I'm interested in learning about beekeeping co-ops out there.
If you're part of one, or know one well, I wonder how do you operate? What are your goals and shared benefits?
I am Adam, a big one known as Souix honey association. The members of Souix produce for the coop, which then processes the raw honey for further retail or retail commercial sale. We sell about 65 million pounds of honey a year. To become a member, you have to show that you can produce 40,000 pounds of honey a year. We have about 300 members in the USA, Mexico and Canada. So one day should you decide to pursue a career in Beekeeping, joining the Souix honey Cooperative is one potential was to go. Souix, while providing a ready market for my honey, also supplies the empty drums, and gaskets that we use in packing our honey for shipment. Souix also arranges for the trucking of the honey when I have a semi-load of 64 drums ready for market. Should I need supplies such as frames or wax foundation and such, I can call the bee supply dealership and give them my Souix membership number and purchase the supplies. Souix will pay them and deduct the cost from my account. Souix has consistently through good and bad times returned their membership a higher return for the members honey than say an independent. It usually is 5-10 more a pound. Also I am not paid in a lump sum but paid in increments through the season for my crop. Thus I have a cash flow. Good Luck with your beekeeping, If you have any more questions, just post. TK
Oh no! Another Sioux thread I'm getting outta here
. . . and it's not in the commercial forum!
SueBee (Sioux), is it really good honey? I've had it, and it doesn't come close to the local honey.
Barry..My good friend Ted has some good points and we have differant opinions on SUe and have discussed them with both of us having good points. What really disappoints me about Sue is they take the really nice honey most of their members produce and also import honey to sell. Claming they can get enough. I think if they marketed quality instead of quality their members could get lots more. As Ted pointed out you get a cash flow by getting paid over the next year but if you sold to a packer you should have all your money within 30 days adn could draw interest or pay off debt early. I have made my apples/oranges comparison on here before...so I wont go into it again. Lets just day Sue was a great idea whenit started but in my opinion has gotten off course.
I'm interested in your question, Adam, and would be interested in looking into it if there was one here in northern New England. One that doesn't buy Chinese or other honeys of questionable or even non-questionable foreign origin and was dedicated only to promoting the honey produced by its members.
Ted is correct in offering his co-op as an answer to your question but their practices and ethics are so controversial here as to make any mention of them little more than tailgater fodder.
So, I'd be interested in hearing of any true member-oriented honey co-ops too.
We are in process of setting up a small Co-op here in WA State. Many beekeepers want an outlet to sell their honey at the local markets, but don't know how to market their product. We have a label and standard bottle we use and can market their product. They usually end up making more that if the sold it themselves and the local stores have a much more reliable source for local honey.
You might check with these folks about how they set up their coop.
Sadly whether Souix is tail gate fodder or not. Whether they have lost their way is meaningless for the question that was asked. We can all discuss this on another thread, I have thick skin and can take it. My friend Rick can even start the thread. The point is that Souix has been around a long time and it is a Co-op model that does work. I produce for them as a member, I do not make the management desicions. Because I am a Souix member, I do know that Co-ops can work and there needs to more of them!! TK
Adam, there are other agricultural type coops out there. The range from Sunkist to Land o Lakes to Ocean Spray. Look at those and see how they are structured. Ask them how they operate. You can then adapt those operational methods to form a small coop for honey. I remember from my Nat'l honey board nomination committee days that there was a Coop that either formed or tried to form in the Mid west that was going to produce mead from their members honey. You might ask the other beeks if they ever got up and running. I have not kept up with them. TK
I understand that a group quantity can open some grocery store doors, but I can't believe I could get more for my honey through a coop than selling it myself. How does this work? How do you run the figures?
I have often pondered the idea of a coop to streamline the marketing and even out the competition, but it never worked out to greater profits.
Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725
Here is a link you may find useful: http://cooperatives.dyson.cornell.edu/partners.htm
The Northeast Cooperative Council has an annual young leaders leadership conference.
There are some links/contacts to cooperatives based in the NE US. Don't be afraid to make contacts, especially the ag based co-ops.
I'm not sure if you would be allowed to attend the conference or not. If you are interested it is well worth it. You will make lots of personal contacts and learn a lot about cooperatives. It has been a number of years since I attended but, it was one of the most useful conferences I have ever attended.
Grant ,the co-op I am part of does just that--turn in higher profits for its membership. According to some USDA reports, grafts, charts they are pretty consistent at it. Yes, we do buy some import honey but that goes in the industrial bulk sales along with the darker domestic grades that go to places like general mills. Have you priced an 8 oz bottle of Souix honey lately?? It aint cheap!! Have you tried Souix bee barbacue sauce??? Value added products also help the economic base of a co-op. I believe that Co-ops break down along the lines of size of entity. The big ones, such as Ocean Spray and Souix, are able to maintain the big industrial contracts with quantity sales. Thus returning the membership a higher profit. The small ones are able to put out a quality product and hopefully are able to do the same. It seems though, that many of the small ones just do not survive. The volume may not be there. Now that I have mentioned Souix again, and as a Souix member I had better run, duck and cover.My very good friend Rick Sutton, who I have known for years, will be leading the assault on my farm with pitchforks and torches. Good luck with your beekeeping TK
Ted, you don't need to run for cover for mentioning Sioux Bee...it helps to get many different perspectives. And I'm guessing that's why Sioux Bee Honey Association changed the name of Sioux Bee Honey to Sue Bee Honey, so many people were having trouble with the name, Sioux. Even though named after the city and Indian tribe, it is a strange name. Cute logo though, or do they still use the image of a cute Indian Maiden, in this politically correct world?
"If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow
The name was changed because it's not nice now to name things after the Indian tribes. Law suits, law suits and more law suits !
High Schools, Colleges are/have changed there sport team names.
For you old timers remember, the truck line, one of the largest; Navaho- "Route of the blue eyed Indian"
Speaking of truck lines, growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, my favorite truck line was "Campbell Express" - they had a full-color camel painted on the side of their semi-trailers, in full tilt run, tongue hanging out. Their motto, painted with the camel: "Humpin' to Please!"
"If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow
Well, there seems to bee an anti Sue honey association faction that I have written up against on beesource. I am proud to be a Souix honey member-no if ands or buts. No, the Cute Indian Maiden is now a Cute Indian Maiden honey bee. You got to stay politically correct. I remember the Campbell trucks. I do wonder why there has not been another large honey Co-op to ever really get off the ground in the USA?? Many try but they just seem to fizzle. We really could use some more co-ops to market honey and honey products. TK
Campbell Express went bankrupt; Old man Campbell died [ one of the Best ] and left the Co. to his daughter and son in law, they embezelled the drivers pension fund, sold equipt. illgeally, bought and stored in 6 trailers all over the midwest millions of dollars of antiques.
She got 2 years working as a cook in a homeless shelter in Springfield Mo.
He got 6-7 years in the Federal prison in Springfield, the employes lost their jobs and pensions. s
Sorry off topic but a personal thing with me.
I drove mostly for P.I.E.