ASHLAND, Ore. — Southern Oregon beekeepers are celebrating a new plan by President Obama. The White House is putting together a task force to look into the drastic decline of honey bees and other pollinators.

In Northern California, the almond industry is at risk because it depends on 1.4 million beehives annually for pollination.

Ashland, Ore., beekeeper Laura Ferguson has been working with bees for 10 years.

“Honeybees in particular have an extreme impact on our agriculture in this country, around the world actually,” said Ferguson.

Ferguson is glad to hear that President Obama created a task force.

The group, comprised of various agencies, will look into why the number of honey bees and other pollinators are dwindling and find ways to boost their conservation.

Ferguson said, “I think there’s a great deal to be done, but I feel like we should remind the people that are going to be studying this, that we can’t solve the problem with the same mind set that got us into this problem.”

Research shows pesticides and mites, along with other factors, have caused the honey bee population to decline in recent years.

The president’s plan will increase acreage for all pollinators and nearly $50 million will go toward more research.

Besides flowers, and food, pollinators contribute more than $24 billion to the U.S. economy.

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