Industry Is Taking The Next Steps Toward Improved Pollinator Health, Reardon Says

Karen Reardon, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment
Karen Reardon, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment

Responsible Industry For A Sound Environment (RISE) is a national trade association that represents manufacturers, formulators, distributors and other industry leaders involved with specialty pesticides and fertilizers. RISE has been actively engaged in the pollinator health dialogue since the Colony Collapse Disorder phenomenon began in 2006. It aims to promote the facts about pests and the threats they pose to health and safety.

Greenhouse Grower (GG) caught up with Karen Reardon, RISE vice president of public affairs, to find out how RISE members are working to improve pollinator health, what the industry should expect from government agencies and how growers should join the discussion and play a role in the important work of protecting pollinators and promoting their improved health.
RISE plans to launch its “Bee Responsible” pollinator health awareness campaign this month. Visit for more information. Go to to learn more about RISE.

GG: How have RISE members been contributing to the pollinator health issue?

Karen Reardon: There is an enormous amount of work underway within our member companies, as well as in other industries including public utilities and other large land owners.

Our members are investing significantly in research and development to find solutions for parasites such as the Varroa mite and disease pathogens that are harmful to bees, as well as bee health issues including nutrition and habitat.
A Varroa mite on a bee, in relative terms, would be like you or I having a dinner-plate-sized parasite on us, so it is quite significant.

GG: Tell us about the work RISE has been doing with the White House.

Reardon: The White House has an interest in this important topic, and is currently gathering information and engaging in discussions with a range of stakeholders, including our members, about what might be done in a timely way to make a difference for pollinator health.

GG: What kind of efforts can growers expect to see from the USDA on the pollinator health issue?

Reardon: The USDA is convening experts to look at what might be done. We will see more investment going to research to deal with diseases and parasites, the Varroa mite being job one.

We are also going to see more investment, discussion and activity around providing bee habitats and improved nutrition.

GG: What are the most important messages for our industry to communicate to the public about pollinator health?

Reardon: Certainly, everyone has a stake in this — bees are important to our crops and food supply.

Part of this pollinator issue has brought pesticide activism into the grower’s space, that hasn’t really been there before. Growers need to understand their role in all of this, and having a unified message about best management practices and stewardship around the issue is really important.

Associations have a role in communicating information to the public, but really, people want to hear from their peers, their neighbors. People understand and are receptive to information. I urge growers to start or join the conversation in their communities.

GG: How can growers, retailers and consumers promote pollinator health?

Reardon: For growers and retailers, use best management practices when using insecticides, make sure the employees who are handling those materials are trained so they don’t impact pollinators and other off-target organisms.

Encourage consumers to be informed and provide information to them about pollinator-attractive plants. (See Lead The Way: Three Ways To Support Pollinators In Your Community.) Invest in consumer education about pollinator health and provide opportunities to contribute, like creating habitats and nutritional opportunities for bees in the urban and suburban landscape.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Business Management...

October 12, 2015

Dahlia Production Tips For High Quality Greenhouse Plants

We are beginning to see a new generation of dahlia breeding where emphasis is moving back to staggered blooming and improved disease tolerance. Here are some tips for greenhouse production that will get your dahlias off to a strong start.

Read More

October 12, 2015

The Recipe For Growing Beautiful Perovskia

Growing impressive finished Perovskia plants in the greenhouse takes careful attention to lighting and finishing.

Read More

October 9, 2015

New Biochemical Miticide Is Designed To Combat Varroa Mites In Beehives

EPA recently registered Potassium Salts of Hops Beta Acids (K-HBAs), which is intended to fit into a rotation program to battle resistance.

Read More
Latest Stories
Stephanie Whitehouse-Barlow, Peace Tree Farm

October 6, 2015

Generation Y’s Reluctance To Garden Linked To Fea…

The Rookie Gardener is easily spotted at a garden center by her nervous and unsure energy that’s as glaring as a scarlet letter, or by his exuberant, self-assured confidence that is only otherwise seen at a college fraternity party. They are our industry’s enigma, our Kryptonite, the treasure chest we cannot open. The Rookie Gardener’s reluctance to garden isn’t from our industry’s lack of targeted marketing or encouragement but from Millennials’ Fear of Failure (FOF). It is obvious that failure is a part of life, but we as a generation have been programmed to not expect or accept failure. Since early childhood, we were encouraged to always win, to do our absolute best at school every day, to beat the competition. “Focused on getting the grades or winning the game, these children have internalized the pressure, (which) paralyzes kids in their ability to take risks,” writes Holly Korbey in an […]

Read More

October 6, 2015

NASA Scientists To Discuss Indoor Agriculture Innovatio…

The University of Arizona’s Controlled Environmental Agriculture Center (CEAC) will host Dr. Jacklyn Green, CEO and founder of Agate Biosciences, and Dr. Roger Kern, president and founder of Agate Biosciences: Science & Systems Engineering, on October 30, as part of its seminar series. Both Green and Kern are former NASA scientists and engineers, and they will discuss their continuing efforts to develop technology and seek innovations to address issues concerning urban indoor agriculture, with a potential for application on Mars. Through the creation of Agate Biosciences LLC, Kern and Green have turned their attention to earth-bound issues of food production, to provide advanced technologies for plant nutrition, biosecurity and the undertaking of scientifically based research in greenhouse design and controls systems, and in plant health under controlled environment agriculture. A recent NASA news release reports that the Mars Rover 2020 mission is planned to deliver an extensive array of instruments designed to explore the habitability […]

Read More

October 5, 2015

Smart Business Sense At Tidal Creek Growers Yields Succ…

Tidal Creek Growers stays competitive by focusing on what really turns a profit. It helps the large operation successfully balance contract growing with growing for retail garden centers.

Read More
EPA WPS Standards

October 5, 2015

EPA, Department Of Labor Announce Updated Agriculture W…

More than 20 years after the original standards were developed, the EPA has developed enhanced worker protections that include annual training, minimum age requirements for pesticide handling, mandatory recordkeeping and more.

Read More

October 4, 2015

ePlantSource Adds 5 New Partner Companies

ePlantSource has announced an additional five companies that have been added to its partner distribution list. Not only do the additional partners offer more supplier options to ePlantSource customers, but the website now also provides a more diverse product list with the addition of bulbs, clematis and many new varieties. New partners added for the 2015 – 2016 season: A.D.R. Bulbs Lennon Farm Greenhouses Micandy Gardens Pacific Growers Roseville Farms “We make it a priority to respond to our customers, and we have had many requests for additional options and a more diverse product line, so we are continually evaluating suppliers that work well with our non-traditional approach to the sale of live goods,” says Gary Falkenstein, President and CEO of ePlantSource. “We feel that it is good for our company, our customers and the industry as a whole to keep looking forward and seeing how we can improve and expand how […]

Read More

October 2, 2015

How To Make Your Website More Google-Friendly

During a presentation at Cultivate’15 this past July, Katie Dubow of the Garden Media Group offered several tips on how you can use search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and Google’s search features and updates to your advantage.

Read More
Margery Daughtrey

September 29, 2015

Margery Daughtrey Advises Women In Horticulture To Crea…

As a plant pathologist working with ornamental plant diseases, Margery Daughtrey enjoys helping others understand how to better manage the diseases that impact their crops and is fully dedicated to healthy, robust, disease-free plants.

Read More

September 28, 2015

Filmmakers Release “Field To Vase, The Documentar…

“The Field to Vase Dinner Tour is a series of meals set on flower farms across the country. Each dinner is curated by a local chef and floral designer, highlighting the region’s produce and flowers. This is the story of Santa Cruz, California.” These opening lines introduce “Field to Vase: Santa Cruz,” a new documentary filmed, written and produced by the Los Angeles-based husband-and-wife team, Hyunsoo Moon and Haejung Kim. This past June, Haejung and Moon traveled to Santa Cruz in pursuit of a visual narrative that had captured their creative imaginations. They were enamored with the storytelling potential of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour and wanted to document their observations on film. The result of their efforts is “Field to Vase: Santa Cruz,” a documentary about the American grown flower movement and the people involved in the floral renaissance that is taking place on farms and in flower […]

Read More
Janeen Wright

September 25, 2015

Benchmarks: People Make The Difference In The Horticult…

The people behind the plants keep our industry moving forward in the right direction.

Read More
Gerbera Revolution Series (Kieft Seed)

September 23, 2015

Join SAF And Other Growers To #PetalItForward And Sprea…

Next month, the Society of American Florists (SAF) will tap into the popularity of random acts of kindness with its latest public relations campaign, "Petal It Forward." Find out how you can join SAF and other growers to take part in this campaign and spread happiness with the power of flowers.

Read More

September 23, 2015

Cultivate’15 Session Reveals How To Attract Young…

A dynamic discussion during Cultivate’15 between growers, horticulture professors and both current students and recent graduates, provided some insight on how grower operations can attract the next generation of growers, and what’s important to make them stay once you hire them. The session, “Attracting the Next Generation of Industry Professionals,” featured a panel including Dr. Peg McMahon of The Ohio State University’s Horticulture and Crop Science Department, Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co., Dr. Brian Jackson from North Carolina State University’s Department of Horticulture, Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm, Douglas Schuster of Kingwood Center and Courtney Crawford of Millcreek Gardens. The preface for the session is something many industry professionals have lamented for years now — enrollment in college horticulture programs is dropping, and university programs are losing funds or disappearing. Much of this may be attributed to the perception among potential students and their parents that horticulture means […]

Read More
Rebecca Lusk

September 22, 2015

Trailblazer Rebecca Lusk Of Luxflora And Dümmen Orange …

Rebecca Lusk of Luxflora and Dümmen Orange is no stranger to breaking new ground, whether it's in her own company or in forming an organization that gives women in horticulture a united voice.

Read More
Retailers declined a coupon deal for hanging baskets because of timing

September 19, 2015

Retailer To Grower: Why Aren’t Garden Stores Letting Gr…

Have you ever sat around at a family gathering and heard someone recount a story from your childhood, except knowing your own version of the story, it’s something that casts an entirely new light on everything you think you experienced? It seems like that dynamic happens a lot between growers and retailers. Both sides know the same story, but each version is so different, it’s like two unconnected stories. This came to mind when I was talking with a regional grower, Elmer Grosser, who owns Cincinnati-based Diefenbacher Greenhouses. The operation serves about 50 customers — an even mix of local garden stores and landscapers. Grosser first came to my attention last fall, when one of his customers, Chris McKeown of Bloomin’ Garden Centre, told me I needed to call Grosser, because he was a great example of a grower who cares about retail. When Grosser and I connected, he was […]

Read More

September 14, 2015

Smith Gardens Is Developing Growers With A New Initiati…

Finding enough qualified growers has long been a problem in the industry, but it’s one that Smith Gardens is working to solve, at least locally. The operation, which ranks No. 22 on Greenhouse Grower‘s Top 100 Growers list, is the largest in the Pacific Northwest, and spans more than 50 acres of greenhouses and 50 acres of field growing over four locations in Washington, Oregon and California. As a 112-year-old family business that recognizes the need to invest in its future, Smith Gardens has made its Cultivating The Future initiative a corporate priority to attract young people to careers in the horticulture industry. Don Spence, the production manager at Smith Gardens’ Aurora, Ore., location, started working with local schools years ago. The operation expanded its program to local community colleges, and this year Smith Gardens worked with the American Floral Endowment to set up an internship program, and hosted an […]

Read More
Laura Drotleff

September 14, 2015

Develop New Growers In Your Own Backyard [Opinion]

One of the greatest parts of my job is having the opportunity to honor ingenuity in breeding, marketing and innovative growing in this industry at Greenhouse Grower’s Evening Of Excellence, a premier event held during Cultivate in July. The work leading up to the event is just as rewarding, from attending California Spring Trials to see all of the beautiful new varieties released to the marketplace to inspire consumers and solve problems for growers, to selecting the best of the best varieties for Medal Of Excellence In Breeding Awards. I humbly learn about and choose the Marketing and Industry Achievement Awards through industry nominations, and serve as a member of the selection panel for the Grower Of The Year Awards, on which we review nominations from people across the industry about creative, hardworking, dedicated operations and individuals who not only love their work but also live it. The Evening Of […]

Read More
Smartphones may influence kids’ decisions about food

September 12, 2015

To Understand Your Next Consumers, Look Beyond Millenni…

There seems to be a constant stream of content in the media about Millennials and their habits and characteristics, particularly as consumers. But, what if they’re not the ones to be focusing on? A recent article in Food Business News is saying that they’re not. Instead, it suggests shifting the focus to the next generation. The article states that, according to bestselling author Matt Walsh, the most disruptive group of future food consumers was born in 2007. With gardening consumers becoming increasingly interested growing their own food, changes to the food industry will likely impact the horticulture industry, as well. “If you understand how an 8-year-old thinks, you’re a long way toward really understanding a transformative change in consumer behavior,” says Walsh, CEO of innovation research lab Tomorrow, during a July 13 presentation at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition in Chicago. When an 8-year-old makes […]

Read More
Head Grower Of The Year winner Tom Wheeler (middle) from Bell Nursery with Editor Laura Drotleff and Joe Lara of BASF, the sponsor of the Grower of the Year program

September 9, 2015

Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Evening Of Excell…

The Medal of Excellence and Grower of the Year winners honored at Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence held at Cultivate’15, are the very definition of excellence and hold the standard high for our industry in growing, breeding and marketing.

Read More
Cannabis marijuana

September 8, 2015

Supplemental Lighting Benefits For Growing Cannabis In …

The cannabis industry has moved out of the basement and into the light, and with this shift in politics and regulation occurring worldwide there is a need for growers to change the way they think about lighting and energy consumption.

Read More