from a Kim Flottum email ---
Paramount Farming Enters Beekeeping Industry with Acquisition of Headwaters Farm
A leading farming operation in the almond industry to contribute to the health and longevity of bees for pollination
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – February 2, 2015 – Paramount Farming, a leading grower of almonds and pistachios, today announced that it has acquired Headwaters Farm, one of the larger beekeepers in the U.S., to ensure the availability of bees to pollinate almond orchards in California. Going forward, the beekeeping operation within Paramount Farming will be called Wonderful Bees.
Bees are critical for the annual pollination of almond trees. By getting directly involved in beekeeping operations, Paramount Farming intends to contribute to the long-term health of bees and help the beekeeping industry recover from a recent decline that has been marked by rising costs, greater environmental risks and fewer bees. Beekeepers have been losing a third of their bees every year, on average, for the past ten years. Reports in the last couple of years also point to colony collapse disorder as a reason for a vast, mysterious dying off of honeybees in the U.S.
One way that Paramount Farming will contribute to the beekeeping industry is by significantly investing in research and development to figure out better ways to care for and protect bees as well as their hives. This initiative will help bridge the gap between beekeeping science and practical, commercial applications. As a leader in growing almonds and pistachios in California, Paramount Farming has been working closely with Headwaters Farm and other beekeeping operations for years on the annual almond orchards pollination, providing the company with valuable experience with bees.
“The survival and availability of bees doesn’t just impact our almond crop; it impacts the domestic food supply as a whole,” said Joe MacIlvaine, president of Paramount Farming. “We look forward to working with the leaders of our new beekeeping operation, Wonderful Bees, to make sure beekeeping continues to be done right and that the industry itself is supported and healthy for generations to come.”
Paramount Farming is in the process of creating a beekeeping management training program that lays out a career path for college graduates to join the beekeeping profession. As beekeepers retire, this training program is expected to help raise up the next generation of beekeepers. To boost the entire industry, Paramount will share its best practices with other beekeeping operations.
“As a beekeeper, I realize how exciting it is to have a big company like Paramount Farming be so committed to making a positive difference in beekeeping,” said David Mendes, founder of Headwaters Farm. “The way Paramount is committing resources and energy to the risky business of beekeeping is courageous and ambitious. I anticipate that Paramount Farming will change the way beekeeping is done.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Paramount Farming will now oversee and have direct access to Headwaters Farm’s beekeeping operation in Florida. The deal has officially closed. Employees of Headwaters Farm, along with the infrastructure and trucks to nurture and transport the bees in the operation’s 20,000 hives, have joined the Wonderful Bees operation. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.
About Paramount Farming
Paramount Farming is the world’s largest grower of almonds and pistachios. In tandem with its grower partners, Paramount Farming farms over 125,000 acres that deliver 450 million pounds of nuts globally each year. Its nuts can be found in the produce aisles of grocery stores nationwide under the flagship retail brands of its Wonderful® Pistachios and Wonderful® Almonds. Located in California’s fertile San Joaquin Valley, Paramount Farming and affiliated companies comprise the largest farming operation of tree crops in the world. Follow Paramount Farming on LinkedIn by clicking here.
About Headwaters Farm
Headwaters Farm is one of the largest beekeeping operations in the United States. It has been pollinating almonds, cranberries and blueberries for more than 30 years. The operation is co-located in the Florida Panhandle and Fort Myers and has 40+ employees. Headwaters Farm was founded by David Mendes, who is a member of the National Honeybee Advisory Board and a former president of the American Beekeeping Federation. Mendes is also active in advocating for honey bee research through Project APIS m.