CSBA The President's Word - February 2014

The President's Word
I hope everyone is as fortunate as myself to have rented all my bees to almond growers.  I delivered my bees last week to the orchards leaving only one wimpy colony at home.  I got to work with my bees yesterday in the orchards.  At most locations, tips of the trees were barely starting to bloom.  At one location, near Lerdo and I-5, there must have been close to 30% bloom and the orchard was alive with the buzz. That sound still amazes me and it is fun to have lunch sitting between the almond rows in the dirt.  This is going to be one unusual year with almond bloom coming early, lack of water (I am envious of those in Northern CA who recently got several inches of rain).  I have seen some big older orchards being ripped out, but also plenty of new orchards put in as well.  I am optimistic that the demand for our bees will remain strong despite what appears may be a slight dip in demand this season.

I am fortunate to have good help at home to keep everything running while I jet off to Milwaukee, WI to attend the "National Pheasant Fest" and to support wildlife and honey bee forage.  I have met so many interesting people through bees and this event promises to be another one of those.  I connected with Anna Kettlewell who is Director of the American Honey Queen Program (1999 American Honey Queen) and she took the ball and lined up at least 12 volunteers, including the current WI Honey Queen and the President of the WI Beekeepers Association, to help staff the bee table over the 3-day show in the Wildlife Pollinator section of the Youth Village at Pheasant Fest.  Mike Laforge, current manager of the Dadant store in Watertown, WI chipped in to loan a large carload of beekeeping equipment to be used for the display.  I am hoping to develop more fruitful relationships with Pheasants Forever (nationwide organization) and others in our pursuit of more bee forage. 

In March, I will meet with legislators at the CA Farm Bureau in Sacramento. I am also continuing to line up interesting speakers for our convention next November, which seems like a long way off, but there is much to do. 

Let's make the best of our strange and unusual CA weather. 

Bill Lewis, CSBA President