As the new crop season gets under way, several farm organizations, led by the influential Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, have joined with the Mississippi Beekeepers Association in the development of a stewardship program to protect honeybees.

The effort will include an intensive distribution of brochures containing guidelines for the program.

“The Mississippi Honeybee Stewardship Program is the result of a series of collective discussions among stakeholders to find ways of fostering a better working dialogue among the state’s row crop farmers and beekeepers, all in the spirit of coexistence and cooperation,” says Randy Knight, MFBF president. 

“These deliberations led to a set of standards or general operating suggestions targeting the state’s beekeepers, farmers, and other pesticide applicators.”

The Farm Bureau and other cooperating organizations will begin distributing brochures containing “a basic guideline for cooperative standards that should exist between row crop farmers and beekeepers when bees are located in or near row crop production areas.”

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While it isn’t intended to account for all aspects of the relationship between farmers and beekeepers, Knight says, it will serve for a broad distribution of the program’s basic concepts.

Partner organizations, in addition to Farm Bureau and the beekeeper association, are Mississippi Agricultural Aviation Association, Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association, Mississippi Agricultural Industry Council, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, and Mississippi State University Extension Service.