Victorian bee expert leaves after half a century service
25 August 2016
Agriculture Victoria's Senior Apicultural Officer, Russell Goodman, is about to leave the bee business after 51 years keeping the state's pollinators healthy.
Russell is one of Australia's most respected honey bee experts, and holder of the 2014 Public Service Medal given as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
Recent decades have seen increased awareness of the importance of healthy bees for Australian and global food production, and experienced and talented apiarists like Russell are on the front line keeping our bees safe.
He has developed and delivered awareness and training programs for beekeepers to help them manage pests and diseases such as European Foulbrood, American Foulbrood, small hive beetle and varroa mite.
His books 'Beekeeping in Australia', co-authored with Peter Kaczynski, and 'Honey Flora of Victoria' have been through multiple editions and are seen as the go-to guides for honey producers big and small. The books are available for free download on the RIRDC website.
With nearly 110,000 hives and almost 5,000 registered bee keepers in Victoria – 1,500 of them setting up hives since 2011 – reliable, easily available information is vital to protect the biosecurity of the whole honeybee and pollination industry.
Victoria's Chief Plant Health Officer, Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, said that thanks to Russell's expert advice on honeybee pollination, Victoria has a flourishing almond industry.
"Last week we saw the country's biggest livestock migration as bees from around the country arrived in Robinvale, north-west Victoria, to pollinate our almonds," Dr Vivian-Smith said.
"Without sound advice on preventing, detecting and managing bee pests and diseases from experts like Russell Goodman, this kind of mass pollination would be at significant risk."
"Almond production in Victoria in 2014-15 exceeded $500 million, and every single one of those almonds was due to pollination by a healthy bee," she said.
Russell will leave the department at the end of August for a period of extended leave before formally retiring in 2017 after more than half a century of service.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford said, "Agriculture Victoria has benefitted immensely from Russell's expertise, and our bee keepers and orchardists have a bright future to look forward to - I wish him all the best in retirement."
With Russell's retirement bee biosecurity work will continue to be delivered jointly by Biosecurity Branch and Agriculture Services and Biosecurity Operations, along with newly appointed Bee Biosecurity Officer, Jessica Hartland.
Visit Agriculture Victoria for more information about beekeeper registration, compliance with the Livestock Disease Control Act, the Apiary Code of Practice and information on disease threats.
Categorised under: Agriculture