by Peter Mathews
I have just noted here those items of either immediate interest or where detail may not be reported elsewhere. Otherwise see the next BBKA News for better coverage.
Our new BBKA President is Martin Smith. The only choice, but an excellent one!
Unlike 2009, all candidates for the Executive and Examinations Board gave a short presentation to introduce themselves. Whilst this still left a difficult choice as they were all excellent candidates, it was a big improvement on printed notes and a 'pin'. This also obviates the need for any choice at our HBKA Exec meeting - which is just as well, as most candidates are little known to us.
- Queen Rearing. Some comments on lack of progress on queen rearing. It was pointed out that BBKA is not a research body, and doesn't undertake this work. BBKA only acts as a facilitator. However, the BBKA is using some of its research fund to co-sponsor research at the University of Sussex for 3 years at £12k per year. This will examine 'hygienic bees' with an aim to understanding the heritability of desired characteristics.
- 'Beekeeping Course In A Box'. This will be available from the end of February. Associations will be entitled to one unit free of charge, but will be required to provide feedback on how it is used. Further boxes will be available for purchase at £75 each.
- BBKA Research Fund - At £63,000 this is very modest, and more than half has been allocated qv (1). At this level it can only cover joint sponsorship or feasibility studies. Donations to the fund from associations, divisions or individuals would be very welcome. [NL]
- Members are urged to enter the Spring raffle. Top prize is an incredibly expensive bottle of whisky.
- New Holland Tractors are the latest sponsors of BBKA with a special interest in helping combat bees losses. Clearly, sponsoring beekeeping is seen as a very good and green thing to do.
- BBKA calendar. With 2011 in mind, photographs of beekeeping subjects would be welcomed by BBKA Enterprises. [NL]
- One change to the BBKA Basic Exam is that candidates should have kept bees for at least a year. It was noted that some associations sponsor exam candidates.
- No change in capitation is envisaged before 2012. Currently this is £14.
- BBKA are planning a new web site, and David Aston would like to hear from anyone who would like to help on this from a design perspective. [NL]
These will be reported in full elsewhere, but some personal views...........
The Propositions with full wording are published in BBKA News and the website (if you are keenly interested)
01/ For pro-rata capitation - failed
02/ For joint collection of capitation and BDI - failed
03/ To end endorsement of pesticides - failed
I expected this to be a very close vote following all the recent publicity supporting the proposition. But, the source of this publicity may have antagonised members to vote against. Surprisingly, the membership vote against (ie for the current approval policy) actually increased from that of last year. Briefly, there were two views i) the use of the logo is bad for the image of BBKA and ii) farmers and other users are enthusiastic about the use of clear labelling which helps in their decision to use more bee friendly products. Herts voted against the proposition, but asked the Exec to consider a middle road of exploring a new labelling scheme with a new logo introduced specifically for this purpose.
04/ retain skills of retiring officers - failed. Existing processes already handle this.
05/ That BBKA rejoin the Fera Healthy Bees Project Board - failed
- BBKA has made every attempt at collaboration in the course of 6 meetings with Fera
- BBKA relations with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, as a comparison, have been excellent
- Fera have not revealed any of their budgets or finances.
- Lord Davies is angered at the Fera position and made clear that it is intolerable.
- BBKA have used BBKA contact information to e-mail members re the C&G train A Trainer Courses. This was done without permission.
- Fera have also approached members directly for consultancy work.
- Fera have already funded some ill conceived projects:- a) The C&G Trainer course is not what members want - we need a bee specific courses aimed at divisions rather than counties. b) a sociology project to investigate why people take up beekeeping! c) NBU are not publishing results of their work carried out in the course of the project, because they have no target to do this!
- One view considered that this proposal was effectively a vote of no confidence in the Exec.
- BBKA are getting much support from the Opposition (Conservative Party) and things could change with a new government.
09/ Display material - carried. This will be made available.
Hope you can follow all this which is in a hurried note form. But, things are happening.
Happy to answer any questions.