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Bret grew up in a beekeeping family – his father, grandfather and four uncles were involved in the bee business. Family get-togethers were mini beekeeping conferences where the primary topics were bee management, queen selection and disease control. Bret graduated in 1984 with a degree in accounting and entered the family business in 1986 as a fulltime beekeeper. In 1991, Bret entered the California pollination business with contracts for 2,000 hives of bees. That figure has grown to 60,000+ hives in California. At present Mr. Adee has bees in 10 states. Bret has been active in the South Dakota Beekeepers Association, serving as Secretary and Treasure for a number of years. He was a representative to the National Honey Board election committee and alternate for the Area Three Board of Directors. Bret has served as the AHPA representative to the National Honey Bee Advisory Board (NHBAB) beginning January 2010, and was appointed co-chair of NHBAB in June 2010. Additionally, he has been the co-chair of the Pollinator Protection Work Group of the EPA Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) from Spring 2011 to the present.
Thomas R. (Rick) Smith is a native Arizonan. He and his wife Mary, of 38 years, operate a commercial beekeeping business and 500 acres of farm land irrigated from the Colorado River in Yuma, Arizona. He received a B. A. degree from the University of Arizona majoring in Biology with minors in Range and Watershed Management. He has been a Sioux Honey Association member for 37 years. Rick is a fifth generation beekeeper. Four generations ago the family discovered that farming and beekeeping worked together well. Cotton and Durum wheat are the major crops that they grow today. Rick is a Private Applicator and Fumigator and applies many of the farm chemicals used on the farm. They have two children, Justin and Stacey, both married and two grandchildren. He enjoys hunting and saltwater fishing as hobbies.
Randy, a South Dakota native, and his wife Roberta started keeping bees in 1990 and Harvest Honey was formed when an opportunity arose to purchase 750 beehives from Roberta’s grandfather in North Central Kansas and be mentored from his 60 years of experience. By 1993, the operation was expanded to 1,500 hives as he also began to move bees to central California for almond pollination. In 1997, the operation was running 4,000 hives due to an increased demand for bees for pollination. This same year, the business started a transition to move the operation to Bismarck, ND — finishing the move in 1998. In 2003, a separate business founded as IntegriBees LLC was formed with the purchase of a bee operation in Danbury, TX. The Danbury operation is now the base operation for raising queens and bees for Texas and ND honey production, as well as wintering bees until they are sent to California for almond pollination. Randy currently serves as the Vice President of the American Honey Producers Association and is on the board of directors of the National Honey Bee Advisory Board and is a founding member of the Pollinator Stewardship Council. Outside of beekeeping, Randy worked as a mechanic, welder and auto body repairman which all lend well to operating a large bee operation. Randy has two daughters Rochelle and Rebekah.
Steven Coy is a third generation commercial beekeeper and honey producer. He is a co-owner of Coy’s Honey Farm Inc. and along with his father and brothers, operates 12,000 hives for honey production in Mississippi, Arkansas, SE Missouri and pollination in California. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Plant Science and a Master’s Degree in Biology, both from Arkansas State University. He is a charter member and current President of the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association as well as an Executive Board member of the AHPA. Steven manages the queen rearing and honey production in southern Mississippi. In addition to his work as a beekeeper, he also worked as a research assistant on the control of Tarnished Plant Bug in Cotton at ASU, and as a research technician at the USDA Biological Control Research Unit in Stoneville, MS.
Jeff Anderson was born and raised on a dairy farm in Minnesota, he is familiar with the need for, and has applied crop protection products. After graduating high school he changed from ‘farming’ cows to bees and currently owns and operates California Minnesota Honey Farms, a family run commercial migratory bee operation. CMHF bees are utilized early spring in California pollinating almonds, early and late blooming cherries, and apples. Bees are then moved to Minnesota for summer honey production. Jeff brings some hard earned understanding of the legal system to this group as his operation had a fight for its life with International Paper and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in the early 2000’s over pesticide misuse on hybrid poplar tree plantations in Central Minnesota. During that 5 year fight Jeff lost about 11,000 of the 5000 hives he ran to pesticides. One of the interesting outcomes of the settlement negotiations was a brochure produced by the Minnesota DNR for its foresters, Protecting Pollinators in Minnesota Woodlands. Jeff became involved with NDPF as pesticides are again threatening, this time not just “California Minnesota Honey Farms”, but beekeepers nation wide. On rare occasions when Jeff can be pried away from his bees and seeing to their well being, he can be found with his wife (of 36 years) Christine, his kids and grandkids chasing gecko lizards across sand in Southern California or dipping his paddle in one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.
Zac Browning is a fourth generation commercial beekeeper from Jamestown, North Dakota. His business is engaged in honey production and crop pollination in North Dakota, Idaho, Washington, and California. Zac is a past president and current legislative committee member of the American Beekeeping Federation. He also serves on the EPA’s Pesticide Program Dialogue committee pollinator work group and was recently the North American beekeeper representative at SETACs Pellston global pollinator toxicology workshop. Zac actively contributes to pollinator research and is a current board member of the National Honey Board and Project Apis Melifera (PAM) and serves on their respective research committees.
Darren Cox is president of Cox Honey of Utah, LLC. A fourth generation beekeeper, Cox’s family started keeping bees in St. George, Utah in the late 1800’s. In 1929 Cox Honey was incorporated as a family business. Cox bought and took over operation of Cox Honey from his father, Duane Cox, in 2002. He manages between 4,000 and 5,000 hives of honeybees. Cox attended Utah State University. He was nominated to the EPA Farm, Ranch, and Rural Committees Advisory Committee in 2007; appointed as chairman for the American Honey Producers Association Ag Advisory Board in 2008; appointed as Chairman for the National Honey Bee Advisory Board in 2009; and has been an elected delegate for the American Honey Producers Association for the state of Utah since 2008. Cox is currently a member of the EPA Pesticide Program Dialog Committee representing the US Bee Industry.
Michele Colopy has more than seventeen years of experience in a variety of nonprofit organizations. She holds a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from The University of Akron. Her experience includes organizations in the performing arts, housing and homelessness, foreclosure prevention, community development, and health and wellness. Her father raised bees for his small apple orchard in Ohio, and she helped with the honey harvest.
Susan Kegley is a beginning beekeeper and a PhD organic chemist with a strong interest in the effects of pesticides on pollinators. She runs Pesticide Research Institute (PRI), a small consulting business in Berkeley, CA with a focus on how pesticides move through the environment after they are applied, and the effects they have on humans and the environment. She works with beekeepers to provide guidance on how pollinators may be exposed to pesticides and which pesticides are likely to be most problematic for bees. In 2012, Susan and the PRI staff worked with commercial beekeepers to develop a survey to assess which crops are most correlated with acute bee kills, and will be continuing that work to refine the analysis. She is currently a member of the EPA Pesticide Program Dialog Committee, providing stakeholder input to US EPA on pesticide policies and risk assessment. Susan lives in Berkeley with her husband Geoff, where they have a large garden, two cats, 11 chickens, and two beehives.