MANTIOBA BEEKEEPER'S ASSOCIATION PREPARES FOR THE FUTURE
WITH FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM AG ACTION MANITOBA
 
In 2019, the Manitoba Beekeeper's Association (MBA) was approved for funding through Ag Action Manitoba for Industry Organizations.
 
Ag Action Manitoba is a five-year, $176 million, all-encompassing investment program.  The program is available to:
  • industry organizations
  • industry service providers
  • farmers
  • agri-processors
  • researchers

Industry organizations include associations, boards, commissions, indigenous government, and community or not-for-profit organizations.  Eligible industry organizations can apply to Ag Action Manitoba for assistance up to $50,000, within the Organization Development activity stream. This stream supports non-profit organizations in six focus areas:

  • strategic planning
  • business planning
  • communication planning
  • succession planning
  • board governance
  • leadership development initiatives

When an organization applies for Ag Action Manitoba funding, it is required to complete an organization assessment, conducted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development industry leadership staff. The department's staff work with each organization to administer the assessment and provide a written summary of the organization's strengths and opportunities for growth.

 

How Did MBA's Ag Action Manitoba Funding Come About?

In 2019, the Manitoba Beekeeper's Association (MBA) asked the department's rural leadership specialists to help organize a stategic planning session with the association. Together, the department and the association developed a plan for Manitoba's honey bee industry to establish industry priorities and highlight opportunities and challenges the industry was facing.

"The planning process gave MBA an opportunity to redefine our purpose and drive the association forward," said honey producer and MBA Vice Chairperson Ian Steppler.

Steppler said this planning process was needed to gain support from MBA members and find areas where governance could be improved. The process helped the organization focus on industry priorities like the disease inspection program, a diagnostic lab and Tech Transfer program.  It also helped MBA communicate more effectively with the Manitoba government and its support services.

"I'd say we lost our connection with government over the years,"  said Steppler.  "Through this planning process, we could acquire some high-level assistance to develop an industry plan. The plan we put together tapped directly into every level of government to help us work toward our objectives."

Organization Development funding allowed MBA to conduct a feasibility study on developing a tech transfer progam.

MBA directors also believed independant advice was needed, so their membership voted to use a research fund to match Ag Action Manitoba's contribution.  The member survey helped gather perspectives and set the direction for the tech transfer program, which was to be called the Knowledge Research Transfer Program (KRTP) for Manitoba Beekeepers.

"The Ag Action funding allowed us to engage a consultant familiar with Canadian tech transfer teams,"  Steppler said.  "The consultant helped us develop some beekeeper priorities, budget templates, and realistic goals, based on a three-year timeline."

As a result, MBA filed another Ag Action Manitoba application, this time to fund a three-year KRTP.

 

About Ag Action Manitoba

Ag Action Manitoba helps industry organizations develop and implement strategic planning and business management activities for long-term growth.  Eligible industry organizations can apply for assistance related to organizational develpment, industry development, resource development, training, or research and innovation program activities.  For more information, and program terms and conditions:

 

About Manitoba's Honey Bee Industry

Manitoba's honey bee industry consists of over 900 beekeepers and 116,000 colonies.  It is valued at $30 million annually for honey, and an additional $120 million for added value to crops that benefit from honey bee pollination.

There are approximately 225 commercial beekeepers in Manitoba, responsible for producing 95 per cent of the 19 million pounds of honey produced in Manitoba annually. In addition to its commerial beekeeping industry, Mantioba also has a thriving hobby beekeeping sector.  This sector not only brings value to the industry through additional honey production, but also through greater public interest, pollinator advocacy and value-added innovation.