Master Beekeeper Program

On June 22, 2013 the Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA) membership voted to develop a VSBA Master Beekeeper Program (MBP). The membership also voted that Mr. Frank S. Walker would be the Program Director.

VSBA Master Beekeepers
VSBA Master Beekeeper Program

The 2013-2014 VSBA MBP Committee as appointed by the MBP Director are:

VSBA MBP Director: Frank S. Walker, President of Norfolk Beekeepers
VSBA MBP Senior Testing Official: Keith Tignor VDACS State Apiarist
VSBA MBP Testing Consultant: Ann Harman EAS Master Beekeeper
VSBA MBP Testing Consultant: Billy Davis EAS Master Beekeeper
VSBA MBP Testing Consultant: Frank Linton EAS Master Beekeeper

The MBP committee will assist with all aspects of the program, including testing, grading and reporting the results. Additionally, the MBP Committee will keep a data base for all levels of certification, and be responsible for issuing the proper certification certificates to the VSBA beekeepers for each level completed. Certificates will be presented at the annual Spring and Fall VSBA membership conference.

The Master Beekeeper Program of the VSBA will consist of 3 levels, namely: the Virginia Apprentice Beekeeper level; the Virginia Journeyman Beekeeper level, and the Virginia Master Beekeeper level. The specific requirements for each level are being established by the MBP committee and once completed will be posted on the VSBA website, under the heading Master Beekeeper.

The VSBA MBP’s desired goal is outreach. A MB keeping their knowledge and experience to themselves is not helpful to the program or others. Public speaking and writing are developed skills. MBP participants are required to contribute in both written and spoken manners.  A leadership component is mandatory at the local, state and/or regional level. Participation in leadership, particularly locally, is required.

Annual continuing education is mandatory in each certification level. One of the goals of the MBP is to establish a knowledgeable base of local beekeepers to support other individuals. The participants need to speak with one voice on beekeeping related topics. Otherwise the MBs could create a state of confusion in recommended practices. The VSBA MBP will list a standard of acceptable advanced training programs.

The VSBA MBP is not affiliated with the VA MBP managed through Virginia Tech (VT).  However, all VSBA beekeepers who have successfully completed testing at the Qualified & Certified levels of the VA MBP, can notify the VSBA MBP Chairman in writing that they want their testing certifications to be transferred to the VSBA MBP. All requests must also include a copy of the VT Certificate of Completion for the level completed. The VSBA MBP Committee will approve all requests received on or before February 1, 2014. After this date, all beekeepers must enter the MBP at the Apprentice Beekeeper testing level.

The VSBA MBP will not be an “Anyone can be a Master Beekeeper” program. It will require a significant amount of personal effort and investment of time in the classroom and in the apiary. The program is in its infancy stage and we are taking baby steps, so please remember this is a program under development. However, I have a panel of honeybee experts assisting me develop this MBP, so with your corporation and support, the VSBA MBP will be recognized as one of the top Master Beekeeper programs in the country.

Frank S. Walker
VSBA MBP Director