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Agricultural

26 July, 2022

Hiveaid: Buy a bee campaign supports keepers

By Sharon Bonthuys


Describing European honey bees as “Australia’s littlest livestock”, not-forprofit organisation Rural Aid has started a fundraising campaign to support beekeepers impacted by the varroa mite outbreak in NSW.

The “Buy a Bee” campaign is part of Rural Aid’s wider “Hiveaid” program which first emerged to support the commercial honey industry following the devastating bushfires in 2019 and 2020.

The program also supported beekeepers impacted by flooding in 2021 and 2022, and is now focusing on the varroa incursion.

“Buy a Bee” is designed to assist primary producer beekeepers who have listed their hives with the Department of Primary Industries (DPI). It provides eligible beekeepers with a prepaid $500 Visa card and access to counselling.

The program is open until the end of next month, or until all available funds are allocated.

“The money that is donated to the Buy A Bee campaign will help fund the $500 Visa cards and the counselling on offer to Rural Aid’s beekeepers,” said Rural Aid CEO, John Warlters.

“Beekeepers who receive this support may choose to spend part or all of the $500 to purchase bees. They may also spend the $500 in other ways they determine best meet their needs at this time,” he said.

Beekeepers who are not classified as primary producers are ineligible to receive the Rural Aid support, Mr Warlters said.

The organisation’s definition of a “primary producer” mirrors the Australian Government’s guidelines.

“However, Rural Aid’s free counselling program is open to hobby farmers and their family members,” Mr Warlters said.

"We encourage hobby beekeepers to contact our counselling team. We also recommend hobby beekeepers reach out to the Rural Financial Counselling Service for assistance with financial matters.”

The organisation is expecting to assist dozens of beekeepers in the coming months as they are impacted by the varroa mite. Depending on the spread of the mite, that number may increase to hundreds of beekeepers, Mr Warlters said.

“Rural Aid is extremely grateful for every dollar that is donated to the campaign,” he said.



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