Sorry to disappoint if you might have thought that this column would be about “the birds and the bees,” but there are two annual events coming up that are of importance to many of our local farmers and beekeepers. Both are next Saturday, Jan. 25, and both require pre-registration.

A class for beginning beekeepers will be held in the executive auditorium of the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon on Saturday, Jan. 25. The class will start at 9 a.m. with registration and end at 3:30 p.m. Instruction will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m.

Topics covered in the class include Honeybee Biology, Equipment Needed, Where and How to Get Bees, Locating the Apiary, Seasonal Management, Integrated Hive Management, and Hive Construction.

The cost of the class is $35 and is limited to 100 participants. Pre-register by sending a check for $35 payable to the Highlands Beekeepers Association to the Washington County Extension Office, 234 W. Valley St., Suite B, Abingdon, VA 24210. Participants will be given a Beekeeping Basics booklet, a certificate of completion, and a one-year membership in the Highlands Beekeepers Association.

The class is sponsored by the Washington County Extension Office and the Highlands Beekeepers Association. Call the extension office at 276-676-6309 if you have questions. Forms are available at the Smyth County Extension Office or you can visit the Smyth County Ag Extension Facebook page at

Also on Saturday, Jan. 25, the annual Virginia Tech Beef Health Conference is being held at the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM). This year’s focus will be on increasing profits from calf crops, and some of the lecture topics will include which practices will add the most dollars to your calf crop, deworming and fly control strategies, and vaccination protocols. After lunch, there will be a series of four 20-minute “labs” that will address pinkeye treatments, guessing weights for dosing; castration demo, and mineral and hay sampling.

The cost of the beef conference is $10 and free to anyone under 18, but you must pre-register. Forms are available at the Smyth County Extension Office, on the Virginia Tech Animal & Poultry Science web page or on the Smyth County AG Extension Facebook page (address above).

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about your business and passion.

Upcoming Events

Jan. 20--VQA Steer Take Up, Tri State Market.

Jan. 20--Farm Management Meeting, 6:30 p.m. at Farm Bureau Building, Marion. Topic is BQA Recertification.

Jan. 21--VFGC Winter Conference, The Meeting Place, Wytheville.

Jan. 22--VQA Heifer Take Up, Tri State Market.

Jan. 25--Beef Health Conference, VMRCVM, VA Tech Campus.

Jan. 27-30--VCE Annual Meeting, Hotel Roanoke.

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Dr. Andy Overbay is Smyth County’s agriculture and natural resources extension agent.

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