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Challenges and Opportunities

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Since 2015, the Heroes to Hives program has been leading the nation in training military veterans, National Guard members, Active Duty personnel, Reservists and their dependents in the art and science of beekeeping. Founded by Bee Wise Farms LLC and Michigan Food and Farming Systems’ (MIFFS) Veterans in Agriculture Network, the program began as a way to engage veterans in beekeeping as an opportunity for them to continue serving their nation by protecting our nation’s food security and work with other veterans to recreate the support network of the military.

 

Heroes to Hives is designed to train veterans in beginning beekeeping through a free online training program that is coupled with on-ground training opportunities to get hands-on experience and to develop a community of support with other veterans. In 2017, Michigan State University’s Michigan Pollinator Initiative joined forces with the team and currently hosts the Heroes to Hives’ online course and offers students that complete the course a Certificate of Completion through MSU Extension. Since 2015, the program has trained over 7,500 students in all 50 States and US Territories.

 

As growth of the program accelerated, additional partners were brought on to support the need for on-ground training in additional states. To facilitate this growth, Heroes to Hives partnered with the University of Missouri Extension, University of Minnesota’s Bee Veterans program, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Great Plains Master Beekeeping program, and Michigan Veterans of Foreign Wars to provide on-ground training opportunities for students throughout the Midwest. To support the continued growth of Heroes to Hives, MIFFS was recently awarded a $750,000 USDA NIFA Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans grant which provides funding for Heroes to Hives training in partner states and to expand the online curriculum to include a small business development module developed by the Small Business Administration’s Veterans Business Outreach Center in Missouri and a module and job seeking tool focused on preparing veterans to take advantage of jobs in the commercial beekeeping industry through partnerships with the American Beekeeping Federation and Project Apis M

 

For additional information or to learn more about the Heroes to Hives program visit www.HeroestoHives.com or email Heroes to Hives’ National Director Dr. Adam Ingrao at adam@miffs.org

 

How to Join the Program:

Go to www.HeroestoHives.com and register for the free online course. Once registered, students are able to have full access to the Heroes to Hives curriculum in a self paced online format, and a full schedule of on-ground classes offered during the beekeeping season throughout Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota and Nebraska. Out of state veterans, National Guard members, Active Duty personnel, and reservists located anywhere across the globe are able to participate in the full online course.