Funding from the Federal Farm Bill Will Help Bee Keepers

Discussion in 'Bee News' started by Americasbeekeeper, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Funding from the Federal Farm Bill Will Help Bee Keepers
    Posted: Apr 06, 2014 11:27 PM EDT<em class="wnDate">Sunday, April 6, 2014 11:27 PM EDT</em>Updated: Apr 20, 2014 11:27 PM EDT<em class="wnDate">Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:27 PM EDT</em>
    By Casey Liening - email

    2013 has stung the multi-billion dollar agricultural industry in the State of Florida. It's affect on the honey bee industry has put a sour taste in the mouths of area farmers. A part of the farm bill is meant to protect agriculture from pests and diseases that are hurting the industry. The funding will be used for research and development to protect Florida's citrus, avocado production, and survey's to find out exactly what is causing a population decline in honey bees.
    "I had 28 hives, I fully expected to have about 40 by the end of the year. In January this year, I had two hives left. The rest of them were gone", said Lynn Haven Bee Keeper Johnnie Bershearse. "This time of year I would normally hope to have plenty of honey to sell. I don't even have honey in my house to eat right now because I lost so many bee's and I don't have enough to produce it right now," added Bershearse.
    One farmer who had bees in the 80's decided to get back into the honey bizz recently but says bee keeping has changed since then. Ken Lubinski said, "I never had to give them any medication or do anything, the bee's just took care of themselves. They were strong, good hives. And then things were introduced into the bees...the beetles and the moths, wax moths, and things like that and now they have to give them medication and watch them close and treat them." Bershearse added, "years ago, people could get bee's and put them out and keep them and pretty much harvest honey."
    The farmers market at Captain Anderson's is normally buzzing with bee farmers selling honey, but Sunday you could only find one honey vendor, and it wasn't Bershearse. "Normally, by this year I would have marketable honey, I don't have it this year because I lost over ninety percent of my bees last year so I just don't have any honey", said Bershearse.
    The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is hoping to change that with a $5 million portion of the federal farm bill specifically meant for targetting pests and diseases that affect agriculture. Bershearse says performing studies is one way to spend the money. "Studies are great but it only goes so far. They can also help the local bee keepers to better apply it, they can train them."
    Bee keeping is a hobby for most, and a risk not many are willing to take. Lubinski said, "it's fun, they're fun to watch. They fly out and bring the pollen back in and you could sit there for hours and just watch". And Bersherse added, "bee keeping is an agricultural pursuit and you have good years and you have bad years and last year was a bad year for bees."
    Bershearse adds any money spent on the bees will also transfer and help the native pollinators, like bumble bees.