February 2, 2021
After many years of discussion and planning, the B.C. Honey Producers Association is in the first stages of developing a Tech Transfer Program to assist B.C. beekeepers.
The program and its initial goals and budget are being designed by the BCHPA’s central executive with the assistance of the association’s Technology Transfer Program advisory committee.
The move to stand up a new TTP is taking place in large part because of the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture’s willingness to support the initiative. In discussions with the BCHPA executive in late December Minister Lana Popham expressed strong support for the program and urged the association to submit a written proposal. In subsequent discussions in January with her assistant deputy minister, the association was asked to complete a proposal by mid-February in order to meet the province’s 2021 budget schedule for the upcoming fiscal which begins April 1.
B.C. is the last province in Canada to consider establishing a TTP. When the BCHPA first began deliberations in 2015 about the need for such a program and brought in a specialist from Ontario to speak at the Annual General Meeting in Comox, the only TTP in existence was operated by the Ontario Beekeepers Association. Since then teams have been established in the Maritimes, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.
In January the BCHPA’s TTP advisory committee surveyed all of the other Canadian teams. It has developed a basic framework for a modest multi-year program, based on similar programs operated by Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Elements of the Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes TTP’s, which are larger and more established or have crown corporation oversight, have also been considered.
The B.C. program would be owned and operated by the BCHPA, with funding from the ministry, the BCHPA, and other partners. Some of the contemplated goals of the BCHPA TTP include:
- Delivery of applied research and best management practices to beekeepers around B.C.
- Regional workshops on Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
- Development of locally-influenced queens and queen-breeding
- Demonstrative research in a BCHPA-established apiary
- Research and support to bee-related projects conducted by academic institutions
- Sampling services to beekeepers on a fee-for-service basis
The proposed program is not intended to replace or diminish the role of the provincial Apiculture Division, which continues to carry out its mandate under the Animal Health Act. Instead, the TTP is being designed, with the support of the province, to bolster services to B.C.’s more than 3,000 registered beekeepers.
The BCHPA executive would normally put this proposal to the membership at its fall Annual General Meeting, but the interest by the ministry in funding this program in 2021 has accelerated our efforts. We expect to give a detailed briefing and budget details at our Semi-Annual General Meeting in March. The event will be conducted online through Zoom.
Members of the TTP Advisory Committee include: Heather Higo (BCHPA president), Michalina Hunter (BCHPA Secretary), Ian Kennard, Darwin Moffat-Mallet, Kerry Clark (Past President), Jeff Lee (2nd Vice-president), and Stan Reist (CHC Representative).
For more information, members can contact:
Ian Kennard – firstname.lastname@example.org