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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had just seen a request for hives from a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm in NJ and they were offer space for hives in exchange for an equitable share of the honey. It was described as a 68 acre produce farm. What is defined as an equitable share? I would think on that scale there'd be a fee per hive as pollinators. This is not something I would do even if I had more hives (and it's too far away if I did). Just kind of curious on how these deals work.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Larry, as I was reading the post, I was thinking the same thing you concluded. An equitable share for a beehive or two at a produce farm is for YOU to get paid, not them. They need you, not the other way around. Jeez, the world has flipped upside down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
JW, on 68 acres, one or two hives would be meaningless I would think, Wouldn't they want, say 20 or so as a minimum, assuming a varied cycles of produce? I think they are clueless of the costs, hours of work involved and lets face it, the more honey you as an individual produce, the less you get for it. It's quite possible to sell pounds for one price, but barrels command a smaller number. A commercial guy, buying pallets of hives, frames and foundation, then bees, then maintenance, then extraction and packaging-makes no sense. I really admire the commercial guys I know, they work very hard and none are driving Rolls Royce. Years ago I was involved in commercial fishing in New England and I think beekeeping is the same type of industry-you get to handle a lot of money but not much gets to stay in your pockets.

Maybe someone can explain this.
 

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I am curious just how much honey they think a 68 acre PRODUCE farm is going to create. Last time I checked, produce does not PRODUCE honey, but the bees will get the plants pollinated better than the wind. Seems a little one-sided. For veggies, the going rate is around here is $50-$60 per hive for six weeks of pollination. And that is not worth it unless you are delivering a medium sized trailer load of hives, 16-20 minimum.
 

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Too many stories of 100# a hive advantages, selling @ $15 pound at big city farmers markets etc
A lot of people think a guy with 10 hives is making bank, and feel its all coming from their few acres
 

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And don't forget about liability... if someone sprays and your bees die or if someone gets stung and is allergic... there would definitely need to be a formal contract for self protection. Not worth the trouble or risk, they have their values reversed. If you are interested, find a next door neighbor to this 68 acres and see if they will let you put a couple of hives in their back yard.
 

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If you are interested, find a next door neighbor to this 68 acres and see if they will let you put a couple of hives in their back yard.
I would not even even bother.
Consider that the most honey your bees will bring from the weeds, not a 68 acres of lettuce, beets, and carrots. I doubt very much they grow sweet clovers, thistles, and such.
:)

What they are saying is non-sense, as they should pay for the pollination.
But to be fair, the bees will most likely ignore the produce anyway.
 

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Not that a farm should be paid for hosting bees. (and yes production does seem to go up when bees are involved.) However, we have noticed that there is less to no dearth on veggies. I speculate that it is due to irrigated weeds but it is "easier" to keep bees there...
 

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Apparently in some folks' minds, the equitable share is all of it. From Craigslist:


QUOTE - "We have about 80 fruit trees on 10 acr properties and would like to let you keep your bees on our property in an exchange for the honey. If you are interested, please contact."
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My thought on this just after spending a ton of money to expand my apiary on my own 14 acres is these kind of advertisements are somewhat insulting. If you look at the cost of a standard Lang, double deep, supers, base, inner and outer, queen excluder, then bees, you're starting to reach near $500 per hive. Yes, if you're dropping your own trees, sawing lumber, drying, milling etc., sure, it's cheaper but then what about the time, cost of a mill etc.? I think a true cost anyway you do it is $500 per hive even at pallet rate. Then, you have to start doing the work. And then, what happens, diseases, maintenance, absconding, bears. The if the Bee gods smile upon you and you get 70 pounds per hive, you extract, process and then package. These people are insulting and clueless.

Incidentally, I was living the NJ DMV dream all day this past Friday to register my truck and ran into my primary bee supplier (he has 4000 plus hives) who was there to register several of his 10 trucks and enjoyed his conversation with the clerk about the GVW rates on his trucks-maybe, just maybe the sale of a dozen nuc's to me in a few weeks will cover the costs of at least one of them.
 

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Oh I see a craigslist add now (in my mind...):
"We have a beatiful 10 acre property with tillable land and irrigation. We are looking for a vegetable grower who is interested in working the land in exchange for the vegetables. If interested, contact."....
Funny thing is, though I bet no vegetable farmer would apply, I do think a beekeeper may apply. Anyone still paying yard rent? Used to be $50 or several pounds of honey. Also for polination you are bringing your bees in and out each season, they pay the beekeeper. If you want a permanent yard it may be worth paying them If it is a good location. Not sure what an equitable share is: "sorry no honey this year" (it's my mating yard)....
 

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To keep an apiary in a farm that benefits from pollination, the bare minimum would be $50 per hive for the year. Anything else is crazy.

For other landowners, it's a bit different because they're basically doing beekeepers a favor.

A gallon jar of honey would be the minimum, preferably in smaller containers so they can give it away to their family members. Oddly enough, sometimes you'll find that people refuse the free honey and will insist on paying.

Equitable share - turn nose up at that, give them a flat rate per hive per year. The cost of setting up a proper bear fence is like $400+ my time, so they better be able to provide me with at least enough for me to cover that expense.
 

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There is an important difference between
1)setting bees for "pollination" and
2)"renting" the place for your bees.

If you provide "pollination" you are to be paid.
If you "rent", then you are to pay.
What is there to complicate?

I, for example, "rent" my places as I don't have large property myself.
I just need a suitable spot to set a couple of hives some one's property.
It is reasonable for me to give the owner few samples of honey as a "payment".
I will also talk about the pollination of their property and overall good the bees do - OR the owners assume that will happen and want it "because it is good for nature".

Let us be honest and just say - this is mostly lie and nonsense (this pollination yada, yada).
My bees don't pollinate much of anything of significance for the property owners who grow produce (like tomatoes and potatoes). MAYBE the cucumbers and squash if the situation is favorable.
Bees are mostly just looking out for the weeds that grow nearby. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am going to have several smaller out yards around town this year which were gotten (is that the right word?) through a neighbor who is a master gardener (is there such a thing?) and president of the local gardener club. The smaller out yards 2 or 3 hives are all within a 1/2 mile of the house and part of a VSH thing I'm working on. These people are serious gardeners and were telling me about bee friendly pollinator plants, planting various native plants that will bloom continually/alternating over the course of the seasons. This pollinator friendly and organic planting apparently is a big thing here in NJ, with Rutgers's Extension having well attended webinars on it for these suburban gardeners. I offered to give them each a gallon or so of honey (in pints) and they were thrilled. I figure they're all old hippies but their friendly and maybe a tad too helpful. In this case, honey is a secondary consideration for me so I good with this and helps achieve my longer term goals. Providing pollinator services for free to a commercial operation and then kicking back an undefined equitable share, no, I don't think so.
 

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It was described as a 68 acre produce farm. What is defined as an equitable share?
Having an abundance of pollinators on the property is well known to increase field yields. If the yield increase is 10%, then I would consider 4% of the veggie crop to be an equitable share for my effort and costs of placing bees.
 

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Larry, hate to break it to you, but having your "outyards" within 1/2 mile of the house kinda defeats the whole purpose. They are still foraging the same acres. But the hippies are really going to enjoy the honey!
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Larry, hate to break it to you, but having your "outyards" within 1/2 mile of the house kinda defeats the whole purpose. They are still foraging the same acres. But the hippies are really going to enjoy the honey!
LOL, yes, if the purpose had anything to do with producing honey. The area has an artificially high level of forage due to very intense ornamental gardening and I'd think it could support even denser hive counts. There hasn't been a dearth here in several years and that was (from what I've been told) very short lived. And my wife just corrected me in that it's probably a mile or so and each location would only be 3 or so hives. My plans for the next few years is more along a genetic experiment but that would be off topic on this thread.
 

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Nothing wrong with establishing drone producing yards a mile from your main apiary. But back to the point, payment usually is made by the person that benefits the most from an arrangement. In a pollination agreement, the farmer is the beneficiary, he pays. In an out yard situation, it is the beekeeper who receives the primary benefit and thus he or she pays the landowner. Does not matter if the landowner receives a supplemental benefit or not.
 

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These folks read somewhere you could make 200lbs a hive easily, and would like half of it with not cost input would be my guess. I steer clear of these situations even if they could be educated. Not the type of folks I care to work with.

Most of my yards are small hobby/retirement farms with extra space, and people are usually pretty happy with a gallon or two worth of jars of honey.
 
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