Pollinators Paradise: A Journey Through American Beekeeping Federation
The sweet symphony of buzzing bees filled the air in New Orleans, Louisiana, from January 9 to 13, as beekeepers from far and wide gathered for the 2024 American Beekeeping Federation Conference and Tradeshow. This five-day event proved to be a hive of activity, featuring a diverse range of topics, from colony inspection to medicinal honey to new industry technology.
The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) acts on behalf of the beekeeping industry on issues related to interests and economic viability of the industry. Any person, organization, or corporation engaged in the beekeeping industry is eligible to become an active member of ABF. Members are then able to support and pass resolutions that serve as policy for official actions of the ABF. Some of the continuing objectives of ABF include: stopping the adulteration of honey; maintaining high standards of honey production to avoid contamination; cooperating with other organizations; and expanding honey promotion efforts.
Recognizing the need for advocacy, the conference dedicated a session to policy training. Dr. Judy Wu-Smart presented ‘Science Policy and Advocacy Training for Beekeepers’ where beekeepers were equipped with tools to engage with policymakers, champion sustainable practices, and address industry challenges. This underscores the vital role beekeepers play in shaping policies that support pollinator health, highlighting the industry’s significance in broader environmental conversations. Dr. Wu-Smart leads the Bee Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she and her students organize beekeeping workshops and field days to answer questions about pollinator health and management.
Beyond the informative sessions, the conference provided ample opportunities for networking. Beekeepers, seasoned and novice alike, connected with industry experts, researchers, and fellow enthusiasts. The exchange of experiences, ideas, and best practices fostered a sense of community, strengthening the collective efforts towards the well-being of bees and sustainable beekeeping. Exhibitors at the ABF Tradeshow included Apimon LLC, BeeHero, Eastern Apicultural Society, HealingBees, Reid’s Apiary and Bee-tique, and Vita Bee Health, among many others.
The 2024 American Beekeeping Federation Conference proved to be a resounding success, not just as an educational platform for individual beekeepers but as a testament to the vibrancy and growth of the beekeeping industry. Attendees left the conference with the tools and confidence to thrive in the world of beekeeping.
As the beekeeping community continues to evolve, driven by the dedication of its members, the ABF conference highlighted the industry’s pivotal role in environmental conservation, sustainable practices, and the economic viability of bee-related products. With each passing conference, the beekeeping industry solidifies its standing as a crucial player in shaping a more bee-friendly and sustainable future.