In 2018 the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) began cooperating on an Apiary Pre-Inspection Pilot Program with the intent of easing stress on bees and beekeepers trying to enter the state of California. Instead of bee colonies being inspected as they entered California and running the risk of delays or denial of entry, California inspectors spent one week in North Dakota with NDDA staff pre-inspecting colonies before they left the state, ensuring quick and easy entry into California for certified colonies. In 2019 we worked on fine tuning the program, with CDFA inspectors again coming to North Dakota to make sure the updated rules worked, as well as working on training NDDA staff to begin doing the inspections.
The program is taking a very big step forward in 2020. Inspectors from California will no longer be coming to North Dakota for inspections. Instead, NDDA will be conducting all the inspections on our own. In addition, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) is continuing the process of implementing a similar program for bees originating in Idaho as well as bees that travel to Idaho for winter storage. The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is also hoping to begin a similar program within their state. That being said, there are some significant updates with the North Dakota program:
With NDDA doing all the inspections we are no longer tied to specific windows to do the inspections. This means we can work with each beekeeper’s shipping schedule in an attempt to include every single beekeeper that would like to participate.
We will still only be able to certify colonies that are present at the time of inspection, but the new flexibility makes it easier to do more than one inspection. If you stockpile or ship in phases, we can work with you to inspect as many colonies as possible.
We would like to try to develop a process to work with beekeepers that only stockpile one truckload at a time. It will be difficult to certify every colony this way, but we want to include as many as we can.
Participating Beekeepers shipping directly to California who wish to be inspected in North Dakota should review the Pre-Inspection Protocols and the Pre-Inspection Compliance Agreement. If you are able to abide by the guidelines set forth in these documents, please contact the NDDA to let us know that you would like to participate. The information needed up front is your name, phone number, email address, the counties in California that you plan to visit, the entry station you plan on using, and the dates you expect to stockpile.
If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact one of the contacts below at least two weeks before you would like your inspection:
If you ship your bees to Idaho and would like to be inspected while they are in storage, please contact:
Section Manager, Feed and Plant Services
Idaho State Department of Agriculture Division of Plant Industries
If you stockpile in Montana and would like more information on their 2020 plans, please contact:
Montana Department of Agriculture