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Term Hobbyist

3621 Views 17 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Budster
In the year or so I have read several articles mentioning that there is a trend or "movement" to get away from the term Hobbyist or amateur in beekeeping. I haven't read much lately that mentions this subject.

Is this still considered and issue?

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Never heard this, did they propose other terms to use in place of "hobbyist" or "Amateur"?
It seems to be an issue only to those who want it to be.... other terms used are "backyarder" and "sideliner" - usually related to the number of hives one has.
I think the original impetus was from an article (Connor? Tew?) in one of the journals. His thought, IIRC, was that with backyard beeks becoming increasingly important to the future of the art that the term "hobbyist" was somehow pejorative and would mean their contributions would be taken less seriously.
Ben has it right. Many think that you're a beekeeper....period. Sure, you might have a few hives or a lot or you might be doing it as a living or part of a living, but you're still a beekeeper. I agree with this.
I read that article and got a little different meaning from it. I agree with the pejorative aspect mentioned earlier. I got from it that ANY/EVERY beekeeper is going to have to expend a level of effort just to maintain their hives given the obstacles facing the bees these days as opposed to the pre-mite or pre-CCD era.
the reason we don't want to use the term Hobbyist or amateur is when people go to the government for funding for be related research or projects, they cant count a "Hobbyist" or "amateur" beekeeper.

The government does not fund Hobbies....

So when your state is looking to fund a bee inspection program or what ever program, your a Beekeeper, not a hobbyist.... or an amateur.

I don't know anything about a movement. Are beekeepers in general that organised?

We had a spirited Thread about "beekeepers" and "beehavers", but nothing was settled other than what different persons opinions are.

To me, we are all beekeepers. Any other qualifier just establishes how many hives one has and how much of their life is consumed by keeping bees. There are few hard and fast rules in this area.
What I’ve gathered form my 1.5 years of experience is that the labels have to do with you number of hives and intent and the law in your area is written.

A hobbyist / armature / “backyard Bee Keeper” (me) just does it for kicks/honey/"save the bees" etc. You only have a few hives. In my city it's less than 10. This group tends to keep the catalog companies in business.

A side-liner is supplementing their income with the bees. Selling to friends, neighbors and at farmers markets etc. where they sell enough to cover the cost of the equipment and a little left over for beer money (or so the IRS knows). In my area this is anyone with greater than 10 hives but less the 300. (If you have just 10 hives, it’s unclear where you fall).

And professionals are the guys that do it for a living. This is the category where your IRS statement has “Bee Keeper” (or is that Apiarist) down for your profession. They haul the bees from one end of the country to another doing their part to keep the rest of us fed. The term “live stock” comes into play here instead of “the girls in the back yard”.

And a I like the idea of a bee keeper being anyone who has kept a hive alive over a winter (you’ve got to prove your stuff).

Well, I feel like an empty barrel here, just rattling on, but it’s slow here at work and I wanted to through in my 2 cents.
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I read a similar piece in BC a while back..btedeski has it exactly right. The idea in getting rid of the term "hobbyist" was to be able to count the backyarders and sideliners so to increase the numbers of beekeepers showing the need for government funding...beeks vote dontcha know...while not giving the appearance of funding to benifit a recreational activity. I think it's a bit silly. While sure, words matter, I think it's splitting the hair pretty thin to think that gov't funding rests on a semantic twist or turn. And then there's the issue of if the gov't should be funding this research at all. I do know that UGA got something like $6 million to study CCD. I haven't followed up to see what they've done with it, but you can be sure that Sen.s Chambliss and Issacson would not want folks in Georgia thinking that $6 million was spent so a handful of backyard hobbyist beekeepers could figure out why their hives were disapearing. Don't get me wrong..I'm not saying that's the case with the UGA $, I'm saying that in our hyper political era, even what we use to further describe a beekeeper is subject to political correctness.
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I think too many people are hung up on titles. I also think too many folks fall for the gov't game of herding people into their countable and impersonal number game.

The term "hobbyist" is used in a number of areas to identify one as someone who does something out of the love for doing it, money issues, etc.. are secondary.

The term itself does not carry an implication of ability or experience. If people choose to attach some such implication, they do so out of ignorance.

Hobbyists are the people who do something just because they can. In my experience, those are the people who put every effort and part of themselves into what they do.

I know of many people who get paid to do the same tasks who do not do so much.

Big Bear
I think all new beekeepers should be called birgins (beekeeper @ virgin = birgin):lpf::lpf::lpf:
Government funding....

I think this website probably does as much or more than any government program has or will do to advance the knowledge and practice of better beekeeping. Grants and studies might be great, but I kind of like making my own decisions. As far as labels go, I like (Bee Herder) myself.
Elwood, you're dead on about the value of this web site!
However, your bees must be much better trained than mine, for you to be able to herd them. Mine seem to want to do what they want to do, irrespective of my desires! :lpf:
Never heard this, did they propose other terms to use in place of "hobbyist" or "Amateur"?
The new terms used are part time, full time. The beekeeper with 10 hives can be just as good a beekeeper as someone with 1000. It was felt that the term hobbyist was degrading in some way to that experienced 10 hive keeper.
The term bee landlord seems the most accurate. You build them a house and collect rent.
yeah, and sometimes, like a bad tenant, most of their family skips out with the rent! :lpf:
In 1983 I graduated from High School and "High School Autoshop"... I went to work as a mechanic... Somewhere, over the years we became Automotive Technicians. Same with the old Secretary, they became "Administrative Assistants"... Same thing, just a new title.
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