Think back a month or so, if you will, to your time spent pulling honey and treating hives in temperatures approaching 100 degrees. Wasn’t that fun? As I write this, I am still in the thick of it with three yards to go. Tomorrow the forecast is for 100 degrees. For me, pulling honey is clearly the hardest work of the year. Just like all of those involved in agriculture across the many agricultural sectors that we have in Oregon, harvest season is hard work.
I have a great deal of respect for farmers and growers for the incredible hard work and dedication that they invest in their operations.
Do you feel that we receive respect and consideration commensurate for our hard work with bees? I’m not talking about getting paid. Do you feel appreciated for your work as a beekeeper?
Every since the CCD scare made headlines in 2006, public awareness related to pollinator protection has dramatically increased. Have the struggles and challenges of beekeepers received similar coverage? Proportionally, I would say no.
Here is a cold, sobering statement: At this point in world history, honey bees cannot survive without the regular intervention of a competent beekeeper. The ever-increasing level of pest and disease pressure in honey bee hives requires serious, skillful mitigation in order to avoid certain death. Who has the knowledge, experience, and drive to take on the responsibility for our nation’s honey bees, and the success of pollinated crops? Answer: That would be you and me!
There has never been a time when “telling your story” is more important. Following a great message from the Oregon Farm Bureau, we must make every effort to tell our story or someone else will. And we may not care for their version.
Long gone are the days of the “hat in hand” beekeeper trying to scratch a living from the red clay earth. Fortunately, the absolute necessity of quality pollination services is clearly understood in agriculture these days.
If you do not care for your treatment in a pollination contract, even after thoughtful discussion, parting ways can be the best decision. I have dropped several “great” contracts and never regretted it—not once. Go with the growers who work with you and respect your very hard work.
Please, before all else, appreciate yourself for what you do for society. Give yourself some slack when things don’t go just perfect. Next year will be better. Your fellow OSBA brothers and sisters understand and appreciate your life’s work. We appreciate you and your crew!
Thank you for working your fingers to the bone, loving and caring for honey bees, looking out for beekeeping and our industry. Please get your story out when you can.