President’s Message – January 2017

Greetings,

Our plans for the BCHPA semi-annual meeting in Kamloops March 10 and 11 are well in place. Check the website for details, but we will focus on the specific health rules for honey production including labelling, and on some remarkably successful bee management practices by Mike Palmer.  Also scheduled (for March 9, also in Kamloops) is a course to train and certify instructors of introductory beekeeping, to work toward having the many people recently attracted to beekeeping, better equipped to take their place in the beekeeping community.  We expect a continuing interest in beginning beekeeping, and the spring courses will soon be happening.

In late January I have reports that honey prices are rising from their disquieting lows of early January. The lower international price of honey was likely depressed by an artificial “oversupply” of honey, worsened by availability of fake substitutes. I wish well to those searching for ways to counter the problem.  Other Canadian national issues were addressed by Canadian Honey Council at meetings in mid-January. See the report from Stan Reist, our CHC Representative.

Health Canada proposed a program supposedly intended to help Canadians become healthier by reducing their consumption of certain constituents of concern (salt, fat, sugar), but based on a concept of requiring on the front of each package, a type of “warning” label of foods high in these “problems”: including honey, as “high in sugar”.  Human nutrition is a complex and inexact field. I hope our health agency leaders will consider how “official advice” went wrong years ago, when we were advised to avoid consumption of eggs, and fats in general. We hope they won’t be swept up by radical, poorly founded proclamations and will avoid actions that may degrade the public’s concept of honey as a natural and heathy food. BCHPA Executive has prepared and sent a letter (posted for members, on our website) to the Minister of Health Canada pointing out what were seen as several problems with the program.

With the release of land assessments, issues around eligibility of land used for bee forage for Farm classification have come up again. We thought this was clarified (see a report under INFO on the website) but apparently not enough. We hope to also revisit the issue of pollination service revenue qualifying as Farm income. If you are affected by these, please contact the Executive directly.

While 2016 was reported to be the warmest year globally in historical records, the winter of 2016-17 in BC seems a more challenging one: some extended cold or unusually wet weather. At least the daylight hours are noticeably increased from late December: time for optimism.

Bees be with you.

Kerry Clark

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