Presenter: George Hansen, Foothills Honey Company

The Times, They a-Changin

Over the last few decades the honey bee industry has been turned upside down and inside out because of events and trends in Agriculture and land use. This presentation provides a look at management decisions that have been prompted and incentivized by  those changes with an eye for future trends. 


After a short six year long career as a public school teacher, George Hansen transformed a hobby beekeeping operation into a commercial endeavor. Starting from a few swarms and a collection of retrieved nuisance hives, the company now runs 7000 colonies in three states. Although the name of the company never changed, the focus of the beekeeping is now primarily pollination service, with honey and wax making up no more than 30 percent of gross revenues. In the past few years, with the increased interest in beekeeping, sales of starter colonies have become an important part of the business as well. George and his wife Susan are currently transitioning their business to their sons Matt and Joe. George is an active member of the beekeeping community, promoting the industry’s interests as past president of the American Beekeeping Federation and formerly as a producer representative on the National Honey Board. He hosts an annual Bee Day workshop and orientation at the Foothills Honey Company home site. Currently, George represents the ABF on the Honey Bee Health Coalition, participating on work groups tackling forage, nutrition, crop pest control and beekeeping management issues. He serves on the boards of the Bee Informed Partnership, and Project Apis m. as well as the steering committee for the Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund.