April 9 2018 -2

On a conference call with other Manitoba Beekeepers Association directors this morning preparing some speaking points for the Minister of Agriculture on April 11th.
We discussed a wide range of priority items. Starting with the #1 issue, to assert the importance of our Provincial Apiarist and to reinforce the importance of supporting extension services. Next we will lobby the government to support a Tech Transfer initiative which would focus on the immediate beekeeper issues of our industry through research, workshops and furthering education. During the meeting we will represent producers who continue to be plagued with bear and wildlife damage. And the priority I will communicate to the minister Is the importance of sustainable land management and to simply set a seed to the minister on how important wetland and native lands are to honey bee and native pollinator health. Then I’ll follow up with a proactive approach on how to use Carbon Tax money to promote preservation of our wetlands and native areas.
The three of us have a lot of ground to cover with the minister in the 45 minutes. I’m looking forward to the meeting!

April 9 2018

Finally after weeks of loosing sight of my babies, my bees come out to see me last night. The lights from the forklift and the disruption of the hive movement jiggled the clusters loose and out to the entrance fronts. Hello my babies, it’s nice to see you again! Not too many of the hives didn’t come out to say hi. I did notice the boxes are getting light.
I now have a truck loaded and backed into my shed ready to go the instant I decide to set them out. When??? Maybe tonight??? The forecast looks hardly nice tomorrow with continued cold following for the rest of the week. -12 degrees at night, plus 1 highs… nothing exciting. I don’t know what to do…so I wait,

April 7 2018

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!

April 4 2018

Today Steppler Farms was presented with the Pembina Valley Conservation District 2018 Conservation Award. An award created in honour of conservation farmer Mike Cabernel.
We are humbled by this award and we thank the PVCD board for this recognition. Uptop is our Farm’s Acceptance speech given by myself (we had to fight to determine who was accepting this award 😉), below is the trophy presented to us which will display Steppler Farms Ltd. as the 2018 Recipients.

April 3 2018

Today I gave a honey/grain/cattle farm tour to MP Candice Bergen, Conservative House Leader and MP John Barlow, Opposition of Agriculture.
Today I connected our Farm’s issues directly to my party of politics. First hand look at my honey bees in winter storage, first hand look at the guys fixing up our seeding equipment and first hand look at 500 fresh calves running around the farm. AND A COUPLE EAR FULLS OF OPINION, 🙂

Later I was at a farmer round table discussion in Miami Manitiba Canada with Conservative House Leader MP Candice Bergen and Opposition Ag Critic MP John Barlow. A well attended meeting and a variety of farm issues being discussed which need to be addressed by our current government. My voice brought a few important Beekeeping issues to the table. I feel it’s extremely important to PAY ATTENTION and convey our voice to our elected officials. Our voice is important and it must be heard, it happens one voice at a time 👍

March 31 2018

This flue has hammered the hell out of me. It’s been 2 weeks and now I’m just starting to get drifts of energy back. I’ve been very unmotivated lately, kinda drifting along in a fog, resting on the couch as I’ve been fighting off this infection. Stress doesn’t help things along either…it’s time to pick up and get things done again!!

I’m looking at least 10 away before any type of exciting weather approaches us…, I’m kinda in a wtf moment, a month of winter has just been tagged on here. I thought I heard February tell us March was going to be the end of winter. Now it’s April and my optimism is lacking… As my Dad always says, it’s these challenges which separates the men from the boys. I’m kinda feeling like a boy right now…time to man up.