The Great Bee Migration: Supply Analysis of Honey Bee Colony Shipments into California for Almond Pollination Services
Jeffrey Williams and
No 281167, 2019 Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 4-6, 2019, Atlanta, Georgia from Agricultural and Applied Economics Association
Over the last two decades, the number of honey bee colonies performing pollination services for the California almond industry has grown steadily and now equals a substantial share of all colonies in the U.S. Most U.S. beekeeping operations have not expanded their colony numbers at the current levels of almond pollination fees. Thus, as almond acreage has increased, the marginal supplier of colonies has moved further away from California, increasing interstate shipments. We provide a conceptual representation of the supply and demand of U.S. colonies for almond pollination, and utilize the relatively inelastic demand for colonies to explore spatial elasticities of supply. We analyze temporal and spatial characteristics of the supply of colonies for almond pollination using colony shipment data from 2007 through 2018 provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. We use a geographically weighted regression to calculate supply elasticities for each state during this time period by combining the shipment data with prices from the California State Beekeeper’s Association pollination fee survey. Florida and Texas, where beekeepers have hesitated to participate in almond pollination due to relatively high transportation costs and the potential for local honey production at the time of almond bloom, have some of the highest price elasticities of supply. This suggests that beekeepers in areas with low transportation and/or opportunity costs have supplied all available colonies, and increases in almond pollination fees have had little effect. We estimate that Florida, Georgia and Texas had the largest number of colonies which did not participate in almond pollination in 2017, so further increases in supply are likely to come from these states.
Keywords: Crop Production/Industries; Demand and Price Analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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