Letters to the editor – November 28, 2019

Alberta beekeepers suffer major losses

Re: “Almost half of Alberta’s sugar beet crop is lost,” (WP, Nov. 14).

The Alberta Beekeepers Commission read with great concern that half the Alberta sugar beet crop is lost. 

Alberta beekeepers buy eight percent of Alberta’s sugar beet crop to keep our bees alive over our harsh winters. Our Alberta bees contribute more than $67 million to the Alberta economy and are relied on for pollination by the $25 billion hybrid seed canola sector. 

We were also very concerned to learn from Team Alberta the serious reports of the “harvest from hell” where some areas have 40 percent crops unharvested.  

Beekeepers and our bees are struggling, too.  Even before this year’s absolutely devastating losses, Alberta beekeepers took a loss of $20 million due to two consecutive bad winters. This year, a cold wet spring and summer resulted in 67 percent of our beekeepers suffering crop losses of 50 percent or greater.

As you can see, our bees are in crisis.

We have been encouraged to see ongoing open outreach by the Jason Kenney Alberta government. And we appreciate Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen’s recent comments acknowledging Albertans’ difficult year in agriculture. 

We are looking to work together with Alberta and the federal government to find a solution to help our beekeepers and our Alberta bees so we can keep producing Alberta honey and pollinate farmers’ crops.

Connie Phillips,
Executive Director

Alberta Beekeepers Commission

Edmonton

Drainage causing serious problems

Re: “Saskatchewan MLA keeps door open for more drainage,” (WP, Nov. 21).

Former Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart should be ashamed of himself and for all the previous MLAs who condoned water ditching (drainage).

These politicians, over the years, have set up laws of all sorts in this province on water drainage and are promoting laws regarding water removal.

The year 2010 was excessively wet. A quarter of land had no water ditched off it, nor on to it. That year we lost three acres.

Another quarter one mile away lost just over 100 acres due to flooding that year. That quarter, due to its location to a lake, has no water ditched off it. However, there is water ditched from as far away as 20 miles on to it. One quarter in those 20 miles has a water-removal permit issued by the provincial government. All other ditches were constructed without permit.

What right does anyone have to remove their unwanted water and destroy other farmers’ right to use their property for their family benefit?

Flooding our land, reducing the natural flow of a creek, together has been the direct cause of me suffering a stroke. I have heard of other farmers suffering strokes, heart attacks and other health issues due to their loss from illegal water ditching, destroying their land and livelihood.

This water ditching has also had detrimental effects on all sorts of wildlife and nature. The Americans learned years ago that drainage was not an excellent idea. That is why they are now closing drainage channels and holding water back.

We are destined to follow the very same direction.

Delwyn J.J. Jansen

Humboldt, Sask.

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