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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

Interest in honey bees by the public has increased dramatically in recent years. There is a growing demand for apicultural information from public agencies including the Texas Department of Agriculture and Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Especially in the Extension service few employees have apicultural expertise or know who they can trust to give creditable, researched-based information to citizens.

Late in 2014 a group of bee keepers began the process of creating a Texas Master Beekeepers Certification program, similar to Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists. The first offering of the testing was held in March 2015 with 68 students earning the apprentice title. The five year certification is built on training, experience and testing, scoring a 70 percent or higher on both a written and practical examinations.

The board will offer a third round of training and testing on Friday, April 15 at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Brenham. Registration is now open for the this testing session of the Texas Master Beekeeper Program. Please use the online form posted on at (  Testing is limited to 45 people so please register soon to secure your spot. Once you submit your information you will need to mail a check or money order of $50.00 to: Texas Apiary Inspection Service, 2475 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2475. Registration will not be confirmed until the payment is received.

Please make the checks payable to AgriLife Research Department of Entomology.

The confirmation e-mail will contain information you will need on the examination day including a supply list and other important information. The deadline is April 8 or until the class is full.

In addition, apprentice beekeepers who trained last spring will have the opportunity to test for their advanced level provided they have completed the advance level learning modules and documented at least five public service credits. That information is located on the same on-line form at:

The Master Beekeeper Program is administered by a program board. Members of the board provide training for students in the program, produce educational materials used in the program, create and administer certification exams, as well as oversee all logistical components of the program. The program board includes: Mr. Mark Dykes, Texas Apiary Inspection Service; Mr. Lance Wilson, Texas Beekeepers Association; Dr. Juliana Rangel, Honey Bee Lab, Texas A&M University, Department of Entomology; Mr. Fred M. Hall, Tarrant County Agricultural and Natural Resource Agent, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension; and Mary Reed, Apiary Inspector, Texas Apiary Inspection Service. All five are long-time beekeepers and have a deep interest in the industry and developing bee keepers who understand the frail nature of pollinators and their importance to the ecosystem.

For more information contact Mark Dykes at or any of the board members.



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