Future Farmlanders buzzing to meet industry experts

Southland’s next generation of beekeepers learned the tricks of the trade when they got a special visit from some industry experts.

Farmlands Technical Field Officer Mike Magennity and local honey makers Murray and Carol Buchanan visited Heddon Bush School to teach excited pupils about honey production and donate some new gear.

The small, rural school is made up of three classrooms and is about 15 minutes from Otautau. Many of its pupils are children of Farmlands shareholders and their teachers and parents really valued hands-on learning for the kids.

The pupils were doing a project on honey production and parents and Farmlands shareholders Katrina and Bradley Cook, who had their own hives, reached out to Farmlands Otautau for support. The Buchanans taught the pupils all they needed to know about honey production and beekeeping.

They also ran the pupils through the health and safety aspects of it and taught them about the life cycle of a honey bee.

Mike approached Farmlands supplier Ecrotek, which was happy to donate three branded beekeeping suits to the school. Another Farmlands supplier, Lynn River, donated some beekeeping gloves to be worn with the suits.

Mike presented the suits and gloves to the school during the visit and got some of the pupils to try them on to show them how to wear them properly.

He says for many pupils it was their first time getting to try on a beekeeping suit and they were very excited. The pupils were very inquisitive of the honey making process and were eager to learn more.

The school has its own beehive on-site and the pupils, along with their parents and teachers, hope to produce their own honey with it. They would be able to wear their new suits and gloves while safely tending to their hive.

The visit demonstrated the close relationships Farmlands has with our rural communities along with our staff members’ willingness to help. It also reinforced how Farmlands communicates with and aids the next generation of young up-and-coming Farmlanders and supporters.

Mike says it was a great way to grow the kids’ knowledge of beekeeping and honey production in general. “Any initiative like that is really cool. I think it’s quite neat.”

The Buchanans also gave the pupils a small sample of honey each so they could have a taste. They offered to help the school get its hive into full production so the pupils could eventually taste their own honey and reap the benefits of their own hard work.