Featured Beekeeper of the Month
This month our featured beekeeper is Vivian Bernau. She is the daughter of James and Mary Bernau and they live on an acreage in the middle of Altoona. Their address is 2001 8th Street SW, Altoona, Iowa 50009. Vivian is another participant in the Youth Beekeeping Partnership Program sponsored by the Iowa Honey Producers Association. Her mother is a 5th grade teacher and her father is a market reporter for the USDA. Vivian is a senior this year and has a brother in 10th grade. She attends Southeast Polk High School in Pleasant Hill, Iowa. There she participates in band, National Honor Society, French Club and Interact Club. She is also on the school’s Math and Quiz Bowl teams. Music is her hobby and she plays the cello and clarinet. Vivian is also the treasurer of the SEP FFA chapter where she is a member of the meat judging team. They placed second at the state contest. After she graduates this spring, Vivian plans to go to Grinnell College or St. John’s College in Annapolis to study chemistry.
Gordon Powell is Vivian’s mentor. She took the beekeeping classes in Winterset with Pat Randall. The Bernau family was a large garden. They grow chemical free fruits and vegetables that are sold to the community. This is why Vivian got interested in beekeeping. She says she loves comb honey. She learned about the youth beekeeping program at the state fair. She also worked at the Iowa Honey Producers booth this past year. Vivian tells me every time she goes to check her bees she is followed by her kittens. They try to play with the bees and end up getting stung. Next spring she plans to add another hive and keep her bee project going, with her dad’s help, while she is away at college.
Thanks for your story Vivian.
Submitted by Ron Wehr
President Plans to Close Weslaco Research Station
The Weslaco Bee Lab has been marked for closure in President Bush's 2009 budget. In fact, the entire Kika de la Garza Subtropical Agricultural Research Center is slated to be closed, one of 11 USDA-ARS sites listed.
Reportedly, ARS plans to transfer the Weslaco bee research programs and personnel to Beltsville and Weslaco.
The budget proposes more than $84 million in cuts to the ARS.
Sandy Hayes, a spokeswoman for the research service, stressed to a local newspaper that the Weslaco facility is only being considered for closure and that no decisions will be final until Congress approves the budget later this year.
"I don't think anyone needs to break out in a sweat yet," Hayes said.
The center's origins date to 1931, when the USDA first placed a scientist in Weslaco to research vegetable and citrus processing. Researchers at the center now study honey bee colonies, organic farming and pest threats, among other subjects.
The ARS's budget for the current fiscal year ending Sept. 30 is $1.12 trillion. The proposed budget for next year is $1.4 trillion.
In a statement, Democratic Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, who represents the area, criticized the proposed cuts to the research service's budget.
"Like most of the President's budget, this proposal is a misguided attempt at short-term fiscal responsibility that will harm the residents and economy of South Texas," Rep. Hinojosa said. "I will do everything in my power to ensure that this valuable research center remains fully-funded and continues to contribute to our area for years to come."
(Adapted from the McAllen (Texas) Monitor, www.themonitor, Feb. 5, 2008) This article was printed in THE SPEEDY BEE, January 2008
How to Contact Your
The Honorable ___________________
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Ask for your Senator's office;
Request to speak to the agricultural aide.
The Honorable ___________________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Ask for your Representative's office; Request to speak to the agricultural aide.
To locate and email your Congressman and Senators: