CEO Update July 2023
The crazy conference season has now drawn to a close with the last of the member body conferences being in WA. There has been learnings and enlightening discussions from across the conferences. There have also been polarising views around the varroa response with everyone keen to offer their opinion which has been great to gauge the feeling in industry.
AgriFutures Honey Bee and Pollination Advisory Panel
There are currently two positions available on the panel for a honey producer and pollination service provider. This panel is incredibly important for our industry as it is this panel that guides the research and development investments on behalf of our industry.
It is important that as an industry we have good representation on this panel. I encourage anyone who might be interested to apply. To apply follow the link Advisory Panel Application. Applications close 27th July.
Net Zero and the honey bee industry
In between state conferences I managed to attend the Australian Farm Institute conference on ESG (Environmental, Sustainability and Governance). These are goals and standards associated with achieving net zero by 2050. These are global standards that are being rolled out across the world and impacting every industry and will affect the honey bee industry too. I attended to help AHBIC understand what these impacts will be for our industry.
The biggest take away message for me was that global markets are setting benchmarks for ESG’s and if we as an industry don’t measure our emissions and footprint then we will be locked out of their markets. The EU is the first market that will demand ESG credentials with the rest to follow.
This is coming whether we like it or not, and as an industry we need to start thinking about and understanding our footprint and measuring it. AHBIC has been working with AgriFutures to understand how we can better prepare our industry for the new requirements.
Imported Honey Fighting Fund
We have launched the fighting fund with support starting to roll in. We are now looking for imported honey samples from shelves across the country. Honey can be sent to AHBIC with place and date of purchase accompanying the honey. AHBIC will use the fighting funds to test the honey for authenticity and use the results to lobby government for better testing protocols and testing rates at the border.
Junior Beekeepers Represent Aust Overseas
It has been exciting to follow the progress of the young beekeepers that are representing Australia in the international young beekeeper’s competition. The AHBIC executive provided cash support to the group to assist with travel costs. This demonstrates the importance the AHBIC executive places on the development of our future beekeepers. You can view the outcomes of their trip in our newsletter article here.
AHBIC has been successful in gaining a grant through AgriFutures to facilitate an immersion tour for our Bee Biosecurity Officers (BBO’s) from around the country to spend a week in New Zealand. This trip, scheduled for September, will up-skill our front-line officers in all things Varroa. Upon return the BBO’s will have a greater understanding of the challenges in managing Varroa and will disseminate these learnings to industry. This immersion tour is just one of the many activities AHBIC is doing to plan for the worst-case scenario should it occur.
Standards Australia and the International Standards Organisation
We have been successful in gaining membership to the international working group for bee products. This working group is designing international standards for honey production, beeswax, royal jelly and propolis production. A mirror group has been established for Australia which will inform the decisions at the international working group and help develop Australian specific standards. The mirror group had the first kick-off meeting to begin the process a few weeks ago.
The Month Ahead
I am looking forward to having some more time at home over the next month and affording the time to progress the many issues before us.
In early August AgVic and Plant Health Australia are running a plant biosecurity response simulation ‘operation aggregate’. Many of the plant industries including AHBIC have been invited to attend the 2-day event.
Twice weekly Varroa response briefings are still occurring with many additional meetings with the response teams to work through issues.
I wish all the beekeepers travelling to almonds the best of luck and hope for kinder weather conditions for pollination than last year.