Hello all I was wanting to get some feedback on what the positives and negatives are on getting a goverment grant for my bee business I'm just starting up and this looking like the best opportunity. Thanks in advance for the feedback.
I've been looking and reading that they give grants to help bring back the population of honey bees since the decline of them. However some states give small business grants/loans for first time starters, just wondering if anyone has done this before. Just wondering what exactly everyone does to get their business started I know everyone does different things.
Good luck with the grants. As far as loans I try really hard not to owe people money. I just work really hard at my day job and my sideline job. I keep increasing and reinvesting in the business as money allows while remaining debt free. This is the beginning of my third season, so I have not seen much money come in, but a lot go out.
There are some grants available this year in the farm bill. I think they have to do with farmers markets and home grown foods from a buisness aproach. It's been a little while sense I looked at them but I think you could work bees into it.
Here in Nova Scotia our Provincial government has had a Pollinator Expansion Program for the last 3 years. Those keeps that have at least 50 hives, with some of those in pollination, are allowed to apply for a government grant each year of up to $25,000. It is not a blank cheque in that it does require you to spend some of your own money as well.
This is in place in an attempt to meet the colony requirements of our wild blueberry growers.
Apparently the program is currently closed. I do not understand why tax payer money should be used. Farmers need to loosen their purse strings, then the market will adjust. Evidently if beekeepers are only getting $120 and there is a 50-60 pound crop to be had, there is a shortfall of cash. Operations need more money. Honey prices are currently good so 60 pounds may be enough to squeeze by, but at $1.00/lb it is not enough. An artificial crutch is not sustainable. If their was enough money I would truck bees from the west coast. I have yet to hear of enough money. It really is not all that complicated.
The Association has applied for a 3 year extension of the program but have yet to hear back from the Province.
When you say farmers Marc, are you talking about the growers?
Blueberries are paying $140 to $145 for colonies the last few years. The growers (some) claim there is a 10,000 hive shortfall (here in NS we currently sit around 20,000). (of course an additional 10,000 hives would do what to the price of pollination)?
Our industry (Association) does not have the ability to increase to that extent on it's own, so the expansion program was born to try to increase hive totals.
The fact is (as I see it anyway), who in their right mind would invest what it would take to get set up in this thing we do? Unless you have it handed to you thru family or something, as is the case with all types of farming, getting started is risky and downright expensive.
Ben is one of the few that I am aware of, that is even trying. My hats off to him, I wish there were more willing to step up, but with the risk and expense involved, I'm pretty sure the line is short.
The expansion program tries to address some of that. I am not saying I am for it or against it (never used it) but I can see where it might have a purpose.
By the way, I really miss the weather back there in the lower mainland. We've got so much snow here we don't know where to put the next batch.
When I said farmers I meant the growers. I think without looking over with a fine-tooth comb, beekeepers need $300/hive per year in order to get out of bed. If you only generate $250 year in year out, you can get by if mom and pop handed you down the outfit. You live off the depreciation of the business and 30-40 years later you have a very tired outfit. On the other hand if growers who need the service pay the true cost of service provided then beekeepers can meet the demand. If there is enough money to be had beekeepers will show up. At $145 I will not show up. At $200 I would really start to think about it. At $250 I would not hesitate to show up as many others would. I am saying that the market should determine this not the taxpayers. Farmers will say we need bees and there are so many on the border just south of us. Well yes but... historically the border has not allowed comb to come North. Farmers have known this all along. As a beekeeper I would also hesitate to invest in a business where I know that my customers are actively pursuing other sources of cheaper bees. It just does not leave me with that warm fuzzy feeling.
I don't know anything about Grants, but the FSA was a big help to me. I had two loans with them. The thing is I didn't get loans for enough. I only took out loans for what buying the two 200 hive operations cost. I should have gotten a loan for $100,000.00 or $150,000.00.This isn't going to sound nice and polite, but I'm gonna tell it to you straight. I think you have the cart before the horse. Or I suspect as much. Learn how to keep bees and learn how to make money with bees and if you can do that and find you want to do that as a job, then look into funding sources. Seems early days to me.
I'm glad you posted that Radar, as being from Canada it had me stumped! :lpf:
I wish I knew what the growers thought was a fair price. Some have been more focused on getting our border opened and bringing in bees from Ontario (which they may find harder and more expensive given the setback that province had last year, 60% losses).
I get steamed when our "industry" here gets fingered for (perceived) shortages of colonies, like it's our fault or something. Play by the rules and get into beekeeping if you need to, but don't try to throw our "industry" under the bus to further yours.
There are a lot of grants out there but unlike what the infomercials say there is no free money. I don't know specifics about any grants for beekeeping .However I used to write grant applications for the Fire Dept. I belonged to. Should you decide to pursue a grant find out exactly what is expected of you in the future many of them require record keeping and reporting for a number of years you may or may not be willing to do. Most of the grants I was involved with were for a specific item or items not just a lump sum for whatever . for instance requesting $795.68 for a portable observation hive to take to school classrooms $120 for a package of bees for it, 5 frames at $1.12 each, five sheets of foundation at etc. etc. etc. just saying you could use some money to help save honeybees wont cut it. I would usually spend 40 to 60 hours on each grant between researching prices , writing and rewriting . it is frustrating to put that much time into it and not get it. or worse get approved and then the money runs out before your turn comes up. Sure it was nice when you got something but it was a lot of work.
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