Training on Accessible Apiculture for People and Veterans with Disabilities thru Virtual and Onsite training.

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2024: $75,589.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2026
Grant Recipient: Accessible Beekeeping
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Principal Investigator:
Justin Ruger
Accessible Beekeeping


  • Animals: bees


  • Education and Training: extension, technical assistance, workshop

    Proposal abstract:

    In the United States, Apiculture not only produces honey, a USDA
    recognized speciality crop, but provides pollination resources to
    farmers across the SARE Southern Region. Beekeeping revenue has
    been contracting at a compound annual growth rate of 6.7% over
    the past five years and is expected to total $624.2 billion in
    2023, with profit set to reach 4.5%. However, According to data
    from the USDA, the number of honeybee colonies is estimated to
    have declined by 22% as of 2022. Our goal is to provide our
    beneficiaries, the historically underserved, the knowledge and
    skills to participate in Apiculture to increase the quality of
    life and independence for those with disabilities. An added
    benefit is the increase in honey producers that will participate
    in supporting the United States economy. Apiculture is a branch
    of agriculture that is blossoming and one of the easier branches
    to modify for someone with limitations.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The goal of this project is to train organizations at multiple
    universities and state extensions to increase the quality of life
    for the historically underserved by training organizations to aid
    the benefactors in accessible apiculture.

    An Accessible Apiary is one that is specifically designed to
    promote safety and inclusion to all those that wish to
    participate in apiculture irregardless of disability. This
    includes considering design factors such as the material used to
    build the apiary, location for access, etc. By training
    professionals on the design of an Accessible Apiary this broadens
    the knowledge the professionals possess and increase the reach of
    apiculture to those that are historically

    This project will give a broad overview through education on
    accessible apiculture using the Accessible Beekeeping 501c3
    YouTube channel. The YouTube channel will educate the trainers
    and benefactors on accessible hive types and hardware to benefit
    the historically underserved through the use of online
    instruction. This will include the knowledge to make or suggest
    modifications and adaptations based on the limitations presented
    to them. Apiculture has a large number of hive systems that are
    adaptable to the user, rather than having to adapt the user to
    the hive system.

    However, the knowledge needed to be successful in apiculture is
    too vast to include everything in online training. Training in
    adaptive hardware, hive systems, and their possible modifications
    allows the trainer to instruct our beneficiaries adequately so
    that they may employ the suggestions. The organization will be
    able to guide the beneficiary towards success through a list of
    guidelines, adaptations, modifications, and knowledge gained to
    further the quest for mastery of accessible apiculture. This will
    be done using education at apiculture conferences and
    universities in the SARE Southern Regions.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.