This message is addressed to all Massachusetts beekeepers. Because of the difficulties we have had over the last two years getting the bee inspection program funded, and because of the need for a comprehensive, state wide program, the board of the Worcester County Beekeepers Association is offering an email forwarding system to all who keep bees in Massachusetts.
This system will ensure that
1) Requests for inspections will immediately be delivered to the people who make the inspections happen
2) Our elected officials will have access to accurate records regarding the number of their consituents that are requesting inspections
3) There is a record of inspection requests available to all concerned parties
Privacy is our paramount concern, and no use of emails or email addresses will be made other than to complie statistics. Email addresses will not be harvested or used in any way, at any time, for any reason.
The Worcester County Beekeepers Association invites all beekeepers in Massachusetts to use these email addresses to request inspections from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.
Your request should include the following:
• The county you are in
• The address where the bees are located
• Why you are requesting an inspection (please do not request an inspection to have someone help you find your queen…the inspection program always serves to educate, but its only fundable role is in disease identification and prevention throughout the state).
• Your contact information
Over the past year there have been a number of beekeeping related issues involving the department: lack of funding of bee inspectors, the failure of the department to apply funding specifically allocated for seasonal bee inspectors _to_ bee inspectors, and general communication failures. The net result is that we had no seasonal inspection program last year, and no assurance that we will have one this year or next.
Last year beekeepers were requested to contact Nate L'Etoile for inspections. His voicemail was inoperable (he could not retrieve messages), and his email address listed on the state website was invalid. Hundreds of inspection requests were “lost”, with no documentation anywhere that they were ever made. As far as elected officials are concerned, the requests recorded on Nate’s voicemail for inspections were never made.
Based on our experiences with our elected officials and the department, we feel the best way to improve things on our (beekeeper) end is to make sure requests for inspections get delivered to the people that can make the inspections happen, and to make sure that our elected officials have access to accurate numbers regarding the number of their constituents that are requesting inspections.
This email system will ensure that requests are documented and accessible to the beekeepers, the department and our elected officials.
We have purposefully not set up a point-and-click request form as individually written emails carry more weight with the MDAR and with legislators.
Keeping track of requests in this way will benefit everyone who keeps bees in Massachusetts and anyone who wishes to support them.
We are very much looking forward to working with Greg Watson, the new MDAR Commissioner. Commissioner Watson was a friend to beekeepers and all of Massachusetts agriculture when he held the position from 1990 to 1993.