Food News

New Study Claims Bee Research Could Benefit Florida's Economy

There's been a lot of buzz about bees over the past few years.

With a major decline in honeybee populations across the country -- and in other parts of the world -- scientists have been scrambling to discover the cause.

To deal with the concern, the University of Florida has proposed a state-of-the-art research facility.

A new study released claims the economic impact of the center could astronomically benefit Florida's economy.

See Also: Research Links Previous Bee Extinction With End of Dinosaurs; What Does This Mean For Humans?

A special report composed at the behest of state Rep. Keith Perry estimated that a new honeybee research facility could bring in more than $1 million revenue in state tax to Florida.

Florida TaxWatch, an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research institute and government watchdog, was tasked with compiling the report.

"An agricultural research facility focused on honeybees is a unique way to diversify Florida's economy and increase state revenues," says Dominic M. Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. "The benefits of investing this facility range from increased research and educational capabilities to improved crop production to the ability to enhance state tax revenue."

Florida is the third-largest honey producer in the country, holding 10 percent of the nation's bee colonies each winter; in 2012, the industry brought in $23.1 million.

The report asserts that the University of Florida research center would bring in research revenue as well as top researchers in the field and students. It also claims that economic impact would span from job creation in construction to research positions.

"This research facility could help lower costs for producers, increase crop production, and help Florida consumers with lower food costs for healthy Florida fruits and vegetables," says Dr. Jerry D. Parrish, TaxWatch chief economist and director of the TaxWatch Center for Competitive Florida.

And who knows, maybe, they'll even figure out how to save the bees.

Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.

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Sara Ventiera