Honey & Beekeeping Back »

Photo by Schyler Angell

Written collaboratively by Sierra Blachford and Bob Reiners, SD Dept of Agriculture, State Apiarist.

According to the SD Dept. of Agriculture, there are about 216 South Dakotans keeping bees. Around 93 of these producers maintain their bees on a commercial scale. South Dakota usually ranks in the top five states for number of hives (colonies).

South Dakota’s soils, topography and climate generally provide the essential natural ingredients for the production of sizeable crops of high quality honey. The keeping of honeybees, like all other South Dakota agricultural businesses, is dependent on the vagaries of South Dakota weather. South Dakota produces a highly desirable, mild flavored and light colored alfalfa-sweet clover blend of honey.

Bee Keeping Resources

State Apiary Inspection Program

The State Apiary Inspection program has several purposes:

  • To protect the apiary industry from the spread of diseases
  • To coordinate the interstate movement of bees
  • To advise beekeepers on the identification and treatment of honeybee pests and disease
  • To promote the value of beekeeping to residents in the state

State law requires that all apiaries, including hobbyists, be registered with the Department of Agriculture by February 1st of each year; or within 10 days of coming into possession of an apiary. The state has established a 3-mile distance between apiaries. This lessens the contact of bees and helps prevent the transfer of disease.

For information on the State Apiary Inspection Program, visit the SD Department of Agriculture website. The state beekeeping/apiary resources page includes links to program information, online and print forms, laws and production reports. For more information on beekeeping in South Dakota contact Agronomy Services.

Honey Marketing Resources

  • Labeling: The Honey Board has created an in depth resource for beekeepers regarding honey labeling.
  • Honey Producers List for South Dakota: The Honey Board keeps a list of honey producers in South Dakota.
  • Consumer Attitudes: Each year, the Honey Board conducts a research study called the “Use and Attitudes Survey.” View the surveys and improve your marketing insight.
  • Sue Bee: is a member-owned honey-marketing cooperative that is based in Sioux City, Iowa. This cooperative began in 1921 with just five beekeepers. In 2013, there are more than 300 members and collectively around 40 million pounds of honey are processed each year.

Honey Organizations

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