Randy Ewart and his wife of 41 years, Martha, live in Wayland, Missouri. They have two daughters – Hannah and Katie Ewart (20 years apart). He has been involved in beekeeping for the past ten years. He began beekeeping initially when he and Katie Ewart, his youngest daughter was getting involved locally with 4-H and was researching projects. On an early summer Saturday morning they ran across a television program on PBS which aired Dr. Keith Delaplane in one of his early video segments from “A Year in the Life of an Apiary.” Taking a chance, they sent an email to Dr. Delaplane at the University of Georgia and receive a response and his suggestions for getting started in beekeeping. This email began their journey down the road to becoming beekeepers, with his daughter pursuing beekeeping as her first 4-H project in the fall of 2009. He began as a local 4-H beekeeping project leader for his daughter, as there was no beekeeping project leadership in all of northeast Missouri. Father and daughter’s interest led them to take advantage of a beginning beekeeping class offered by the Mississippi Valley Beekeeping Association (Quincy, IL), as little information was forthcoming through University of Missouri Extension 4-H project materials. They were members of Mississippi Valley for several years. Also, he learned that the then current Missouri State Beekeepers Association President, Scott Moser, had announced a goal to start more local beekeeper associations in the northern half of the state. After visiting with Grant Gillard via a telephone call for advice, Ewart felt that such a local beekeeper association was needed in northeast Missouri, and specifically in the counties of Clark, Lewis, Scotland, and Knox. In the early spring of 2011, Ewart organized, facilitated, and help present materials at the first of a continuing annual Beginner Beekeeping Class for those northeast counties, and for interested persons in neighboring Iowa and Illinois counties. At the conclusion of that class, Ewart led a discussion of attendees which served as the beginning of organizing a local beekeeper association, known as the “Northeast Missouri Beekeepers Association” (NEMOBA), on April 2, 2011. Initially, there were thirteen founding members. Ewart served the local association as founding president and has continued as such in all but two years of its existence. He is the current president for 2019.
Ewart has organized and taught an annual Beginner Beekeeping Class sponsored by NEMOBA, initially assisted by Bernie Andrew and Paul Woodworth of the Mississippi Valley association, as well as with his two daughters – Hannah and Katie Ewart. He has attended numerous conferences offered by the Missouri State Beekeepers Association for several years. He has represented the local beekeepers association as its president at several Executive Committee meetings over the years, under MSBA presidents Grant Gillard, John Timmons, Valerie Duever, Clayton Lee, and Cory Stevens.
In reviewing the records, on the average Ewart started about fifteen to eighteen new beekeepers each year since 2011, except one year when no class was offered due to schedule conflicts. He also continued to serve as local 4-H project leader and mentor for his daughter’s club, but also for the entire county 4-H program. Over the years Ewart has done several newspaper and radio interviews, and has been invited and spoken to various local civic clubs, high school field trip groups, and a church camp to promote and share educational information about honey bees, beekeeping, and their local beekeeping association. He has also privately mentored several individuals in beginning their beekeeping pursuit.
Ewart continues his own beekeeping journey, currently as a hobbyist, but desires to develop into a sideliner beekeeper, and perhaps produce queens for local beekeepers. He expands his knowledge and skills by frequent reading on the topic of honey bees and beekeeping, attending many of the conferences offered by MSBA, attending advanced topic conferences and workshops (e.g., advanced workshops in St. Louis, queen rearing and grafting, honey bee diseases and microscopy, etc.), and general conversations with beekeepers, conference speakers, and apicultural inspectors. He is the owner/operator of Honey Creek Apiaries, along with his sister, Lori Ewart, and his daughters. Hobbies include: beekeeping; gardening, home orcharding, hand tool woodworking, fly fishing and fly tying. Ewart pastors a small Baptist church in Alexandria, Missouri, and, like many pastors and ministers before him, finds bees to be a fascinating creation that satisfies any hobbyist’s quest for learning and appreciation for one of nature’s most complex and necessary creatures.