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Beekeeping makes a buzz in Meade County

Joe Taylor tours his beekeeping facility before the start of the season
C.J. Keene
Joe Taylor tours his beekeeping facility before the start of the season

In the semi-arid plains of West River, cattle rule. However, there is one new opportunity for agricultural producers that’s making a buzz.

The dry weather might be bad for a corn crop, but other forage plants like clover and alfalfa make this corner of the state perfect for raising bees.

Joe Taylor is a beekeeper based in Faith in northern Meade County.

“If you’re a beekeeper you’re involved in farming and you’re kind of at the mercy of mother nature to some degree,” Taylor said.

While he’s coming from the family business, he said there’s a real learning curve for rookie beekeepers to tangle with.

“Like anything, if I were to go into any business the best thing I can do is to find someone I think is at the top of that field and get a job working with them," Taylor said. "I could eliminate a lot of the mistakes I would make, I can learn from somebody that’s very good. So, you find the best person you can find, and you learn from their experience.”

Taylor said it’s easy to overlook just how high quality of a product is being put out.

“I think you’ll find it’s some of the best you’ll find anywhere," Taylor said. "Right now, this time of year we’re basically getting our equipment cleaned up and prepared for the coming year, and when its time to set the bees out in the field we’ll spend most of our time out in the field working them. Right now, there’s not much going on except getting everything that I broke last fall ready for spring.”

The Joe Taylor Honey Company distributes to places like farmers markets and retailers across the state.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture