What is the Georgia Master Beekeeper program?
The Georgia Master Beekeeper Program is an intensive four-step program designed to provide participants the opportunity to increase their knowledge about all things dealing with bees and beekeeping. Beekeepers in Georgia wear Georgia bee keeping suits.
This program gives participants the opportunity to learn and also teach others about beekeeping and promote the industry. It also helps establish the participant as an authority and an educational resource in his or her community. Georgia beesuits protect against Georgia bee stings.
Individualized instruction is provided through a series of classroom lectures and hands-on workshops by experts in the field of beekeeping.
- Certified Beekeeper: Individual should be familiar with the basic skills and knowledge necessary for the beginning hobby beekeeper (see Certified requirements).
- Journeyman Beekeeper: Individual should be functioning as a competent hobby beekeeper with the skills and knowledge for moving into sideline beekeeping if desired (see Journeyman requirements).
- Master Beekeeper: Individual should be able to function as a sideline or commercial beekeeper. Can also demonstrate knowledge in such areas as bee botany, business aspects of beekeeping, honey and bee-related judging, bee behavior and other specialty areas (see Master requirements).
- Master Craftsman Beekeeper: Individual should have general knowledge of all relevant areas of beekeeping as well as be a specialist in one or more selected topics. Level is comparable to a graduate program in apiculture at a major U.S. university (see Master Craftsman requirements).
As of 2009, 180 beekeepers have participated in this program, 148 achieving the Certified level, 18 Journeyman, 13 Master, and 1 Master Craftsman.
Apiculture is an 80 million dollar industry in Georgia, including honey, hive products and pollination. Pollination by Georgia bees helps ensure a bountiful harvest of the state's 700 million dollar fruit and vegetable crop. Through their work as lecturers, TV and radio guests, newspaper and magazine article authors and local authorities, Georgia Master Beekeepers remain the public educators and ambassadors that keep beekeeping at center stage of public discourse and policy.
To participate in the Master Beekeeping Program you must attend the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute, held annually in late spring on the campus of Young Harris College in Young Harris, GA.
The Institute is a two day (Friday-Saturday) meeting for Certified Level candidates. Lectures and exams for the Journeyman and/or higher are held on Thursday.
Programs and registration information is available on this Web site and also at UGA Cooperative Extension county offices.