Beekeeping Bushfire Recovery Funding Boost

Mr Laybutt’s bees are used for bothe honey production and pollination services.


STATE government funding support for the beekeeping industry means recovery from the 2019 and 2020 bushfires can happen sooner rather than later.

According to data from the NSW state Government the 2019 to 2020 bushfire season destroyed over 9,800 hives, with another 88,000 suffering heat and smoke damage.

The NSW and Australian governments will provide $1.9 million in funding for apiary projects including an audit of NSW government-owned land for suitable bee sites, establishing pollinator-friendly plants in rural NSW, upskilling beekeepers by subsidising courses in biosecurity and queen breeding, establishing a ‘Honey Library’ by profiling the unique chemical composition of NSW honey and researching projects on new honey markets and enhancing forest and bee health for high-value medicinal honey.

Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall says identifying public land that can be used for hives will help increase honey production.

“We will also lead the development of a ‘Honey Library’ to help identify the unique profile of NSW honey to ensure provenance as well as protect the high-quality reputation of the state’s industry,” Mr Marshall said.

Local beekeeper Ben Laybutt has hives from Glenreagh down to Macksville and said all the projects were beneficial.

“We have been trying to get access to government owned lands so the investigation of better access into public land is a great thing as beekeepers are crying out for it.

“Traditionally State Forest are amenable but other government agencies haven’t been,” he said.

“For example on the coast there are a whole lot of paperbarks flowering through winter but most of the land they are on is controlled by the RMS, Coastal Reserves and National Parks and you can’t get into that.”

Mr Laybutt and his family have six hundred production hives and they are currently on ten blueberry farms as well as occupying another forestry site.

“Beekeepers need a lot of different sites and they need to be used when the flowers are in bloom,” he said.

“Some of the forestry sites that I pay a lease on I haven’t been able to use because of the fires.”


By Sandra MOON

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