Alabama Cooperative Extension System to host beekeeping course, modernizing beekeeping industry statewide; industrial hemp program registration opens

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Special to the
Opelika Observer

Beekeeping is going digital. Beekeepers across the state will have the opportunity to participate in an online beekeeping course series designed for both hobby and small commercial beekeepers. The workshop, conducted by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, will cover several topics of information important to the industry.
Tony Glover, Alabama Extension county coordinator in Cullman County, said there are three sessions of the workshop planned.
“These webinars are free and accessible to anyone with a computer, tablet or phone that has internet access,” Glover said.
Beekeeping Series
The hour-long sessions will be on consecutive Tuesday evenings beginning Oct. 15 at 6 p.m.
• Oct. 15: Equipment Tips from an Apiarist – Tammy Horn-Potter, Kentucky state apiarist, will offer equipment tips based on her equipment successes and failures.
• Oct. 22: Making More Money With Your Honey – Kevin Burkett, Alabama Extension Farm and Agribusiness Management agent, will discuss ways to maximize profits.
• Oct. 29: Honeybee Breeds: Choosing the Right Bee for Your Area – Jack Rowe, Alabama Extension’s beekeeping program lead, will share the pros and cons associated with various honeybee lines.
Registration
For information or to register for the online beekeeping course, visit the Alabama Extension website.
Allyson Shabel, an Alabama Extension home grounds agent, who also serves on Alabama Extension’s beekeeping program leadership team, said it is important the people pre-register for the course.
“Once people pre-register, we will be able to provide them with instructions on how to connect to the webinar,” Shabel said.
The webinars display through Zoom, a web conferencing service.
“People will want to download and install the Zoom software before the meeting to ensure they don’t have any difficulties connecting to the meeting,” Shabel added.
Participants can download the free Zoom application from the Zoom website.
2020 Alabama Industrial Hemp Program Registration opens
Registration for the 2020 Alabama Industrial Hemp Program opens Oct 7.
Growers, processors, handlers and universities will have until Nov. 14 to submit applications.
Documentation Required
Alabama Extension’s Hemp Action Team Leader Dennis Delaney said it is important applicants submit all required documentation as well the application fee.
“Everyone must submit a fully completed application, a required criminal background check, and the $200 non-refundable application fee,” Delaney said.
“Not submitting all your required documentation could delay or prevent your application from being approved.”
Interested growers will be able to download application forms and other required materials from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI). The anticipated dates for accepting hemp applications for the 2020 Hemp Program will be Oct. 7 through Nov. 14.
In 2018, the ADAI rolled out a licensing and inspection program for the production of industrial hemp.
Delaney emphasizes that the program is highly regulated.
“It is important for the public to understand that no one can grow, transport or process hemp without a permit issued by the ADAI,” Delaney said.
In 2019, permitted growers planted the first legal crop of industrial hemp in Alabama since World War II.
Extension’s Hemp Action Team
Alabama Extension’s Hemp Action team is developing management practices and protocols related to cultivation and in particular insect and disease management for industrial hemp.
“The team has identified a number of insects and diseases on hemp in Alabama this year,” said team plant pathologist Kassie Conner.
“We do not know yet if all of them are causing economic damage or are merely incidental.”
Conner and Delaney said current licensed growers should contact members of the team for help identifying insect pests and diseases.
More Information
Find more information about the Alabama Extension Hemp Action Team as well as contact information by visiting Alabama Extension online.

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