Tennessee Beekeepers Receive Honey Extractor Equipment
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Agriculture Commissioner Ken Givens today joined with the Tennessee Beekeepers Association in announcing the purchase of two portable honey extractors to help beekeepers statewide.
“We are proud to be a part of this project,” said Givens. “While the value of honey and beeswax production is a notable figure in Tennessee, the value of honeybees as pollinators of agricultural crops is vitally important. This is one more way we’re helping to support farm diversification and innovation in Tennessee and helping producers to take advantage of specialty markets.”
The extraction process—extracting the honey from the comb—is the beginning stage for a beekeeper in processing honey for use or sale. Currently, Tennessee beekeepers often use cut comb honey due to the expense of extracting equipment. The new units will help eliminate that cost for many beekeepers across the state.
“This equipment offers beekeepers access to state-of-the-art equipment that makes extracting honey a much simpler task,” says Linda Shelton, value-added food specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA). “All beekeepers, media, and the public are invited to attend the unveiling and a demonstration of the extractors at the Williamson County Agriculture Center at 3 p.m. on July 13.”
The purchase of the honey extractor was made possible through the Agricultural Growth Initiative, which aims to build farm income by helping farmers expand or improve their operations through production of diversified agricultural products. In the first year of the Ag Growth Initiative, TDA funded 152 projects totaling more than $645,000.
The initiative is funded through a state appropriation for the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP), a comprehensive plan to improve cattle production, expand animal health services and encourage farm diversification and innovation. In May, the Tennessee General Assembly approved Governor Phil Bredesen’s proposal for a $1 million increase and allocated a total of $6 million in TAEP funding for the fiscal year that began July 1.
Jim Garrison, Executive Vice President of the Tennessee Beekeepers Association (TBA) and one of more than 1,000 beekeepers now harvesting honey in Tennessee, says that beekeepers will find suiting up to extract their honey is a much simpler task when renting the portable equipment at a minimal cost.
“We believe this project will help hobby and small beekeepers extract their honey crops, allowing them to be able to reuse their drawn wax combs year after year. This will enable Tennessee’s honey producers to increase their honey production by up to a third,” said Garrison.
“The rental of the equipment will be offered at a cost that will pretty much cover the upkeep and maintenance of the extractors,” said Garrison.
The procedure for extracting involves loading the frames of honey-filled comb into a machine that releases the honey from the honeycomb, scraping off the very top of the beeswax comb and exposing honey. The uncapped frames are then loaded into another part of the machine that extracts the honey by spinning, much like the spin cycle on a washing machine. After this process, the honey is strained twice before bottling.
Cultivated crops known to benefit from honeybee pollination are estimated at about $9 billion annually in the United States.
For more information about the honey extractors, contact Jim Garrison at (615) 377-7696. For more information about Tennessee food products or TAEP funding, visit the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Market Development Web site at www.picktnproducts.org.