WOODSTOCK: The Governments of Canada and Ontario are launching a new targeted beekeeper intake to support and strengthen the health of managed honey bees and Ontario’s beekeeping sector.
The business of beekeeping plays an important role when it comes to managing bee health and the success of crops on Ontario farms.
Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (The Partnership) the new 50 per cent cost share intake opens on June 21, 2021 and will support beekeepers with 10 or more colonies registered with the Provincial Apiarist.
Beekeepers will be able to apply for funding to support honey bee health and business capacity, including the following:
• Purchase equipment to prevent the introduction and spread of disease and increase overwinter survival of bees.
• Sampling and analysis for pests and diseases to increase adoption of integrated pest management and other best management practices.
• Purchase of domestically raised queens to assist in building the resilience of the industry.
• Business supports to help beekeepers grow their business “Bees are vital to our food system and agricultural sector,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Canada’s beekeepers need specialized tools to manage and enhance bee health. The Government of Canada will continue to support beekeepers, and ensure they have access to the resources they need as they adapt to new climate realities.”
“We have had a strong uptake from beekeepers under the first intake for help with reducing biosecurity risks, minimizing overwinter loss and managing pests and diseases in managed honey bees,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
“We’re taking into consideration feedback from beekeepers and the challenges of the industry — including the impact of COVID-19 — to build on the program and tailor our support to the current needs of the sector.” “This targeted bee health intake will provide beekeepers in Ontario the opportunity to address biosecurity risks in their operations,” said Melanie Kempers, General Manager, Ontario Beekeepers’ Association.
“Ontario is home to many beekeepers, from those who manage a few colonies to those who keep bees commercially. No matter the size of the operation, the importance of bee health is vital and these funding opportunities are key to support health and sustainability for Ontario’s beekeeping industry.”
Changes being introduced under the new intake include:
• A new maximum will allow commercial beekeepers to receive up to $10,000 in cost share funding to reflect the higher cost demands of commercial operations (50 colonies or more).
• The program will continue to provide cost-share funding of up to $3,500 for operations of less than 50 colonies.
• Under the new intake, applicants can be approved for a maximum of two applications.
• Honey extraction equipment and activities related to COVID-19 recovery are included as eligible expenses. For example, supporting the development of websites for online sales and producing Ontario stock to mitigate difficulty in accessing queens or worker bees due to COVID-19. Project eligibility will continue to include multi-year projects to take into consideration the seasonality of the beekeeping industry and the time between purchasing and receiving product (such as honey bee stock, which may be delivered several months after purchase). Due to this seasonality and the length of this new intake, equipment and stock will need to be purchased within the first year of the intake.
• Under the first targeted beekeeper intake, over $550,000 was invested into the cost-share funding for 350 projects (including completed projects and those underway), for beekeepers owning more than 20,000 hives across the province.
• The Partnership is a fiveyear, $3-billion commitment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sectors. This includes a $2 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
• The cost-share program has a continuous application process, with applications accepted until funding is fully allocated.