The state finalists in the inaugural Australian Honey Bee Industry Council Australian Beekeeper Award have been announced with NSW represented by Central West Apiaries' Zac Alcock.
Zac is joined by four other beekeepers who are having a positive impact on the honey bee industry.
The new awards program aims to celebrate emerging leaders within the vital beekeeping industry, which contributes $14.2 billion through pollination services to the national economy each year, as well as supporting rural and regional communities and helping to ensure food security throughout Australia and the world.
AHBIC chair, Trevor Weatherhead, said the finalists came from a diversity of backgrounds - from multigenerational beekeepers to professional pollination service providers and recreationalists who have turned professional - and congratulated them for demonstrating their own unique and compelling vision for the industry.
"We are delighted by the calibre of entrants in the inaugural awards, and I congratulate the beekeepers who were judged finalists by their respective state beekeeping associations," Mr Weatherhead said.
"Each of them has articulated their own distinct perspective and thoughts on the long-term sustainability of the industry, as well as innovative ideas for raising awareness of the importance of honey bees to Australians.
"In addition to producing the best honey in the world, our beekeepers underpin Australian agriculture by managing the honey bees that pollinate crops including almonds, apples, avocadoes, blueberries, cucumbers, pumpkins, and rockmelons.
"At a time when it is important to better connect with consumers and communicate this critical role honey bees play in feeding Australia and the world, it's encouraging to see the enthusiastic group of finalists who are on course to be the leaders of the future."
NSW's Zac Alcock is a third-generation beekeeper and enthusiastic to continue his life-long education in honey bees to provide leadership that will support the industry's growth.
He has travelled abroad to learn about the pests and diseases that are biosecurity risks for Australia's honey bee industry and to gain greater knowledge of various aspects of beekeeping, including alternative bee feeding techniques.
Zac was able to share this knowledge with fellow beekeepers to support honey bee survival during the 2019-20 bushfire season.
The state finalists will attend a two-day development workshop in Brisbane before the successful award winner is announced at the fourth Australian Bee Congress being held in Sydney from June 8 - 11.
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