Claire Moore collected her first beehive in 2007, transporting it home in the back of her small hatchback. Fast forward and the Kyneton farmer is celebrating as the 2019 Victorian AgriFuturesTM Rural Women’s Award winner for her project to breed a genetically diverse range of queen bees.
In the 12 years since that first hive for her suburban backyard, Claire and her partner Paul had three kids, moved to the Macedon Ranges and traded the hatchback for a tractor. Claire has continued to study and keep bees; a fascination that began as a child.
That passion might just be genetic. It was Claire’s four-year-old son who set up an egg enterprise that kick-started the family’s mixed business, The Good Life Farm Company. The business now produces eggs and honey from sustainable practices.
The sweet elixir is one product from honey bees; they are also crucial to the pollination and harvest of global food crops. Claire is concerned about declining bee numbers across the world, with disease, insecticides and pesticides among likely causes.
Australia is one of the few countries in the world to remain free of varroa mite. Biosecurity is critical for our local hives and food production. Queen bees have become a valued export product.
Claire wants to protect and prepare hives by breeding queens with disease-resistant, healthy and climate-adaptable traits. She has enrolled at New South Wales’ Tocal College, where her study of queen bee breeding has been made possible by the award’s $10,000 Westpac bursary.
The AgriFuturesTM Rural Women’s Award acknowledges and supports the essential role women play in rural industries, businesses and communities. Applicants present an idea to enhance the prosperity of rural and regional Australia. Claire is now in the running for the national award to be announced in September.
Image above: Claire Moore, winner of the 2019 Victorian AgriFuturesTM Rural Women’s Award