Former Kentucky State Beekeepers Association (KSBA) President Mike Mabry was named 2023 Beekeeper of the Year by a panel of past honorees. The group’s annually awarded highest honor, given after multiple nominations for Mabry, recognizes his efforts in revitalizing the organization following challenges it faced culminating in the pandemic year of 2020.
Mabry’s efforts in the presidency were largely accomplished without fanfare behind the scenes, said past president Jessica Mayes in her presentation of the award during the KSBA Annual Meeting Oct. 28 in Elizabethtown. “At a critical crossroads for KSBA, Mike showed exemplary leadership to make sure KSBA survived to bounce back quickly.”
Mabry’s efforts led KSBA’s response to the cancellation of the 2020 Kentucky State Fair, the group’s linchpin fundraising event. He also helped solidify KSBA’s 501-c-3 nonprofit organization status, strengthening its budget structure.
He continues his contribution to the organization as a director of the organization and co-chair of the State Fair, which set all-time records for members this year. Mabry also oversaw the evolution of the Certified Kentucky Honey Program and the development of a more vigorous website that better serves the needs of the membership.
“Through all aspects of his personal and professional life, Mike always promotes the best interest of Kentucky beekeepers and KSBA. We would not be at this point without the hard work Mike Mabry put in to preserve the very foundation of KSBA in 2019 and 2020,” Mayes said.
Allison Hager, the 2023 American Honey Princess, will visit Kentucky August 17-20. She will be a guest of Kentucky State Beekeepers Association and will visit the Kentucky State Fair, speaking to fairgoers about the importance of honeybees to Kentucky agriculture and how honeybee pollination provides deep roots for agriculture. She will also share how honey brings magical benefits to our lives through daily presentations.
Allison is the 23-year-old daughter of Danny and Tracey Hager of Bellevue, Iowa. She is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship. Allison has an A.A.S. degree in Agriculture Business from Kirkwood Community College. She first became interested in beekeeping at the age of 13 and has been beekeeping and advocating for honey bees and other pollinators ever since.
As the 2023 American Honey Princess, Allison serves as a national spokesperson on behalf of the American Beekeeping Federation, a trade organization representing beekeepers and honey producers throughout the United States. The American Honey Queen and Princess speak and promote in venues nationwide, and, as such Princess Allison will travel throughout the United States in 2023. Prior to being selected as the American Honey Princess, Allison served as the 2022 Iowa Honey Queen. In this role, she promoted the honey industry at fairs, festivals, and farmers’ markets, via media interviews, and in schools.
The beekeeping industry touches the lives of every individual in our country. In fact, honeybees are responsible for nearly one-third of our entire diet, in regards to the pollination services that they provide for a large majority of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. This amounts to nearly $19 billion per year of direct value from honeybee pollination to United States agriculture.
For more information on Princess Allison’s Kentucky visit and to schedule an interview, contact Tom Ballinger at 270.999.1440.
Bonnie Joseph and Jessica Mayes were named co-recipients of the 2022 Beekeeper of the Year. This award is determined by an annual vote of past beekeeper of the year recipients.
Bonnie is the president of the Laurel County Southeaster Beekeeper Association. Bonnie is an active participant in the University of Kentucky entomology program, USDA Honey Bee Health Survey and Kentucky Queen Bee Breeders Association, Inc.
Jessica is an immediate past KSBA president and has worked hard to improve KSBAs tax status, lobbied for Kentucky Agricultural Development Office funds for the Certified Kentucky Honey Program and is active in local meetings across the state.
In addition, director terms were extended from one to two years for increased continuity of services. This was approved by the general membership as an update to the KSBA by-laws.
KSBA thanks outcoming past president Tom Ballinger and treasurer Jan Brown for their service. Tom will remain on the board as a director.
Membership: Phillip Patterson
Certified Honey: R. Scott Moore
Website: Julie Steber
Beelines: Jim Trammel
President: Phil Craft