The Apis Information Resource Newsletter for December 19, 2015 has been published . It features a discussion on the U.S. national beekeeping conventions:
The American Beekeeping Federation’s North American Beekeeping Conference and Trade Show will be in this neck of the woods, south of Jacksonville, FL January 5-9, 2016 . This ought to be quite a show, hosting also the American Bee Research Conference (ABRC) under the auspices of the American Association of Professional Apiculturists (AAPA) and the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) Anybody confused about all these abbreviations/acronyms can read up on them here.
Meanwhile the “other” national beekeeping organization, American Honey Producers Association, is meeting the exact same time in Albuquerque, NM. If this seems passing strange, how about the fact that both outfits met last January only blocks apart in Anaheim, CA? They also call their events pretty much the same thing, a convention and trade show dedicated to beekeepers and honey producers.
Given the number of beekeepers in the country, this has always been somewhat of a conundrum. Think about, for example, the duplicate efforts these groups must go through each year to put on something that will attract participants from a limited pool of possible attendees . Beyond this, both events often call on the same people (researchers, extension folks, governmental regulators, etc.) to participate in their programs. Finally, each group uses its resources to mount web sites and other informational tools dedicated to the same audience.
As I wrote in 1996, from Portland, OR, that’s where it all started: “The last American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) meeting in Portland was in 1969. It was a momentous one according to all accounts. For it marked the secession of a cadre of members that became the American Honey Producers Association (AHPA). Ever since then, this group has vied with the Federation for the hearts, minds and dues of the beekeeper. The division resulted in two national associations walking the halls of the nation’s capital, each seeking to represent a very small beekeeping industry, but often with a different message. It took a long time and common foe, Chinese honey, to finally get both groups to cooperate once again. This culminated in the successful anti-dumping suit that almost doubled the price of bulk honey. Only time will tell, however, whether this auspicious beginning, a celebration of elevated honey prices in in 1996, will bring the Federation full circle culminating in a reunion with the AHPA.” You can read the rest of the story here.
The history of both groups continues to reflect that there has been little reconciliation in the ensuing years. Perhaps the raft of new beekeepers that is being experienced in the country will contribute to a future transformation of this relationship?