I like the queens that come out of California. They did have a really bad spring this year and we did have more trouble that normal, especialy with the package queens. The thing that has really impressed me is that if you call early in the morning, they can often ship in the afternoon. If you want something from the southeast you have to book it weeks or even months in advance.
In responce to loggermike
AS a fomer board member of the ABF it is untrue that we chose not to support the import restrictions. I was the board member who made the motion to not join the APHA in petitioning for relief from imports.....because the last time we went togather with the APHA we got stuck with a large portion of the legal bill and we didnt feel we had the funds. Second I (we)didnt feel the we could raise $600,000+. The attorneys told us that we had to pay as we went so if we raised 400,000 and no more the petition would be dropped and we would have wasted $400,000 of hard earned beekeepers money. With the cheap honey, beekeepers pockets were not filled with greenbacks. I will give APHA credit for getting some states to chip in, but they did borrow over $100,000 from their members on notes and now are trying to raise another $600,000 to keep the import restrictions. WE DID ENCOURAGE OUR MEMBERS to contribute as they saw fit and did support the petition, just not as a partner!!! (we even sent a letter to the FTC supporting the petition!) Also another reason for the high price of honey is the short crops due to weather and mites. I also take issue that the NHB has not increased consumption/price. Look at the consumption numbers now vs 1985. And where would be be with no safety net in public pr if something came up with the mite treatments. The reason APHA does not like the NHB (in my opinion) is it was not Richard Adees idea and also he is so large he pays a big NHB assessment(probably about $50,000) a yr as he has 50,000 colonies. I have been to both meetings of both groups...The ABF has always been a honest/democratic group while i think the APHA is run more like a diticator type. We offered to have a joint meeting with them and they refused. It would be nice for all beekeepers to work togather, we are a small group...but as long as they keep their currant leadership it wont happen. I know of numerous instances when outright lies were said/or the truth printed and when Icalled them on one occasion they told me they had to say that to keep the beekeepers on their side..... and if you want to know another reason for the cheap honey two yrs back look to sue bee....they were selling 12oz bears to kroger for about .84 ea. and they are a beekeepers cooperative...how can a beekeeper make money at that price??
I know the ABF encouraged the members to chip in,but by not officially joining in,it gave the impression that the ABF didnt really support the petition.I agree that is a huge amount of money for a tiny industry,but something had to be done about the flood of cheap imported honey.I never said the honey board promotions werent helping increase consumption,just that the increase was being filled by imports while USA honey was piling up or being sold at a loss.I dont think anyone can do enough promotion to use up all the worlds honey if it is coming here.Anti-dumping actions have worked twice now to raise the price and that is the direction producers need to go to save their businesses.The honey packers sure believe it was the anti-dumping action that raised the wholesale price,judging from the grumbling I have heard.
In the short run, I think import protection was the only way to hold the industry together. I can think of a long list of those of us who would have called it quits in another 12 months or so if the prices hadnt changed. And we should have. No other business venture would try to run at a loss.
In the long run, I think increased consumption is the big key. However, it will need to come across a wide demographic and age group and be directed at US honey. To do that we need a new Board.
I believe the NHB definately increased consumption of honey as a commodity in manufactured food products which has some definite positives. The problem is that it promotes a notion of honey as a cheap ingredient.....and I get to say this from first hand experience.
For those of you who dont know, the packers take the barrelled honey and repack it into totes or bulk tankers to deliver to the manufacturers. The newest push from overseas is to send totes of honey directly to the various food mfg plants. If that happens, without import protection or an alternate increase in demand, the price of honey will fall below what it was 2 years ago and not only will a group of beekeepers be done but so will a long list of packers.