FARFA’s Response to the TBA Board Letter

February 5, 2018

Dear TBA Board:

I was forwarded Mr. Moore’s email of February 1 regarding FARFA’s survey.  While it was appropriate for TBA to clear up any confusion about its lack of connection to the survey, the email unfortunately included multiple statements that do not properly represent FARFA and our work on beekeeping issues.

FARFA has members who are beekeepers; in addition, all of our members have a significant interest in what happens with bees in our state.  Recognizing that there are many stakeholders, FARFA has repeatedly tried to work cooperatively with TBA on legislation to address the problems in Chapter 131.

To briefly review our most recent communications:

1)  On November 16, I emailed Tanya Phillips, the TBA Board member designated as chair of the committee to work on changes to Chapter 131, and suggested that we discuss how to coordinate.  There was no response.

2)  On December 15, I emailed Ms. Phillips again, inviting her to attend a meeting that FARFA was organizing to discuss beekeeping regulations.  We exchanged several emails, and she told me that she had forwarded the invitation to the entire TBA Board.

3)  On January 6, FARFA hosted the meeting.  Beekeepers having a wide range of the number of hives and professional interests attended.  Unfortunately, no member of TBA’s Board chose to attend despite the invitation.

4)  On January 17, I provided Ms. Phillips with a brief summary of the key points that had been discussed at the meeting, and informed her of FARFA’s plan to do a survey in order to get feedback from as many beekeepers as possible.  I stated that FARFA would be happy to share the results of the survey with TBA.

5)  The next day, I proposed that FARFA and TBA collaborate on the survey and offered to delay FARFA’s planned survey in order to provide time for changes to be agreed upon.  Ms. Phillips indicated that she was interested, so I sent a draft of the survey and reiterated FARFA’s willingness to share the results whether it was joint or not.

6) I waited for over a week, delaying our planned launch of the survey in order to provide TBA time to consider.  But I heard nothing further from TBA.  At that point, FARFA proceeded with our survey.

While Mr. Moore’s email didn’t mention the multiple attempts FARFA has made to collaborate with TBA, it did contain statements implying that FARFA’s survey contained inappropriate questions and is for some improper purpose.  If TBA had concerns about any of the questions in our survey, why did no one from your Board contact us in response to the draft we provided?

More fundamentally, our purpose is clearly stated: to develop a bill that improves Chapter 131.   Our goal is, and has always been, for it to be a joint proposal from all stakeholders.

Mr. Moore’s email stated that “we need to work together,” a sentiment that FARFA certainly shares. To put that sentiment into practice, the following questions need to be addressed:

  • What is TBA’s intended process for developing a bill?
  • Who gets to decide who has input?
  • How will such input be gathered?  When?
  • How will disagreements on proposed solutions be discussed and resolved?

I look forward to discussing how we can productively move forward.

Judith McGeary
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance