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Biosecurity, disease reduction program for commercial Manitoba beekeepers

This aid under the Ag Action Manitoba Program for Farmers might be short lived

It may be a case of use it or lose it for Manitoba’s beekeepers.

They’re being urged to apply now for help under a cost-sharing program that’s aimed at commercial beekeepers trying to control diseases which may only be available this year.

Rheal Lafreniere.
photo: File

“There is a maximum of $3,500 in the program,” Rheal Lafreniere, Manitoba Agriculture’s provincial apiarist told 117 honey producers attending an event June 16 at Steppler Farms. “In order to access this 50-50 cost share (program) you’d have to spend $7,000. You don’t have to spend the whole amount. You can just target those specific areas that are most important to you.

The aid is through Assur­ance: Animal Health and Bio­security for Bees, under the Ag Action Manitoba program, funded by the federal and Man­i­­toba governments.

The program encourages honey farmers to look at their hive health management practices and improve biosecurity, Lafreniere said.

Starting this December bee­keepers will have to get their antibiotics through a veter­inarian.

“This program allows you to set up a vet-client relationship with a veterinarian and cover half the costs to do so,” he said. “There is a maximum. It’s $500, but this allows you to have that communication with a vet, have them come over to your farm and start developing a protocol or a procedure of how you want to use antibiotics on your farm.”

The program also can be used to offset some of the cost of sampling bees for antibiotic-resistant American foulbrood spores to see if an operation can be weaned off antibiotics, Lafreniere said.

Funds for that service are capped at $1,000, he said.

Money is available for replacing old brood comb with new disease-free comb.

Funding for that is capped at $2,000.

“The qualifier there is if you are already active in the program under previous programs like Growing Forward 2 you would not be eligible under Ag Action Manitoba,” Lafreniere said. “But if you haven’t you would be eligible for that.

“One other catalogue item that’s on that list — if you want to get more diagnostics on the farm there is money to buy a microscope and if there’s training available that costs you money you could offset those costs similarly with this 50-50 cost share.”

To qualify for the program beekeepers must have 50 or more hives, be registered with Manitoba Agriculture, have a Manitoba Premises Identification Number, and have participated in a biosecurity workshop.

Two biosecurity workshops are being held Aug. 28 and 30, in Winnipeg (Agricultural Services Complex, 545 University Cres., Manitoba Room: Large EOC (basement) and Brandon (Agriculture Extension Building, 1129 Queens Ave., Room: Classroom A), respectively. Both meetings run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

For more information contact Rheal Lafreniere at 204-945-4825 or [email protected].

For more on Assurance: Animal Health and Biosecurity for Bees visit the Manitoba Agriculture website.

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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