Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato have joined a growing chorus of opposition to proposed rules by the Department of Agriculture that would “cripple New Jersey’s beekeeping industry,” rather than protecting and encouraging it as specified in a legislative package enacted in 2015.
In doing so, the second district lawmakers sent a letter, as part of the public comment period for draft regulations, to the Director of the Department of Agriculture’s Division of Plant Industry on Thursday officially stating their opposition to the department’s Draft Beekeeping Regulations due to the fact that they are not consistent with the legislative intent of the laws passed in 2015.
“The intention of this legislation was to make it clear that we understand and value the contributions of the beekeeping industry and the ways in which it contributes to the economic vitality of farms and farm stands all across our state,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “New Jersey’s agricultural industry amounts to over $1 billion a year and the beekeeping industry is essential to that.”
“Honey, alone, generates at least half of a million dollars in sales annually throughout our state, not to mention the additional income and ancillary benefits that apiary services and products add to our economy,” said Armato (D-Atlantic). “It’s crucial that state government establish rules that work for, and not against, our more than 3,000 beekeepers so that we can safeguard the honey bee and its valuable contribution to pollination and our agricultural economy as a whole.”
The lawmakers urged the department to withdraw its proposed regulations or, at a minimum, consider the proposed changes being put forth by the New Jersey Beekeeping Association and the New Jersey Farm Bureau for potential amendments.
A full copy of their letter can be viewed here.