Beekeeper Associations are typically terrific resources for beekeepers. If you’re thinking of getting into beekeeping, it’s worthwhile to investigate joining an association nearby.
Of course, some beekeeping groups are stronger and more supportive than others. If there are a number of different associations around to choose from, you may want to visit several to find out what support they offer before joining.
Beekeeper Association Benefits:
1) Fair Booth
One benefit that our association offers is a booth at the county fair each year for honey sales. Each beekeeper can bring as much honey or honey related product to the booth to sell as they’d like – as long as they also enter that product into the fair for judging. You also have to work in the booth a minimum amount of time if you’re selling products. All the honey is priced the same by weight, and the beekeeping association keeps 20% of the sales.
The fair booth is a win-win situation. You get the opportunity to sell honey to lots of people, the public gets the chance to sample honey from many farms, and the association makes money to keep the club going throughout the year. The amount that goes to the club pays for another benefit too, top-notch speakers (on timely topics) at the monthly meetings.
2) Beekeeping Classes, Speakers, Bee Yard, Equipment
The fair is a big thing for our association, but there are lots of other benefits to being a member too. The group teaches a beginning beekeeping class every spring, has monthly meetings with invited speakers, sponsors classes on more advanced topics, helps maintain a demonstration bee yard, and has equipment that members can use. There are many members willing to mentor new beekeepers, and it’s a great source of information. You can try equipment before investing in it, and get a lot of great advice too.
We’re lucky to have such a strong association and I know not all are as strong, but don’t overlook your local beekeeping association as a resource. As a minimum, they’ll be happy to help you if you want to learn about bees!