This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," February 4, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, back to the stimulus bill.
And the part that has everyone buzzing — in fact, I have been talking about it every night — this 150 billion bucks for honeybee insurance. People were wondering, I was wondering, how the heck that creates jobs.
So, we thought we would ask a beekeeper to explain this to us. Joining us now is a beekeeper, David Burns.
David, good to have you. Thank you.
DAVID BURNS, OWNER, LONG LANE HONEY BEE FARMS: Thanks, Neil. And good to be here.
CAVUTO: All right, why is this important? What is going on?
BURNS: Well, as a beekeeper, our bees are in trouble.
And because the bees get in trouble, beekeepers are in trouble. Whether or not I personally feel the stimulus packet needs to include this aspect of helping the bees, I — you know, I would love to get a bailout on my beekeeping farm. But as a private owner of my company, I really need to make it work on my own.
CAVUTO: All right, but can you tell me what is first happening to honeybees? They are just dying left and right, right?
BURNS: Yes, the CCD — colony collapse disorder — came about I think was late 2006, and wiped — started wiping out bees by the thousands.
And beekeepers really got in trouble. And it has not let up. It has been hard. Those that are commercial that they have a lot of bees, they are really suffering. They are losing their operations.
But the main thing is, if we lose the honeybees, we lose the ability to pollinate one-third of every bite of food that we eat. So, it really affects America.
CAVUTO: So, your argument is, if you don't have all the honeybees, you are going to damage the nation's food crop, and it could cascade and gets worse, right?
BURNS: Oh, yes. It already has.
I have got pollinators calling me up, begging me to bring bees to apple orchards, to melon patches. I think most Americans don't realize the role that a honeybee plays in pollinating our fruit and vegetables. And we will lose our honeybees, we're going to be eating rice and beans.
CAVUTO: All right.
BURNS: It just boils down to that. Honeybees...
CAVUTO: But, David, here is my — here is my thing. And I feel your plight. I feel your pain. I know what is going on with honeybees. And maybe this is a worthy issue to look at down the road.
I just don't think, David — and no offense to all your hard work — it has any business in a stimulus bill.
BURNS: Well, I may agree with you on that.
I don't represent all the beekeepers in America. I'm sure most of us would love to get — I lost 70 hives in 2070 — or 2007. That's a lot of hives to lose. And if the government came up and handed me a check for $10,000 for losing that many hives, or more, you know, that would feel good.
But I'm not real — I really like, as a beekeeper, I need to make my business work without government help and government handouts. But I do think...
CAVUTO: But, obviously, someone is representing you enough, David, that, maybe not you, but someone has created some buzz on Capitol Hill to say, hey, the plight of the honeybee is worth $150 million.
CAVUTO: But even you would say it probably does not belong in a stimulus package, right?
BURNS: Yes. I don't even know if I am for a stimulus package at all.
And whether honeybees — and I know the last package that we saw had a lot of things in it that I — you know, I was not proud of. But on the standpoint of the honeybee, beekeepers need help. America really needs the honeybee. And if we lose our honeybees, we are in trouble.
And I think that if we can — whether this support comes through a stimulus package, maybe that is certainly debatable, but we need help. We need help for research. We need help...
CAVUTO: All right. Well, I'm not dismissing that, David. Here is what I am asking you, though. Let's say you got this money, and you got it right away. What would change right away? Anything?
BURNS: Oh, yes, I think we would start replenishing the bees that we are losing. And that is what we're doing at our honeybee operation. We're trying to encourage beekeepers...
CAVUTO: But would you hire more beekeepers yourself? Would you hire more assistants or anything like that?
BURNS: My operation is not big enough to do that.
But, yes, there are beekeepers that certainly would start hiring back all the beekeepers that they lost when they lost their hives. And...
CAVUTO: I gotcha.
So, David, just so you understand — and, believe me, I understand — you educated me on your plight, what is going on with honeybees — I just think, with all respect to you — and you're a hardworking young guy — your plight, as serious as it is, should not be in this stimulus measure. That is all I am saying.
BURNS: Yes. And I would probably agree with you, but I do hope you give me an opportunity to tell the — tell America that honeybees are so important.
BURNS: And they have a just case. The commercial beekeepers that have thousands of hives, they are losing — they are losing their homes. They are losing jobs. They are losing the bees. And that really should affect us. It really should bring us — honeybees to the forefront.
CAVUTO: All right.
BURNS: And if we can get more people keeping bees, hobbyists, like we used to — in my own state, we have lost 1,000 beekeepers over the last 20 years.
CAVUTO: All right.
BURNS: And bees are disappearing because less people are keeping them. And that's why we're trying to get more people to keep bees.
But we still need the research...
BURNS: ... so that, when people start keeping bees, they will have the knowledge to keep them healthy and not die.
Dave, I would love to get you here at FOX in our New York studios. Maybe you can just unleash all those bees in Bill O'Reilly's office.
BURNS: Well, I would love to sell you a hive and you can start keeping bees to help things out.
CAVUTO: There we go. There are a lot of viewers who would welcome the opportunity.
David, thank you very, very much.
BURNS: Thank you.
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