Promoting Beekeeping Among FFA Members

by Jerry Hayes
Monsanto Corporation

I think I have something that we can all support and encourage in our own locales, regions, states and world…at least I hope so. One of my goals here is to see if we can get the strong primary educational outreach organization of traditional agriculture the National FFA Organization, previously known as the Future Farmers of America, to recognize more formally managed Honey Bees as a foundational part of food production and environmental health. In order to do that and make Honey Bees a recognizable and real part of their world, I have been asked by the FFA to see if “we” can encourage students to actively consider Honey Bees in their SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) projects. There are FFA Grants and resources available to encourage FFA students in SAE projects. I have been able to judge SAE projects in the past and the majority are not with Honey Bees. Last year, as one of many SAE judges, I judged only two.

I have been working to promote honey bee SAE’s in as many places as possible and I’ve personally sent the info to some chapters that I know are specifically involved with honey bees. However, the FFA would welcome any support in getting the word out. As background, the 2013 SAE Grant application is open until November 15. This year it is a web-based form through FFA’s Agricultural Career Network (accessed at All grant applications will be submitted electronically. More information can be found here:

Could you find time to share this information with your organizations, peers and collaborators to contact any of your local regional or State FFA chapters and get the word out that Honey Bees are actually part of agriculture? Beekeeping is a large vital industry that is built around Honey Bees for pollination, honey production, queen production, equipment manufacturing and distributing, research and government. By doing this, you may be encouraging some of the next leaders and strengthening the world we love.