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On Agriculture Minister Lana Popham’s Help For Bees in B.C.

On Agriculture Minister Lana Popham’s Help For Bees in B.C.

March is all the time a frenetic time for us. We’re simply popping out of winter, filled with hope for our bees and anticipating the brand new season.

It is usually the month that delivers new data and concepts, and when theoretical data can rework into sensible use.

I’m talking concerning the B.C. Honey Producers Affiliation’s semi-annual training days, which simply passed off on-line on the weekend.

I’m one of many organizers of this system, together with Dan Mawson, the opposite vice-president of the affiliation. This yr we introduced in some audio system who, frankly, fully altered how we take into consideration essentially the most fundamental components of our beekeeping craft. I’ll discuss these audio system in one other put up.

However on the very prime of the listing of excellent issues popping out of the assembly is Agriculture Minister Lana Popham’s announcement of funding for our affiliation’s Tech Switch Program.

Lana Popham introduced the BCHPA will obtain $100,000 this yr to assist begin a Tech Switch Program.

For so long as I’ve been on the board of the BCHPA, I and lots of others have argued that British Columbia wants a TTP to assist beekeepers in areas of sensible software, training and utilized analysis.  The province’s Apiculture Division is among the greatest within the nation, and is even the envy of many U.S. states, which frequently don’t have any such regulatory capability or help for beekeepers. However a tech switch program, run by a beekeepers’ affiliation, is a special animal. It gives  providers that the federal government regulatory company can’t or gained’t undertake, reminiscent of utilized analysis, non-regulatory testing,  educating built-in pest administration, efficient queen-rearing and extra.

Sarcastically, B.C. as soon as did have a TTP-style extension service operated by the province. Kerry Clark, our instant previous president, and John Gates had been the 2 extension specialists. However like many governments that needed to chop “pointless” applications or switch the prices to the non-public sector, the BC authorities of the Nineties did away with the service.

During the last six years the remainder of Canada’s beekeepers adopted on the grand-daddy of Canadian TTPs, the Ontario program first envisioned by Medhat Nasr, and began co-funded applications. We’ve been the final one with out such an important service.

Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture

That now ends with Popham’s announcement on Saturday that the B.C. authorities is giving the BCHPA $100,000 for the primary of what we hope and count on is a long-term annual dedication. The BCHPA and beekeepers have additionally obtained some pores and skin within the sport, and this isn’t a “handout” however comes with some hefty strings connected. We additionally face some important long-term monetary challenges. We’re going to have to rent a supervisor, develop cost-effective however results-producing applications and begin up a analysis apiary. And that’s solely within the first yr.

Over my lengthy profession as a journalist I used to be all the time cautious in how I referred to politicians. My want for objectivity required me to stroll a balancing beam that, if I fell or jumped off, may injury my credibility.

However I’m going to take that threat now and level out that I’ve by no means seen an agriculture minister like Popham. Her ardour for her portfolio and her curiosity in meals safety, selling farmers and defending the underpinnings of excellent agricultural ideas, reminiscent of rehabilitation of the Agricultural Land Reserve system, is refreshing and welcome.

There have been good agriculture ministers previously, and others who had been extra interested by utilizing the portfolio as a stepping stone of their political careers, to the detriment of the sector. Those who invested of their portfolios centered on essential sectors like grain, cattle, tree fruits and bush fruits. Only a few acknowledged the foundational significance of honey bees, with out which most of these sectors can be weakened.

Popham places all of them to disgrace. I imply, who on the planet would have created a “Bee BC” program designed to enhance bee well being outcomes? The littlest insect is acknowledged by Popham for its highly effective position within the agricultural economic system.

Full disclosure, our firm has been the recipient of some Bee BC grants to enhance bee well being, together with two permitting us to look into novel virus therapies utilizing mycelium, and two that help Kootenay beekeepers in decreasing illnesses and pathogens by sterilizing tools at Sterigenics in Port Coquitlam. These grants require cost-sharing on our half. And beekeepers within the Sterigenics program must pay their very own sterilization charges, although the price of transport to the Decrease Mainland is underwritten by the grants.

Display screen shot of video produced by Funding Agriculture Basis about Honey Bee Zen Bee BC tasks.

To others wishing to serve in elected workplace, I say look to Popham for example of what public service actually means.



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