ALBANY — During the last week of the legislative session, the State Assembly and Senate unanimously passed legislation (A7568/S7111) to support the health of honeybees and protect pollinators from disease, which was sponsored by Agriculture Chairs, Assemblymember Donna Lupardo and Senator Michelle Hinchey.
This legislation, which was introduced at the request of NYS Ag & Markets to strengthen the state’s current Pollinator Protection plan, would modernize state law to reflect modern bee husbandry and create a Cooperative Honeybee Health Improvement Program. The program would include the registration of apiaries at no cost to beekeepers, and provides for annual inspections with prior notice. By requiring the registration of apiaries, NYS Ag & Markets can better stop the spread of disease and other dangers between colonies. Lastly, this legislation will add additional honeybee products to those that qualify a farm for the Agricultural Value Assessment and farm building tax exemptions.
Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, Chair, Assembly Agriculture Committee said, “Honeybees play a vital role in agriculture and help ensure food security within our communities. This legislation will bolster research capabilities, oversight, and increase collaboration to ensure our pollinators are better protected. I am glad that both houses of the legislature unanimously supported our efforts to protect our honeybees.”
Senator Michelle Hinchey, Chair, Senate Agriculture Committee said, , “Our bee populations are dwindling, and now more than ever, we need to recognize the vital importance of protecting this keystone species whose health is directly tied to the health of New York’s environment, food supply, and economy. Bees play a particularly big role in agriculture, supporting everything from the crop yields on our orchards to the quality of the nutrient-rich vegetables we eat. I’m proud that both houses of the state legislature voted unanimously in support of this legislation to safeguard our pollinators.”
Daniel Winter, Empire State Honey Producers Association said, “The Empire State Honey Producers Association is pleased that Assemblymember Donna Lupardo and Senator Michelle Hinchey introduced bill A7568 into the legislature. It is an important measure to ensure managed pollinator health in New York State. It is of great benefit to beekeepers for prevention of disease as well as updating existing laws and helping the Apiary industry propel into the future. Thank you very much for your time and effort supporting the needs of NY Beekeepers.”
David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau said, “Pollinators are critical to success of crop production, and the new pollinator protection bill spearheaded by Assemblymember Donna Lupardo and Senator Michelle Hinchey will assist in keeping bees healthy in our state. The registry and data collection will improve the ability of the state to monitor some of the health challenges for honeybees, including infectious diseases and parasites. This bill is a natural extension of the nation leading effort New York has taken with its Pollinator Protection Plan, and New York Farm Bureau thanks the Agriculture Chairs for their support.”
Cynthia Haskins, New York Apple Association said, “The risk from bee disease to beekeepers and the agricultural community who rely on pollination services is real. We appreciate that this bill includes an industry advisory committee made up of those in the industry who brings wisdom and experience. Bees are essential to the agricultural industry, especially for apple growers.”
–The Offices of Assemblymember Donna Lupardo
and Senator Michelle Hinchey
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