Strengthening the Beekeeping Industry in Texas
A consortium of beekeeping experts, with assistance from an agricultural consulting firm, have developed resources to better equip those who are in a position to teach, train and mentor new Texas beekeepers and youth interested in apiculture.
The objective of the project, funded through a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) Professional Development Program Grant, is to strengthen the beekeeping industry in Texas. Beekeeping resources, while abundant, lack applicability to Texas because of various factors such as climate challenges and confusing management practices.
Researchers from AgriLogic Consulting, LLC; Texas AgrifLife Extension Service, Texas Beekeeper Asso- ciation, and Texas Apiary Inspection Services have developed a website that streamlines and organizes electronic curriculum that can be used to guide agricultural extension personnel and mentor the next generation of beekeepers.
Texas Beekeeping 101: Your Resource for Raising Honey Bees in Texas provides basic information on beekeeping, an event calendar, and youth education and resources. A big portion of the website offers Texas beekeeping curriculum centered around honey bee biology, equipment, bee yard setup and safety, hive management, pests and diseases and marketing.
The website design is user friendly and organized in such a manner that new beekeepers can pick and choose which topics they wish to learn about without wading through unrelated information first. It is also set up to appeal to those who are visual learners and prefer photos, videos, and diagrams to long passages of text. Extension agents, existing beekeepers, new beekeepers and youth interested in apiculture are all intended to benefit from the information available on the website.
SARE State Coordinators are vital for expanding sustainable agriculture training for Extension, NRCS, and other agricultural professionals, who will then help producers transition to a more sustainable agriculture.
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Beginning in 2017, the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program funded a grant project to study these questions and assembled a Texas-based team of university researchers, soil scientists, farmers, ranchers and specialists from the USDA.
SARE IN TEXAS
The Texas Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is a professional development program sponsored by the Southern Region SARE and co-coordinated by Texas A&M University and Prairie View A&M University. We work together to deliver a program that enhances the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of the state through research and education. Texas SARE partners with researchers, extension faculty, producers, and community organizations to research and implement the best science-based practices available in all aspects of the Texas agricultural system. In addition to research, SARE is dedicated to providing education in sustainable agriculture through various trainings offered each year.
Given the increase in egg quality measurements that pasture-raised eggs exhibit over commercial-style eggs, such as yolk color, albumen height, and egg weight, it is concluded that pasture-raised eggs can provide benefits to the producer and the consumer.
Professional Development Program
Within each state, agricultural educators work directly with farmers and ranchers to further sustainable agriculture production and marketing practices. Through a program called the Professional Development Program (PDP), SARE state ag coordinators provide support for sustainable agriculture education and outreach strategies.
SARE and the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) offer the Sustainable Agriculture Fellows Program, which enhances Cooperative Extension personnel’s understanding of sustainable agriculture and provides broad-based, national exposure to successful and unique sustainable agriculture programs.