After a short six-year career as a public school teacher, George and his wife Susan transformed a hobby beekeeping operation into a commercial endeavor. The business started from a few swarms and a collection of retrieved nuisance hives, but now runs 5000 + colonies in three states. Sons Matt and Joe are incrementally taking control of the business, as George moves towards an as yet undefined retirement. Although the name of the company never changed, the focus of the beekeeping is now primarily pollination service, with honey, wax and bee sales making up no more than 30 percent of gross revenues. George is an active member of the beekeeping community, promoting the industry’s interests as past president of the American Beekeeping Federation. For a decade he served as a producer representative on the National Honey Board. He continues to serve as a trustee on the Foundation for the Preservation of the Honey Bee, and on the board of the Bee Informed Partnership. Currently George represents the industry on the national Honey Bee Health Coalition. For twenty years, he has hosted an annual Bee Day workshop and orientation at the Foothills Honey Company home site.
Listen to today’s episode to learn George’s experience as a land manager, good practice in cultivating pollinator habitats, and his work in the advocacy of pollinators.
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“We’re creating in many areas what are virtually pollinator deserts.“ – George Hansen
- How George got started in beekeeping
- What George does to prepare a site for pollinators
- The challenges land managers face with pollinator habitats
- Why pollinator habitats have been diminishing among land managers
- What George sees as a solution
- How the Bees and Butterfly Habitat Fund has helped protect pollinators
“You can grow almost anything in the Willamette Valley if you have water, the question is whether this kind of forage plot would be worth watering.“ – George Hansen
- Check out the 1910 edition of “The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture”
- Learn more about George’s favorite tool, the Hive Tool
- Contribute to the Bees and Butterfly Habitat Fund
- Connect with George Hansen at Foothills Honey Company