CALS student promotes beekeeping and honey

Kim Kester has been busy promoting beekeeping and honey since being named the 2016 American Honey Queen.

The Iowa State graduate student has been traveling the country talking to groups about the importance of honeybees and pollination, visiting events and demonstrating honey recipes on local television programs.

“I emphasize how the honeybee helps drive agriculture in America, contributing more than $19 billion annually to our agricultural industry and pollinating a third of our food supply,” Kester said.

She only started beekeeping in 2014 and served last year as the Wisconsin Honey Queen.

“I am always looking for new challenges and I loved how honeybees relate to my passion for agriculture and animal care. I started with two hives and now own six,” Kester said.

She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she double-majored in dairy science and poultry science, and is pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural education.

Growing up on a hobby farm near Nekoosa, Wisconsin, Kester was active in 4-H and showed horses, llamas, chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, rabbits and even miniature donkeys and peafowl.

Since being elected in January by the American Beekeeping Federation, Kester has been involved in promotions in New Mexico, Minnesota, Florida, Texas, Wyoming, Virginia, California, Connecticut and Wisconsin. Along with the Honey Princess, Tabitha Mansker from Texas, the promotional program typically reaches more 7.5 million people and amounts to $500,000 of publicity for the honey and beekeeping industry.

To schedule an appearance with Kester, contact American Honey Queen Program Chairperson Anna Kettlewell at 414-545-5514 or