One item on the agenda during Thursday’s Manitoba Beekeepers Association meeting was to provide feedback to MASC and the Overwinter Bee Mortality Insurance Program. This topic involved a lot of discussion which represented many Manitoba honey producer’s comments, concerns and suggestions on potential improvements. The MBA is your direct link to Manitoba Agriculture.
Another MAJOR issue we discussed at our meeting was in regards to the Federal Government’s proposed policy on changing the availability of antimicrobial medications (Oxytet, Tylosin). Our MBA’s Canadian Honey Council representative attended a Health Round Table on Antimicrobial Resistance held in Ottawa March 20th and brought back a tremendous amount of insight. The beekeeping industry is not the only industry concerned about the proposed policy changes. This Federal issue immediately becomes our provincial issue because administration of this initiative will be handled provincially through veterinary oversight. Our discussions were based around potential issues surrounding these regulatory changes and we talked about actions our association can take to help our producers manage these changes.
Three MBA members including myself will be meeting with our Provincial Minister of Agriculture on April 11th to discuss many pressing issues of our provincial honey bee industry. Top of mind of course, continued funding and support towards our provincial apiary extension services and asserting the importance of our provincial Apiarist. My job is of lesser of importance so it is placed last in the list of priorities to be discussed. I am there to present the opinion on behalf of the Manitoba Beekeepers Association in regards to sustainable development. I will reinforce the importance of natural wetlands and natural areas as they relate to honey bee operations. My approach is to encourage his ongoing efforts on streamlining the land improvement regulatory process (cutting red tape) but at the same time Im going to press the point where they need to follow through and BEEF up the enforcement of the regulatory process because the enforcement of infractions is terribly lacking. If policy isn’t respected, there will be no natural wetlands or natural land left within our country side. Anyway, exciting stuff and I am terribly nervous. Inviting a political figure onto the farm for a tour to discuss farm issues is much different than going onto their turf and representing the association’s interests!