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Missouri to host Heroes to Hives

A free program to introduce military veterans to beekeeping will buzz into Missouri this spring.

Heroes to Hives, which started at Michigan State Uni­versity in 2015, is expanding into the Show-Me State with support from the University of Missouri Extension. The comprehensive, nine-month educational program com­bines online classes and hands-on learning at Heroes to Hives apiaries. In Missouri, the in-person sessions will be held at the University of Central Missouri Research Farm in Warrensburg.

“A lot of veterans, as they are returning from overseas or getting out the service, have an interest in getting into ag­riculture, specifically small farms,” said Travis Harper, MU Extension agronomist. “Beekeeping is one of the things that fits well with that.”

Participants will study current, science-based best manage­ment practices for beekeeping while working with a network of other beekeeping veterans. The program is designed to provide a broad depth of beekeeping knowledge and allow veterans to develop personal and professional relationships that ensure long-term peer support. Students will learn the importance of pollinators in U.S. agriculture and how to protect managed hon­eybees through small-scale, sustainable beekeeping operations.

“The core instruction is through Michigan State University, but we will be supplementing some of that online instruction with topics that are specific to Missouri,” Harper said. “Ob­viously, being quite a bit farther south than Michigan, our beekeeping season is all different. We’ll address those topics in the online portion.”

Classes start in March, and registration is open until Feb. 28 for all active-duty military personnel, National Guard/Reserv­ists, veterans and their dependents (spouses and children 18 years or older of participants only.) There is no cost to attend, and no prior beekeeping experience is required. For more in­formation or to apply, visit online at heroestohives.com.

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