are visible on the PAm website here.
Global agribusinesses also help fund our Seeds for Bees® forage project that supports bee health in California farms and orchards – a critical place for honey bees during the annual almond pollination event that requires an estimated 80% of all commercial honey bees in the US. Since 2013, Seeds for Bees has infused over $1.687 Million in cover crop seeds, education, and technical support for growers into California’s farms and orchards to support bee health. Over $800,000 has been donated by agribusinesses to fund the Seeds for Bees® program. This habitat funding directly benefits beekeepers, honey bees and Western Monarchs while improving soil health, water retention, and providing many other benefits to orchardists and growers. To reach our goals to enhance honey bee health through bee research and forage, we work with many diverse partners, including the private sector. Agribusinesses often look to PAm for our combination of scientific expertise, insight into the beekeeping industry, and our practical in-the-field experience. PAm thoughtfully utilizes the resources offered by these businesses and leverages their funding to create solutions to honey bee health and beekeeping challenge.