Bees Among the Focus at California Ag Day on Wednesday, March 21
March 16, 2012
|Eric Mussen offers honey to Poppy, the California State Fair bear, at last year's California Ag Day. At right is Kathy Kellison, executive director of Partners for Sustainable Pollination, headquartered in Santa Rosa. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)|
DAVIS--Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology will be among those lending his expertise when the annual California Ag Day takes place Wednesday, March 21 on the west side of the California State Capitol grounds.
This year's overall theme is "Know Your California Farmer."
The event will be open to legislators and staff only from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and then open to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. CDFA Secretary Karen Ross will participate in a press conference, "Eat Local, Buy California Grown" at 11:30. At noon, a stage presentation will be emceed by Michael Marks "Your Produce Man."
Mussen, a member of the California State Beekeepers' Association (CSBA), will answer questions in the beekeeping booth and distribute bee-related information. Members of the Sacramento Area Beekeepers Association (SABA) also will staff the booth. Giveways include Häagen-Dazs ice cream, Honeystix (honey-filled straws), bee information and honey recipes. Also planned: a bee observation hive.
California Ag Day is sponsored by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), California Women for Agriculture, and the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom.
The theme spotlights the contributions of farmers and ranchers from California's diverse counties and growing regions, according to CDFA spokesperson Steve Lyle, director of public affairs.
"Ag Day is an annual event designed to recognize California's agricultural community by showcasing the numerous commodities that are produced in our state--and the farmers and ranchers who bring them to our tables," Lyle said. "It is also a day for the agricultural community to show its appreciation of California's by bringing together state legislators, government leaders and the public for a half day of agricultural education and treats."
Among those staffing the booth and answering questions will be newly elected CSBA president Bryan Ashurst of Westmorland; and booth coordinator Carlen Jupe of Salida, secretary-treasurer of the CSBA.
Häagen-Dazs, which generously provides the ice cream, is a strong supporter of UC Davis bee research. Honey bees and ice cream go together; at least half of the brand's flavors require bee pollination.
The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven is a half-acre bee friendly garden next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. In addition, Häagen-Dazs provided funds for postdoctoral scholar Michelle Flenniken, who researches bee viruses.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology