The talk mid-morning was by Margaret Ginman, General Secretary of the Bee Farmers’ Association and was titled: Climbing the Beekeeping Ladder. Unusually, the talk was without Powerpoint so the lights were left on and we could see and visually interact with each other. As I’ve remarked on the blog many times before: when the lights go down, so do the eyelids and I often saw people nodding off in other lectures.
The BFA has 467 members each with an average of 300 hives. It takes about 5 tons of honey to keep a man for a year. They have a website: http://www.beefarmers.co uk and a ‘pop up shop’. Wax is more lucrative than honey. They have Health & Safety policy and Hygiene Certificates and a Pollinator Strategy, promoting high quality beekeeping.
The average age of bee farmers is 66. They must know how to run a business, doing tax returns and other paperwork. The UK produces 14% of domestic demand for honey.
Bee Farmers work from dawn to dust. Benefits for members include bulk buying, insurance, and a magazine.
Someone asked what was their policy on imports and Margaret told us that 95% of imported bees go to the amateur sector.