WSBA Board Meeting minutes – June 29, 2014

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Rodeo City BBQ

For those who missed the excellent board meeting complete with delicious food from Rodeo BBQ here are the meeting minutes.


Washington State Beekeepers’ Association

Executive Board Meeting

June 29, 2014

Meeting called to order at 12:25 p.m. by Mark Emrich.

Opening remarks:

Nonprofit Issues Affecting WSBA & Local Associations:  Mark Emrich and Brian Johnson have attended Washington Secretary of State seminars for nonprofits.  Many local associations are not registered nonprofits and are thus functioning outside the law.  Also, association bylaws must meet legal requirements:  for example, associations with mentor programs need bylaws that address sexual harassment, particularly if their programs include people under 18. An association must also designate a nonprofit to receive funds in the event of the association’s dissolution.  Liability is a concern: for programs held under the name of an association, board members and in some situations the association as a whole may be liable.  Mark wants to offer preprinted bylaws amendments that board members can take to their membership.  He is planning a July cyber-meeting with local association presidents, treasurers, and secretaries to share key points.

State Pesticide Applicators’ Association:  3 major pesticide corporations marketing online in Washington are selling products with much higher concentrations than what can legally be sold in-state.  Mark has met twice with WSDA representatives, who see the problem and are working to “close the hole.”  Bob Coombs noted the value of getting beekeepers on pesticide control boards; Mark pointed out that candidates are nominated by health department (he is on both the weed abatement and pesticide board for Thurston County).

Education and outreach:  Mark reported that much of his work as WSBA president involves educating public representatives.  He gave four one-hour lectures for Commissioner Romero’s staff re: bee-friendly ways to remove noxious weeds and spoke to the Nisqually Tribal Council, which is looking into placing pollinator-friendly plants, ceasing use of defoliants and pesticides, and implementing more natural weed abatement on the substantial acreage under its control.  Overall, people seem increasingly aware of threats to bees and want to help.

1. Secretary’s Report – approval of published minutes:  Franclyn Heinecke moved that minutes be approved as published in the newsletter; Bob Combs seconded; all approved, passed.  Mark noted that Susanne Weil was excused from the February 22 board meeting.

2. Treasurer’s Report – approval of report:  Brian Johnson distributed a balance sheet, funds received/distributed handout, and list of local associations that have paid 2014 dues.  He plans to draft policies clarifying how funds are disbursed and expenses reimbursed.  He noted that local associations need to have independent bank accounts, rather than run association finances through personal accounts.  Louis Matej asked where the payment of apprentice course books is being logged: Brian will check on this with Jim Tunnell.  Susanne Weil moved that Brian’s report be approved; Franclyn Heinecke seconded; all approved, passed.

3. Membership Report:  tabled in the absence of representatives from the membership committee.

4. Area Reports:

Area 1B:  Bob Combs visited West Sound Beekeepers, where he presented re: foundationless beekeeping, and noted their good facility.  Forage is a concern as a long, hard August is anticipated on the west side.

Area 2:  Franclyn Heinecke visited Lewis County Beekeepers’ May meeting, when the local Noxious Weed Control director presented, as well as the June meeting, where Charles Bennett presented re: queen rearing; in August she will speak at LCBA re: weeds as key medicinal forage for honey bees.  Franclyn commended LCBA as a vigorous, growing group with many initiatives, including an active mentorship and workshop program and pilot youth scholarship program.

Area 6:  Bob Arnold spoke at meetings in both Spokane and Stevens Counties re: issues with weed boards.  Vetch produces good honey and forage, and, as a legume, fixes nitrogen in soil and provides good food for wildlife. Knapweed, on the other hand, eliminates good forage plants.  Some control is needed, but not all biological controls work.  Montana, which also faces serious knapweed problems, has been more effective using biological control.  Bob also noted that the city of Spokane will no longer use neonicotinoid pesticides on public property, though they are still available for private use.  Spokane has very active apprentice beekeeping program with over 120 this past year.

5. WSU Report:  Tabled in the absence of representatives.

6. Master Beekeepers Certification Committee:  Bob Combs reported that 2014 is already a banner year with 500+ apprentice certifications to date; there were 700+ certifications in 2013.  The committee will track who is teaching and who is grading tests to facilitate record keeping.  Also, they will move to an invoicing system for apprentice and journeyman books rather than “pay as you go.”  WSBA will not try to regulate what groups charge for the courses, recognizing that some associations offer additional services besides WSBA’s specific curriculum and that some must pay for a venue or even for instructors. Bob noted that local associations should be able to explain how their course tuition breaks down.

Youth programs:  could a program more age-appropriate than the apprentice course could be made available for children? Are local associations are active in schools?  Honey bee education is important for growing responsible, educated landowners.  Associations can work with FFA, 4H, and Girl Scouts (which still has a bee badge).  Steve Foley reported that his association drew on 4H for a program introducing children to why bees are important.  Shannon Boling noted that 4H demands extra training re: sexual harassment; she also reported that Dadant and Mann Lake donate gear for children’s programs.  It was agreed that though no one wants to institute a new level of certification, a Washington State Beekeepers children’s program with a certificate of completion could be beneficial.  Fran Bach pointed out that the WAS conference in September will feature a speaker on a national program re: bees and youth; WSBA should talk to her before moving forward with new programs.  It was agreed that this will be explored and brought back for discussion at the October meeting.

7. WSBA Honey Queen Report:  Louis Matej reported for Kris Urv-Wong, who was not present. The Pierce County Honey Princess is moving on to college; Kris Urv-Wong has a possible new princess in the wings for 2015.  WSBA should encourage local associations to participate in this program and needs to institute the statewide honey queen program.

8. Legislative report:  Franclyn Heinecke reported on the honey bee legislative working group (membership:  Tim Hiatt for commercial and Franclyn for hobbyist beekeepers; for the state as a whole, Eric Olson and Paul Hosticka; for WSU, Brandon Hopkins and several extension agents; three representatives from the Department of Agriculture).  Their report is due to the legislature in December.  The impetus was concern that more Washington state beekeepers are needed to pollinate Washington state crops.  The working group’s position is that healthy bees are needed to support increased pollination, so health and habitat issues such as forage, as well as infrastructure issues like designating beekeepers as farmers, have been their focus.  A honey bee advocacy position may be created, probably funded via WSU-Extension. The state Noxious Weed Board has a new, pollinator-friendly weed removal brochure and is seeking funding to get more pollinator plants.  Others advocate less plant removal.    It is also important to get beekeepers on each weed board.

Old Business:

1. Board policies (job descriptions):  Mark will send these for review.

2. President’s and Education meetings:  Mark will hold cyber-meetings with presidents, treasurers, secretaries of local associations.

3. Meeting venues:  In the absence of a conference, WSBA could hold meetings around the state and encourage areas to hold an annual group meeting.  Mark is looking into possible venues in Renton for an October 25-26, 2014 WSBA meeting; elections and the board meeting will be on the 25th.  This meeting may have a morning session for educators.

4. Position vacancies:  Charles Bennett reported to Mark that he is visiting groups to identify nominees for WSBA board and area representatives: all positions are up for renewal in October.  Vacancies, mainly committee chairs, need to be filled.  For the Ways & Means Committee, a chair should have grant writing experience.

New Business:

  1. Possible 2015 Area 2 regional beekeeping event:  Susanne Weil reported that Lewis County Beekeepers’ board invited Charles Bennett and Franclyn Heinecke to their June meeting to discuss holding a spring 2015 Area 2 event along the lines of WSU Field Days.  Franclyn Heinecke noted that Pierce County wants to participate. WSBA can offer limited support for regional gatherings.  Bob Combs suggested making this a pilot program.  Mark and Brian will discuss figures.  An Area 2 presidents’ meeting will be held to develop a funding request.
  1. Insurance for WSBA and associate organizations:   Mark reported that NPIP is a nonprofit insurance provider that only insures in Washington. NPIP would cover WSBA and local associations for $3500/year.  WSBA and local associations need to “protect what you’ve been given,” yet few associations have insurance coverage for outreach events or board member liability.  WSBA would pay NPIP’s fee by raising dues: this would cover liability for both WSBA board members and for local associations/boards, provided that associations are (a) nonprofits (either state or federal) and (b) in good standing, having paid WSBA dues by January of the program’s first year.  NPIP has a six month window for associations to establish Washington nonprofit status; they would be insured during that window.

What would be covered:  Instructors and mentors would be covered in the event of sexual harassment or other liability charges.  Associations would be covered if someone is stung at a club apiary, injured at an event, etc.  Swarm and colony removers might be protected if an association offers that service.  Alcohol would not be covered: associations could buy extra insurance on a one-time basis for special events, dealing directly with insurance carrier.  NPIP’s insurance also helps cover legal fees from the start of a lawsuit, not after a claim is settled. 

Cost of insurance:  NPIP coverage would be funded by increasing WSBA dues, which have not been raised in 30 years.  Associations would pay based on number of members, so larger associations would not pay disproportionately and smaller associations would not be priced out.  Mark will send further details to the board.  Ideally, this insurance would be available by February 2015.


  1. Other new business:


Bob Arnold reported that he found’s inspection program helpful.  They inspect ten hives per yard and report on diseases and parasites; they charge $1500 for four inspections/year.


Fran Bach encouraged members to look into, an association which works in several US states and in Saskatchewan, Canada, to keep all parties – beekeepers, crop farmers and pesticide applicators – aware of each other’s needs and intents as regards pest controls, so applicators can plan accordingly or, if necessary, discuss best options with the beekeeper or farmer concerned.  Driftwatch makes it harder for pesticide applicators to claim they did not know that bees were present.

Meeting adjourned at 2:45 p.m.: moved by Franclyn Heinecke, seconded by Susanne Weil, all in favor, passed.

Respectfully submitted,

Susanne Weil, WSBA Secretary

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