May 6 2018

A clip from my presentation which I will present in front of the Government standing committee on the Sustainable Watersheds Act in Bill 7.

“As a voice for the Manitoba Beekeepers Association, our opinion is that we need to develop programs to promote and preserve wetland and natural land and provide recognition to land owners for their contribution and ongoing efforts in regards to sustainable land management.  We as beekeepers place huge value on natural lands left throughout the prairie landscape and we ask this government to do the same.

Our Voice comes to you as one of balance.  We are not interested in criticizing routine land improvement projects; in fact, we encourage it.  We are not against cutting Red Tape and streamlining the permit process on land improvement initiatives.  Farmers need to be able to access these tools to help improve their cultivated acres and make their farmland more productive.  Beekeepers directly gain from the success of the farming community.

We do however insist that this government also recognize the disregard some land owners have towards your sustainable land development regulatory process and we insist this government beef up enforcement to stop illegal drainage works and to stiffen up penalties towards these deliberately ignorant acts.  If this government does not enforce stiff penalties on illegal land development, there will be no natural land left in the near future.

The Manitoba Beekeepers Association has found a common voice with the Keystone Agricultural Producers and we support their efforts to promote (ALUS) Alternative Land Use Services program.  Our common voice carries on the opinion that our intention is not to interfere with cultivated land management projects but to solely focus on projects in marginal eco-sensitive lands to develop projects around the margins.   The vision Lara Ellis provides as director of strategic initiatives on the ALUS project falls in line with the values of the Manitoba Beekeepers Association. She states, “The vision of ALUS is to create a healthy landscape that sustains agriculture, wildlife and natural spaces for all Canadians.” (2)

Natural riparian areas, wetlands, pastures, ditches, tree rows and other small pockets of the natural world have been our bee hives only source of essential continual season long nectar and pollen.  When farmers leave places of nature as unfarmed land, they provide the resource for our hives to live on until farmers cultivated crops bloom; in return our bees provide crop pollination and we then harvest huge honey crops and sustain our livelihoods.  There has been a long standing understood relationship between farmers and beekeepers of our environmental stewardship and our inherent responsibilities of managing our lands.  As the dynamics of our agricultural industry are changing, so are the attitudes towards sustainable land management and our responsibilities to uphold that. “