While we don’t always think of bee farming as important to the agriculture we should never forget a bee’s importance as well as the keepers that watch over them. Native bees and honey bees contribute to the success of the agriculture industry in that they pollinate approximately 80% of all crops. Without bees, farmers and consumer would potentially be at a great loss.
Bee farming is a traveling form of farming. While Tripp County is the base location for this farm family, there is a need to travel with the pollinators. Bachmann bee hives can be seen across Tripp County from May till November. The Bachmann Family has a second base of operations for their bees in Elkhart, Texas during the cold South Dakota winter months. Some of Bachmann bees are even lucky enough to travel to California to continue their pollination efforts.
Bachmann Bee Farm has been working in Tripp County South Dakota since 1969. Elery Jackson (Jack) and Mary Bachmann moved from Gregory with their three children (Beth, Scott & Becky) along with Jack’s brother Wallace (Wally) and Darlene Bachmann and his family to work for Walter Weldon Bee Farms in Winner. The two Bachmann brothers worked for Walter Weldon Bee Farms for two years. In 1971 the two Bachmann brothers leased the bee farm from Walter Weldon for two years before purchasing the bee farm and creating Bachmann Bee Farms.
In 1989 to expand Bachmann Bee Farms, the brothers purchased Arvin Brother’s A&B Bee Farm south of Colome.
In 1990 the Bachmann brothers separated the two bee farms with Wally & Darlene taking the farm in Colome and Jack & Mary taking the farm in Winner.
Jack and Mary had four more children (Todd, Jacqueline, Jenny & Eric) and they currently have 7 children, 25 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. Almost all of the children, grandchildren and hopefully someday the great grandchildren will have participated in one way or another on the farm.
Bachmann Bee Farm sells their yearly honey harvest and wax to Sue Bee Honey in Sioux City, Iowa. The amounts of honey contracted yearly vary from 50 to 100 pounds per hive depending on the year. The Bachmann’s also sell unprocessed honey locally to members of the community that contact them directly. Local unprocessed honey is desired by persons with allergies as the pollen helps decrease reactions.
Bee Farming is currently endangered by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is the unexplained disappearance and dying of honey bee colonies. With this disorder worrying many in the agricultural industry, we are very lucky to have our own Bee Farmers right here in Tripp County continually working to keep not only our agricultural system moving forward but also the environment.
Bachmann Bee Farm works very closely with other local farmers as honey bees are very important to pollination but they are also very susceptible to fertilizers and insecticides which can kill the bees. There is a great demand by local farmers for Bachmann’s to bring their bees. Organic farms being the greatest demander of bees.
Currently, Jack & Mary Bachmann run Bachmann Bee Farm with two of their boys (Scott and Eric), one son-in-law (Dean Novotny), and two grandsons (Logan & Alex).
The Bachmann Family is active in the Winner community silently helping organizations, businesses and schools. The Bachmann family does not boast about their support to the community or their accomplishments, so the Winner Area Chamber of Commerce is proud and honored to present the Bachmann Bee Farm with the 2017 Farm & Ranch Family of the Year.