Agriculture is the number one industry in Ohio. When you think of agriculture most folks think of soybeans, corn and livestock. You often associate it with having to own large tracts of land which is very expensive. There are many other forms of agriculture that require far less land and infrastructure. One of these is beekeeping. Did you know that beekeeping can be done just about anywhere and does not require owning any land?
Years ago most everyone kept bees for their own supply of honey and they were very easy to manage. Today there are more challenges due to more diseases and pests. Not only is the number of beekeepers less than what it used to be but there are even fewer young people becoming beekeepers. When you look at the barriers to a beginner beekeeper there is the start-up cost and the knowledge. Very few teenagers have $500 they are able to risk in order to get started in beekeeping. Even fewer have access to the wealth of information that comes only from experience with beekeeping.
That is all changing. Adams Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Adams County Farm Bureau (ACFB) and the Adams County Beekeepers Association (ACBA) have partnered together to offer a Beginner Youth Beekeeper Scholarship. 2015 was the first year for this program. Two students, Aden Newman and Jace White completed the program last year and finished the year by giving an oral presentation at the ACBA meeting in the fall. It was quite obvious that both young men learned a lot from the program and are now seasoned beekeepers.
Due to that success, we have once again offered that opportunity and have selected three young people to participate. LaRanda Piatt of Seaman, Joshua Burns of Winchester and Chase Thompson of West Union are all receiving the equipment necessary to begin beekeeping provided by ACFB, as well as expert guidance by their assigned ACBA mentor. The success of this program relies heavily on the dedication of the mentors who have agreed to assist the students. Those mentors are: Terry Robinson of Winchester, Buck Williams of West Union and Andrew Frowine of Peebles. We would like to thank the ACFB for providing the necessary funding to introduce these young people into the world of beekeeping.
If you are a beekeeper or are interested in becoming a beekeeper, the ACBA would like to invite you to attend the monthly meetings which take place on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m., from February through October, at the Bible Baptist Church, 9898 SR 41 in West Union. The meeting is held in the modular building behind the church and everyone is welcome. For more information, call 937-544-8920, Shirley Hartman, or 937-544-8861, Kenny Moles.
Bill Wickerham, the Apiary Inspector with Adams SWCD would also like to remind everyone to be sure to register their apiary as required by law (ORC 909.02) with Ohio Department of Agriculture. Applications may be found at: www.agri.ohio.gov/ or you may stop by the Adams SWCD office at 807 NE Main Street in West Union to pick up an application. The cost is only $5 per apiary location. The purpose of the apiary program is to help to ensure a healthy beekeeping industry.