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Agriculture’s superheroes celebrated this National Ag Day

19 November 2021

As Australians celebrate farmers this National Ag Day, the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) is encouraging people to consider a rewarding career in an industry that keeps many agricultural systems buzzing — beekeeping.

Launched in 2017 by the National Farmers’ Federation to promote and celebrate the agriculture industry, this year’s AgDay theme, ‘Choose your #AgVenture’, aims to place a specific focus on the diverse opportunities on offer in the farm sector.

AHBIC Chair, Trevor Weatherhead, said people should not forget beekeeping, a career which underpins a significant amount of agricultural production.

“The honey bee and pollination industries, contribute $14.2 billion to the Australian economy each year, through both honey production and pollination services to horticultural and agricultural crops, as well as some crops used for livestock grazing,”.

“Across Australia, there are more than 1,800 commercial beekeepers who manage approximately 530,000 commercially managed hives, which are vital to providing the world with safe and nutritious food.

“In fact, 35 industries rely on honey bee pollination with almonds, apples, avocadoes, blueberries, cucumbers, pumpkins, and rockmelons 100 per cent dependent on honey bee pollination services.

“Without our honey bees and our beekeepers, we would miss out on much of the nutritious food that currently fills one third of our plates.”

Mr Weatherhead explained that beekeepers, like other farmers, are not immune to the impacts of natural disasters including drought, floods and bushfires.

“The black summer bushfires in 2019-20 took a heavy toll on the honey bee industry, destroying more than 15 million hectares of native forest, and robbing 12,000 colonies of critical sources of nectar and pollen,” he said.

“Our beekeepers continue to show resilience and adaptability to ensure they can continue to produce honey and provide the pollination services that are so critical for other agricultural industries.”

Mr Weatherhead said beekeeping provided an interesting and rewarding career for people interested in food production and working outside.

“Beekeepers work across many regions in Australia, managing and operating apiaries to produce honey and other products and to pollinate important agricultural and horticultural crops,” he said.