Re: I would like to be a commercial beek
I'm not familiar with the 20% rule but I will go ahead and weigh in on the definition as I see it. Commercial is more a perspective than a given number of hives...or assets. If deriving income from your bees is a big part of your livelihood regardless of whether it is 25% or 100% then, to me, you are commercial. Are you dependent on that income to make the health insurance or the mortgage payment, do you file a schedule F and carefully record all income and expenses? Answer yes to all the above and your a commercial beekeeper in my book. Is the commercial forum just for commercials? No, of course not, all are free to ask and learn, and all are free to discuss beekeeping from a business perspective.
On the issue of how much time one is able to devote to actual beekeeping once you have 1,000 or more hives it kind of depends on the operator. I have found it a bit easier to get bogged down in details and office work as our business has grown. I am fortunate to have a son who does much of the field management and two other hired men who carry much of the load as well but I am still quite engaged on a day to day basis with what is going on and I would guess on a yearly basis at least 75% of my business hours are spent either in the bee yard or the extracting room.
"Ve are too soon olt und too late schmart."- A nameless German philosopher