THE vital role the nation's beekeepers play in nourishing communities across the world will be celebrated this year through the inaugural Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) Australian Beekeeper Award program.
The program aims to recognise a person who has made a positive difference to the Australian honey bee industry and is open to all registered Australian beekeepers over 18 years of age.
AHBIC chair Trevor Weatherhead said the program would showcase the people working across honey production and pollination services who collectively generated $14.2 billion for the national economy each year.
"Our beekeepers underpin Australian agriculture by managing the honey bees that pollinate crops including almonds, apples, avocadoes, blueberries, cucumbers, pumpkins, and rockmelons," Mr Weatherhead said.
"We are looking for registered beekeepers who have a clear and compelling vision for the honey bee industry's future growth and the potential to develop as an effective and respected industry leader."
At a time when industry wants to better connect with consumers to help them understand the significance of honey bees, Mr Weatherhead said advocacy efforts will be a key determination in the judging criteria.
"Raising awareness of the importance of honey bees in pollination services and global food security is critical to supporting our industry's future, and we will be looking for individuals who can demonstrate positive leadership in this space," he said.
AHBIC will work closely with its six state beekeeping association members to facilitate the application and judging process, with each association nominating one finalist to participate in a two-day professional development workshop.
The successful Australian Beekeeper Award winner will then be announced at the fourth Australian Bee Congress in Sydney, in June.
"It will be wonderful to shine the spotlight on the beekeepers who, like many other farmers, work in challenging conditions to provide Australians, and the world, with delicious honey, as well as critical pollination services for other agriculture and horticulture industries," Mr Weatherhead said.
To apply for the awards, beekeepers can either apply directly to their state body, or they can be nominated.
Applications close on March 31.
Start the day with all the big news in agriculture. Sign up here to receive our daily Stock Journal newsletter.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.