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  Wednesday, 13 February 2019
  39 Replies
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A place to discuss the merits and concerns about the bill. Please include any remedies or improvements as well.

Regulation of Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Here is the link to the new bill introduced on 02/12/19. It affects Vermont Beekeepers. Please read it and use the VBA forums to post your thoughts.

The VBA wants to hear from you and your responses can help us draft a position paper.
3 years ago
I have asked Rep Janet ancel how she thought this would promote beekeeping in Vermont.and how it would get more poeple into beekeeping.she gave no response.or has no idea.
3 years ago
I received a short response/questions from Rep Kimberly Jessup asking if the VBA recommendations were shared with the Ag Committee. I assured her that they were and also provided a little information about how the pollinator protection committee was involved in the recommendations for the neonics but the changes to the Vt apiary law proposed in the bill were seemingly made without that committee or the VBA's input. Will add to this thread if there is further information. I also advised that I would be happy to put her in touch with the VBA leadership for more information. (I haven't even started keeping bees yet!! I am getting my first two colonies - from a local apiary - this May.)
3 years ago
I wrote my representative and others that I know. My representative wrote back and it does not sound that good for the bill. He stated
Hi Paul.
As you are probably aware, I am a co-sponsor on H.205. I have been in touch with some of my colleagues on the House Agriculture committee. I have to say that support for the “traditional” farmers gets in the way for having a rational discussion around issues such as this. I will do what I can. There are still opportunities in the Senate if the bill gets through the House before cross over.

3 years ago

I've reached out to my reps (including the Senators) via email and received a near immediate response from Senator Perchlik. Seems we have a fellow beekeeper friend in the Senate.

"Andrew Perchlik
Mar 4, 2019, 9:11 PM (7 hours ago)
to me

Thanks Meghan for bringing this to my attention. I didn't know about H.205
My wife and I used to keep a couple of hives. We gave it up due to too many visits by the bears. We plan to take it up again now that are kids are grown.
I'd be supportive of the VBA amendments and will look more closely at the underlying bill when it gets to the Senate. If it doesn't pass the House this year remind me and I'll introduce a similar bill in the Senate."
3 years ago
Hello all, as suggested, I reached out, by e-mail, to several of my local Legislators concerning approval of the Bill as amended. (Both House and Senate Reps). I received postiive responses, saying that they would look out for the Bill if it ever gets "off the wall" in Committee. A couple actually asked for and received a little education about beekeeping and the challenges posed by pesticides etc.
Well,if nothing else, it lets them know that we are watching !!!! Peter.
3 years ago
The Vt House will have three days to get H.205 out of the Ag committee in order to get it by the Ways and Means committee who can then send it to the House floor for a final vote. If that does not happen within a week after the legislature reconvenes after having this week off for Town Meeting, the bill will not make the crossover deadline for Senate considerstion and we get nothing approved this year. The more the bill is changed, ammended, etc., the more likely it is to get held up in debate and testimony by committees and fail to make the crossover deadline.
3 years ago
Thanks, yes, I understand that but why would we expect to have a better chance to get treated seeds restricted next year rather than this year? I don't think it is very strategic to pre-compromise our position. The VBA position should be clearly what we prefer, not what we think will pass. The legislature will certainly make all the compromises that they feel will get the bill passed, or not to satisfy their constituents & contributors..
3 years ago
I agree that all neonics (and all pesticides) need to be addressed, but I am sorry to say, we will have much more success if we take it incrementally. Pass a consumer/homeowner bill this year and work on the treated seeds issue next. I used to feel that a bill that made only a little progess while not addressing all of the issue was not worth the time and effort as we need major changes now, but have come to recognize the realities of politics and how things work in our disfunctional world.
3 years ago
Pesticide industry lobbyists have indicated that they are willing to go along with a ban on homeowner use, but not farm (treated seed) use. If treated seeds get included in the bill, then we have most farmers and the pesticide industry opposing this bill and they both hold a lot of sway over the legislature.
3 years ago
Ross, Why would including treated seeds guarantee no passage this year?
3 years ago
By asking the legislature to include rather than exempt treated seeds in the pollinator protection bill (H.205) we are guaranteeing that no bill will pass this year. Much better to get a prohibition on residential consumer use and work on treated seeds next year.
3 years ago
From VT Digger: The golf course industry is keeping an eye on a bill, H.205, that would require neonicotinoid insecticides to be registered as “restricted use” and would have to be approved by the Agency of Agriculture for outdoor use. The industry says neonicotinoids—a class of pesticide that has been linked to causing pollinator die-off across the world—are critical tools for golf course management.

3 years ago
Thank you for giving us this forum to offer our point of view! My concerns about this bill are based on my background of professional research on the impacts of pesticides on non-target species and over 30 years of hobby beekeeping. I recommend that the VBA position on the proposed restrictions of neonics were stated more emphatically and supported by specific scientific references. The exception for treated seeds must be clearly opposed for reasons stated by others. I agree with the opposition to apiary registration and beekeeper certification by the state; this is clearly just another revenue opportunity that would provide little added benefit to beekeepers or the environment in general. The proposed inspection and taxation on colonies brought into Vermont is really not practical or meaningful. If this is intended to control introduction of diseases does this also apply to nucs, used empty hives & frames, packages, etc.? Enforcement seems impossible. VBA's approach with public awareness, education, collaboration with the state, and networking among beekeepers is a much more practical and effective strategy.
3 years ago
I notice that none of my reps were involved in sponsoring this bill (Orleans/Irasburg). I will motivate to contact them to support it once these issues are settled -

My opinion: ALL neonic sources should be included (really, outlawed) & a high portion (50%?) of that $$ should be allocated to pollinator education programs in schools, scholarships for VBA/local club supported workshops, research projects, etc.

Also, I agree with current apiary registration in place & not making it harder to become a novice beekeeper - feel strongly that VBA experts should be involved with any certification/registration requirements in this bill.

Keep us posted!
3 years ago
The following parts of Bill H 205 seems unclear to me. Is this in addition to registration now required along with the $10 bee tax or is this combined with the requirement to register that already exists?
]1 Sec. 3. 6 V.S.A. § 3023
3 (a) It shall be the duty of any person who is the owner of
4 any bees, apiary, colony, or hive to report to in the State shall register with the
5 Secretary in writing.
1 (b) Report. Annually the owner of any bees, apiary, colony, or hive
7 registered under subsection (a) of this section shall submit a report to the
8 Secretary that includes all of the ...........

Also, line item 16 needs clarification. Does this mean ALL diseases or only those currently required to be reported. (currently AFB as far as I know) It seems that All diseases are serious and defining which require reporting and defining "serious" might clarify things.? Who is responsible for the diagnosis?
16 (3) the discovery of Whether a serious disease was discovered within.
Also, I agree with the VBA's stance on objecting to the treated seed exemption since research shows treated seeds can kill bees through systemic build up or area contamination. Not including treated seed in neonicotinoid controls kind of dilutes the effectiveness of the controls
3 years ago
Most, if not all, of the bill as it relates to hobby bee keepers seem to me to be a solution in search of a problem.
3 years ago
VBA will be testifying in Montpelier today on H.205 presenting our position on this legislation as it was crafted during last night's meeting of the Board of Directors. We'll post the position statement along with news of the testimony on the VBA website later today.


3 years ago
I am writing to support two things others on this thread have already said.

First, the certification requirement is not needed. VBA has been spending a few years developing a certification program. Will the State have in place a certification program by July 1, 2019? I highly doubt it. Was VBA even asked about the industry-led certification program?

Second, by exempting neonic treated seeds, the bill becomes basically useless, since the wonder of neonics is that they are systemic: seeds are generally treated with neonics, so the neonics become spread throughout the plant as is grows.
3 years ago
Here is the feedback I gave to my rep (Emilie Kornheiser) to pass on to the committee:

Just saw this bill which has been introduced to committee (https://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2020/H.205) making the rounds in online beekeeping groups. I'm about to start beekeeping myself this year. It doesn't look like you're a sponsor or on the committee, but if you could consider and possibly forward my comments to the right individuals it would be appreciated!

I think the portions on the pesticides are great.

The only part I really take issue with are the loose requirements for § 3023a. CERTIFIED BEEKEEPER. I do not like that it is up to the discretion of the Secretary to determine what is valid training. I believe if this is the case, the state must provide the training itself and it should be available online.

While I will personally be exempt under the language as written, since my bees will be registered before July 1 2019, I would hate for future bee keepers to be kept from the hobby by requiring folks in the southern part of the state to attend trainings that may not be widely available (say, only in northern VT and only a handful of times a year). For example, I would love to attend some local bee keeping classes but most of them are over in NH and I have to be home with our son on the dates it is available.

If certification is going to be required it ought to be cheap and easily accessible.

My last recommendation for this bill is that the existing annual registration / report be available through an online portal. I don't see a reason why it has to be printed out and mailed in this day and age.
3 years ago
I am completely in favor of the move to register and restrict the use of neonics and other agricultural pesticides. However, I agree with others who question the exclusion of treated seeds. I believe these should be included in the bill. Unless there is incentive to move to less toxic forms of agriculture, it won’t happen, and the air and soil will continue to be poisoned.

The purpose of the bill, as stated, is :
“Statement of purpose of bill as introduced: This bill proposes to regulate the sale and application of neonicotinoid pesticides in order to protect pollinator populations.”

There is nothing in the purpose about regulating beekeepers. We already are required to register our apiaries with the Secretary annually and pay a fee for the privilege. The VBA has a certification program. I tried to do a search to find out which states require beekeepers to be certified. A number of states require registration of hives/apiaries, but I didn’t find any that required state certification. Does anyone know if / which states require training, certification and continuing education to be a beekeeper? Sounds like they are trying to move towards licensure.

Instead of duplicating existing regulations and making things more complicated, the state should be supporting beekeepers. Beekeepers should get a tax deduction for raising bees, belonging to the VBA and using BMPs. Some states have grant programs to assist beekeepers and encourage beekeeping. Vermont seems to want to make if more difficult to get into beekeeping. That makes no sense.

I totally agree that the VBA should have the opportunity to meet with this committee. I think the intent is good, but they may be shooting themselves in the foot by trying to make it more difficult for beekeepers. And, I don’t believe any regulation of beekeepers belongs in a bill to regulate pesticides.

Thank you for the opportunity to spout off!
Sue Ordinetz
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