Small Onondaga County Honeybee Farm Among Those to Apply for Federal Grant Onondaga Federal Grant to Help Small Honeybee Farm

RAYMOND LOWE: Probably 90 percent is me, one person.

CYERA WILLIAMS: With thousand of bees, 140 hives, and just 50 acres, Hiwire Honeybees owner wasn’t the only one working hard, The honeybees continued to produce throughout the pandemic causing more supplies than demand.

RAYMOND: I have an excess amount of honey in stock which hopefully, I’ll be able to sell, but in general my income has been lower since the pandemic.

CYERA: The Onondaga County Grant would allow Raymond Lowe to use the money to preserve his beekeeping supplies and materials to keep operations functioning.

RAYMOND: Most of what I do is company-related, so whatever I would call income really goes back into beekeeping.

CYERA: The Regional Market has allowed Raymond to make a couple of dollars but not much. Raymond says the big fair like the Apple Festival and New York State Fair is where he would make the money but hasn’t been an option in the last year.

RAYMOND: I have money that comes in if I have excess money, I a lot of the time will put it towards updating older equipment.

LAFAYETTE, N.Y.  (NCC News) — Raymond Lowe, owner of  Hiwire Honeybees Farm, will apply for a federal grant through Onondaga County to help sell more honey. For Hiwire Honeybees Farm, the pandemic has created more supply than demand due to farmer’s markets, fairs, and festivals being closed. Lowe has continued to harvest honey from his bees and sell to wholesale markets, but said he isn’t making enough to break even. 

“I have an excess amount of honey in stock, which hopefully, eventually, I’ll be able to sell but in general my income has been lower since the pandemic,” said Lowe. 

Lowe has been a beekeeper for 15 years and has been training other beekeepers in the Lafayette area to harvest and care for their honeybees. When the pandemic hit, Lowe said that he tried to keep money flowing into the farm by going to the CNY regional market every weekend since the pandemic started. The money Hiwire Honeybee Farm did generate went right back into the farm.

“Most of what I do is company-related, so whatever I would call income goes back into beekeeping anyways,” said Lowe.

Hiwire Honeybee Farm is also a part of the wholesale market where they sell large quantities for lower prices. When the pandemic shut down the economy, the wholesale markets stopped buying honey causing more honey to be stocked up. Lowe said they had to generate a plan to keep revenue coming in and not make too much honey. 

“The plan this year was to sell more bees and reduce our honey output,” said Lowe. “We sold a lot of colonies this spring and we’re just finishing up our sales.”

The Onondaga County grant would help make operations and marketing smoother for Hiwire Honeybee Farm. Last year, Hiwire Honeybees Farm produced around 70,000 pounds of honey and Lowe has processed most of that by himself.  

The equipment Lowe is currently using requires him to spend more time in the shop extracting and processing honey. Lowe said that the grant would help him get better equipment so he could spend more time with bees and customers.

“I have money that comes in, if I have excess money that comes in I would put it towards updating older equipment,” said Lowe. 

The Empire Farm Day Fair is a place Lowe said he would be able to sell honey and provide instructional education on how to maintain bees and colonies. Lowe said the grant would also help him purchase a booth so he could sell more of his supply and generate income lost in 2020.

Small farms in Onondaga County can receive up to $15,000 in grant money and have till July 23 to apply.

Hiwire Honeybees farm is located in Lafayette in Onondaga County

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