For anyone reading this, please excuse this little rant Iím about to make. OUR environment is changing. Iím not referring to ďclimate changeĒ as everyone is so focused on and wasting time and money on. Iím referring to our natural area and environment we currently live in. Things are changing, our environment is in a transformation where every aspect of it through out the growing season is being manipulated to the point where everything natural about it is being lost. Itís the clearing of arable land, and the clearing of non arable land, clearing and drainage of swamps and leveling out of ravines to allow machinery to travel over. Massive water drainage projects where we
run off the surface water as fast as we can, drain the sub surface water year round into ditches and pump deep water reserves to irrigate our crops. Itís the blanket use of insecticides not once but up to five times a season to protect the crop from pests, the use of fungicides to everything that is growing and the use of highly efficient herbicides leaving nothing else growing within the fields but the crop its self. Itís this expansion of our fields and intensively managed mono culture that is in a way creating a living desert in areas which should flourish with life and diversity. We are/have set up an ecosystem that is so fragile that anything natural within it is always on the brink of survival. And when we experience harsh weather as we did this last spring nobody notices the actual devastating effect it had on the living environment around them.
We are managing honeybees to take the place of natural pollinators to pollinate our cropping requirements. Here in again we bring in a manageable solution to solve our manged problems. But things are getting so far out of hand that we infact are even having trouble managing our managed pollinators. Why??? Because everything we do as beekeepers is directly influenced by the environment around us. That environment around us is being destroyed, and because of that my bees are struggling. If we donít change the way we perceive and respect the natural environment, our managed environment will collapse and with that all of us around it. This focus on climate change has blinded the public to the actual environmental threats at home, tangible actions that we could be focusing our attention on which would actually go a long way in preserving our lands and creating a sustainable working environment for all of us to live in.
We manage land, lots of land, I appreciate everything that is done to make a living off the land and the hardships that are involved in managing the land. I understand the reason why we use production practices to improve our bottom dollar and understand the reason why we must realize short sightedness sometimes is the only managing stratagy which allows us to keep in business. BUT we also appreciate our natural environment and try our best to preserve the land in a sustainable fashion. On our farm we have 500 acres left as natural raven, not pastured or pushed, leveled, drained and cropped! On our farm we have ten quarters of muskeg wet land bush, managed as pasture but grazed in a fashion which does not destroy its wet land ecosystem. On our farm we manage 3000 acres of crop land, on land which will carry equipment and anything else is hayed. We zero till or minimal till the land to protect the soil structure and everything living in it. Wet land ďpot holesĒ are left as they are, hill side springs and field runs are hayed to eliminate erosion and low lands are left as grass, using the available water resource and cut later in the year as hay.
There has to be a place for agriculture on the lands or we will all starve, but agriculture has to manage itself in a diverse fashion using the lands as it presents itself to allow all living things to flourish. I feel very fortunate as a beekeeper to be able to shelter my operation around our farm, as it reinforces diversity and provides that for my bees to live on. EVERYWHERE else on the countryside I am seeing a complete wipe down of anything natural.