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Farmers encouraged to meet bee keepers

GUELPH, ON (May 1, 2014) – Grain Farmers of Ontario encourages all corn and soybean farmers to take the initiative to connect with their local bee keepers.

A new SmartPhone app, called BeConnected, will be piloted this season as a tool to make communication between farmers and bee keepers easier. This tool allows users to locate grain fields and bee hives within a defined radius of their GPS coordinates and quickly connect with those people.

“Whether to just make introductions, or to inform each other of activities planned on the land, the BeConnected app will be a great tool,” says Henry Van Ankum, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “As we pilot test the app this season, we encourage farmers to start the conversation with local beekeepers the old-fashioned way. Cooperating and sharing information at the local level is especially important this year.”

Improved communications between farmers and bee keepers was one of the 13 recommendations released by the Ontario Bee Health Working Group. Grain Farmers of Ontario has been actively working to address many of the recommendations put forward by the group and would like to remind members that much can, and must, be done on a farmer-by-farmer level.

“Reaching out to your neighbours who have bee hives is a simple thing to do and can garner great information as you prepare for planting,” continues Van Ankum. “Every farmer needs to do their part – from following the label instructions on the fluency agent to letting bee keepers know your intentions – it’s important to put forth extra effort in mitigating the risk to pollinators.”

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Contact:

Barry Senft, CEO - 1-800-265-0550; bsenft@gfo.ca

Henry Van Ankum, Chair - 519-835-4200; henryvanankum@sympatico.ca

Meghan Burke, Communications – 519 767-2773; mburke@gfo.ca

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