President's Page

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             Jason Foley is originally from the town of Dakota City, IA, a small place up around the Fort Dodge area in Humboldt County. Jason came to Des Moines in 1997 to start an education in graphic design at Grand View College. Somewhere along the line in his adult career he decided to get 1 bee hive as a hobby. After much research the breed of Russians caught his attention most, and he's never looked back. 1 hive turned into 3. 3 soon became 15. Around that 15 hive point he joined up with the Friendly Beekeepers of Iowa, and various members started to request nucs and queens from him. So Jason watched some webinars hosted by Dr. Larry Connor and sure enough, his queen adventures took off. In the beginning it was just a handful of mating nucs and 5 frame nucs scattered across his property. Jason now manages over 550 mini mating nucs from March through August and makes up a slew of 5 frame nucs each season that he sells through his company Foley's Russian Bees! Small potatoes by most commercial standards, but quite a bit when you refuse to grow beyond a 1 man operation. "Every time I talk to guys who have giant companies, the bottom line is their quality of life is no different than what I already have. Sure, they have bigger and better toys to help them in their bee operations, but they also have bigger break downs, higher insurance, higher property taxes, they manage taxes on employees, health benefits for them, and worst of all - the success of their company now affects the livelihoods of all their employees. I don't think I want that for my company. Bees and agriculture in general just have too many factors for me to feel confident about supporting employees." Along with producing his own queens and nucs, Jason also is a hauler of nucs and packages in the spring of the year. He mainly works with Koehnen Bees out of Glen County, California and Coy Honey Farms out of Mississippi, but takes on the special request from time to time for others.

             Together with his wife Shannon they operate a small homestead store at their farm called Honey Hollow Apiary and Gardens LLC (Honey Hollow for short). The store features crafts and goods, pure honey, creamed honey, hand made soaps, 1800's handcrafted brooms, beeswax candles, various other products from the hive, and products from a number of other beekeepers and homesteads. On the beekeeping equipment side of things, you won't find every toy and gadget under the sun, but they do keep the essentials on hand. "For years I tried selling honey under Foley's Russian Bees, but it was a real problem having a bee breed mentioned on the label. Two out of three people would stop and ask me what flavor differences there were to Russian bees over regular bees. The answer is, there is none. A bee, is a bee, is a bee. You wouldn't ask someone if the milk tastes different from a brown cow vs a black and white one lol."

             Jason's involvement with IHPA started about midway in his beekeeping journey. While working his way up through the 5 years of master beekeeper certification, he needed to preform various public services related to beekeeping. One of the qualifying items was to donate his time at fairs that had beekeeping related vendors, programs, etc. It was then that he first was exposed to the IHPA. Pat Ennis did a fantastic job of immersing him into the IHPA community and gave him a lot of positive and constructive feedback. Each subsequent year there in Jason ended up pulling anywhere from 20 to the maximum 33 shifts available for a fair. "I think it was my 2nd state fair and Pat was thinking of stepping down as president. He told me that I should run and I was like, what?!?! I'm a nobody in this organization. I have no clue what I would need to do, or anything else. I can't run Pat." Little did Jason know that he would continue to work his way up the ranks of IHPA each year and eventually end up there anyway. 

Beekeeping Resume:

  • Current IHPA President

  • Current IHPA Webmaster

  • Current member of the Friendly Beekeepers of Iowa

  • Owner of Foley's Russian Bees

  • Co-Owner of Honey Hollow Apiary and Gardens LLC

  • Past district 5 director for the IHPA

  • Past Iowa Representative for the Midwest Master Beekeepers

  • 4 time recipient of the "Beekeeper of the Year" award through the University of Florida

  • Certified Master Beekeeper through the University of Florida

  • Studied instrumental insemination of queens under Susan Cobey

  • Recipient of the NCR-SARE 2013 Queen Rearing Grant Incentive Project

  • Featured in a slew of different magazine articles including 3 times in American Bee Journal 

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Contact:

    Jason Foley

    13778 Summerset Rd,

    Indianola, IA 50125

    515-664-6072

    RussianBeeGuy@gmail.com