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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Had a chance yesterday to chat with a local farmer at his corn maze yesterday. He has an apple orchard, vegetable and pumpkins fields.

He didn't have any beekeepers pollinating his crops. I told him I want to expand my hives but need land and if he was interested in having some hives on the farm.

To make a long story short, he was interested. We exchanged cards and I told him I would call hime back to discuss some details. he is interested in pollination and not honey.

I am new to this type of arrangement. Should I ask him for $45 dollars per hive ( going rate here)? It would sure help to pay for the woodenware.

I really want to do this regardless of whether he pays especially if I keep all the honey. I guse I just don't want to look or sound foolish.

Can anyone please share their experences so I can make a judgement call?

Thanks alot!!
 

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If he is renting you a year round location to keep bees, then you shouldn't expect anything more from him, and should pay him with a couple jars of honey at the end of the year.

If you are providing a pollination service, moving bees in during bloom, and then moving them out for the remainder of the year then you should charge a minimum (mine is $300) up to ten hives and $30-$55/per additional hive after the first ten.
 

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I have a number of hives at locations other than my own property.
My locations are not large commercial operations that bring in hives for pollination.
I don't charge for my hives at these sites, as it is a benefit to both of us.
I have a place to keep my hives year round and can run them the way I want. I don't have to move them in and out unless I want to or need to.
I am not tied to keeping "x" number of hives of a certain strength from this date to this date.
If I want to move hives from one location to another, I can. If I want to do splits, I can.
If you are going to get into a pollination contract, you will need to understand that you are obligated to provide "x" number of hives at the agreed to strength and time period.
There is also additional expense to you in the form of higher management requirements to get the hives to top strength for the early blooms of apples and other fruit trees.
You will need to work these hives, feed them heavy with syrup and pollen in the late winter / spring to get the population up.

No one is going to want to or can be expected to pay for hives that you want to build up from packages or splits.


[This message has been edited by MountainCamp (edited October 08, 2004).]

[This message has been edited by MountainCamp (edited October 08, 2004).]
 

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I agree with moutaincamp and beeman 202 on no payment for a year round location if you are there for honey. I recently moved from a fruit tree/vegetable/fruit location due to losses from pesticides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes Yes. I wholeheartedly agree. Thanks for the advice and preventing me from ticking off a new friend!! Not gonna charge him and I'll give him as much honey as he wants!!!
 
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Around here the beekeeper gets nothing..... In fact it is customary to give the farmer a case of honey products.

I do overhead door work for 2 large commercial beekeepers here. And they give honey, honey BQ sause, etc.

Kents Honeybees is the largest I do door work for. In fact, I am working out a barter for some pallets of medium supers with frames and combs.

They get them from buying out other beekeepers, and use them....... However they are going with stictly deeps for honey. I hope to connect with 4 pallets full of mediums!! Yeeeeeeeeeee Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Excuse the excitement.......
 

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Good match. He (farmer) does not understand the need for pollination as he went without in the past. And you (beekeeper) do not truly understand the value of the service you provide.

Apples, vegetables and pumpkins. The fact that he is less than professional in the way he operates his farm, I would be very cautious and have some basics in writing. I would be carefull with pesticides, and what you expect in the way of care he should take. Any apple grower and pumpkins no less, who has not had bees, I would question his judgment, and operating bottom line. Will he value your bees on his property any more than his own operation?

There are many farms that have "natural" fields, goverment subsidized acres where no plantings are done, and many farms with professional "city" types who bought land and let it grow as is. To risk your bees on a farm with the crops he does, and not charge, and possible have pesticide problems....I would not do it just for honey. To many other places with lower risk. It may require a little searching on your part though.

And at 45 dollars that you mention in your area, how about cutting it to 35, to get your foot in the door somewhere, and know you are being paid for professional services. Most farmers I deal with are a pleasure, know the value I provide, and work very closly with me on pesticide issues. They also understand "natural" pollinators, which most Ag. dept. have classes on, and they are just as careful about the enviroment as a whole, as anything else.

90% of my bees are on farms year round, and I get paid, and thats with all the apples, vegetables, and whatever else they give me. And "thank you's" are always with a smile. You just have to look and do some marketing. You'll do better in the long run.

Sorry if this does not go along with some of the other hobbiest, that probably don't run a bee business. I do not give advice much on beekeepers due to competition, but it really bothers me when beekeepers provide pollination services to business operations, and do not get paid. If he(framer) does not understand pollination needs/VALUE as a farmer, and is not willing to pay for them, then find one who does. You will be better off, as well as the entire beekeeping industry.
 

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If he will allow you full access to your hives, and you can keep them there all year, I wouldn't expect to get paid for the service. Discuss the pesticide issue with him, make sure you are happy with what you hear from him. I would also be careful how much honey I promise him. If he has a retail store, consider placing stuff in there on consignment.
I have a really great arrangement with the local entertainment farm. I have my bees in a locked pasture with an electric fence, where people and bears cannot get to them. I have my own keys, and come and go at my leisure. They have access to pumpkins, apples, and tons of clover. I know that the farm is chemically free, so pesticides are not an issue. This guy would never pay for pollination, but having my bees there is good for both of us. I sell my honey in their gift shop, and they take 25% consignment. I also give them a couple big yard rent jugs full each year. I also get all the pumpkins and apples I want or need.
Take your time, start slow, and get to know the guy. I will bet it is a family run farm, and the profit margins are not what they seem.
Make sure that if you do place hives there his customers can't get at your hives-it might be best if they can't even see them.
Good Luck
 

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If I read the question right, the hives placed would be "new" start-up hives for this coming year. This is so that you can expand the number of hives you have.
My point is if you want to do pollination services, you will need to do the work required. You will need to have strong over wintered hives for apples in the spring. Not, new start-up hives if you are charging a fee.
If I was placing hives on a commerical operation for pollination of his crops, I would be paid.
But, with that I have the reponsiblity to provide strong over wintered hives that will provide the service I am being paid for.
My hives are on dairy operations and non-commerical fields.
You may want to provide hives for this year, with the understanding that in the future a pollination fee would be expected.
The hives this year may open his eyes to what he is missing, and give you the oppertunity to expand.
 
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