Current Saskatchewan Beekeepers Development Commission
The current Saskatchewan Beekeepers Development Commission emerged from the joining of the SBA (Saskatchewan Beekeepers Association), founded in 1923 and the former SBDC (Saskatchewan Beekeepers Development Commission) formed April 1, 2006. With the formation of one Board in 2017, the end goal was to present one strong unified voice in the promotion of the Beekeeping Industry in Saskatchewan.
The Board of the SBDC is dedicated to promoting the beekeeping industry and honeybee health with integrity and leadership. It is a legally constituted authority, responsible to its members and to government for the prudent oversight of the beekeeping industry in Saskatchewan. The Board is responsible for the long term planning and the articulation of the organization’s mission.
“To become leaders and Innovators in the Beekeeping Industry in Canada”
To achieve excellence in the areas of bee health, productivity, and sustainability for all beekeepers in the province of Saskatchewan through education, communication, advocacy, and research
History of SBA
The migration of honeybees into Saskatchewan coincides with the coming of the first settlers from eastern Canada and the United States. The first records of honeybees in the province date back to 1900. By 1922, there were about 85 beekeepers who produced 24,000 pounds of honey. Most of these beekeepers were located in the southern and eastern parts of the province. Interest in producing honey was aroused at this time by a growing demand as well as by increasing prices for honey, due in part, by shortages and high prices of sugar which occurred during and immediately after World War 1.
The Saskatchewan Beekeepers Association was organized in 1923 with John Hubbard of Grenfell as the first president and Thomas Mack of Lumsden as the first vice-president. Hubbard held the first organized beekeeper meeting in 1920 at his apiary in Grenfell, assisted by Robert Hamilton of Aylsham. Organized research and extension work in beekeeping had its beginning at the University of Saskatchewan in 1923 under the direction of Dr. C.F. Patterson, head of the Horticulture Department.
The first pamphlets on beekeeping in Saskatchewan were “Possibilities of Beekeeping in Saskatchewan” by J. Hubbard, published by the King’s Printer, Regina, in 1922 and “Beekeeping, A New Industry for Saskatchewan” by C.F. Patterson, published by the Univ. of Sask. In 1924. The first bulletin “Beekeeping in Saskatchewan” by R.M. Pugh was published in 1929. The first short course was a five-day course held at the University of Saskatchewan in February, 1926, while the first regular course in beekeeping offered at the University of Saskatchewan was given during the academic year 1926-27, and is still offered each year.
The Apiaries Act which now governs the beekeeping industry in the province was enacted in 1924. The first office to look after beekeeping was set up in the Field Crops Branch with Mr A.I. Smith, a Regina beekeeper, in charge of the work. The first Provincial Apiarist, Mr. R.M. Pugh, took office in 1927 and continued in that capacity until 1948.
World War ll caused a further expansion of beekeeping because of sugar rationing. By 1947 there were over 10,000 registered beekeepers in Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Honey Producers Co-operative Association was organized in 1939 with its first packing plant at Yorkton. For a time, the Apiary Branch of the Department of Agriculture and the offices of the Beekeepers Association and Honey Producers Co-operative were located at Fort Qu’Appelle.At this time, the Association was credited as having the largest membership of any beekeeping organization in the world. The president, from 1940 to 1951 was Mr. P.C. Colquohoun, beekeeper, rancher and farmer from Maple Creek.
The Beekeepers Association and the Honey Producers Co-operative became separate entities in the 1950s and the Co-operative amalgamated with the Manitoba Honey Producers Co-operative in the 1970s.
The SBA became a Non-Profit Organization in 1962.
History of SBDC
The Saskatchewan Beekeepers Development Commission was established April 1, 2006. SBDC as they were know then, role was to administer the Beekeepers Development Plan for the purpose of developing the bee industry in Saskatchewan.
The Board worked cohesively with the provincial government to develop a plan that would move the bee industry forward in both the domestic and international market place to achieve maximum returns back to the registered beekeepers. This plan later would be known as “The Beekeepers Development Plan Regulations – March 15, 2006” and would be updated to form the regulations we now operate under.
Part of the plan was to establish a system of collecting check-off fees on production hives to generate revenue to expand awareness and demand for Saskatchewan bees and bee products.
The other major component of the plan was to conduct research and create developmental programs related to production, bees and bee products.
Today the Board still operates under a plan similar to the plan that was developed in 2006.