Message from George Hansen, ABF President
October 25, 2013
Last week I was called by Monsanto representative Jerry Hayes and was asked to participate in a honey bee health symposium as a representative of the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF). I had already participated in two previous meetings of this type – the first was sponsored by Project Apis m. in California, and the second was earlier this year and was hosted by Monsanto at its headquarters in St. Louis. Mr. Hayes told me Monsanto was wanting the momentum to continue from the meeting in St. Louis, but was looking to take Monsanto out of the headlines by having a third-party, unaffiliated facilitator, The Keystone Center, facilitate the meeting.
Within 36 hours, Monsanto’s media department issued a press release that intimated the ABF and other organizations are partners in the advancement of some stated goals and principles.
I want the ABF membership to know that at no time did I or the ABF enter into any kind of “partnership” with Monsanto. I agreed to attend the symposium and represent the interests of the ABF membership and the honey bee industry. I never saw a draft of the press release, let alone agreed to any goals or principles put forth in the release. To my knowledge, the Monsanto release had no input from any segment of the honey bee industry.
I have asked for an apology from Monsanto, as well as a public retraction of the release. As of today, I have received a verbal apology and a promise to re-issue a corrected release, which I will be able to see before it is disseminated in the next few days.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Regina Robuck, ABF executive director, at 404.760.2887 or firstname.lastname@example.org.