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Gunter Honey Inc. co-owner elected president of American Bee Federation

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Joan Gunter, one of the co-owners of Gunter Honey Inc. in Towner, has been elected president of the American Bee Federation for 2020.

“I am honored to serve as ABF President,” said Gunter in a press release from the organization. “I look forward to continuing the work of the ABF Board of Directors and committees to boost the success of our members and promote the beekeeping industry nationwide.”

Gunter Honey Inc. and Gunter Honey Farm are family operations for the Gunters.

“My husband’s family actually started it and they’re third generation,” said Joan Gunter. “I married into it.”

Gunter co-owns the operation with her husband, Dwight Gunter, along with Dwight Gunter’s brother, Daniel Gunter, and Daniel Gunter’s wife, Theresa Gunter.

Gunter Honey Inc. is the name of the North Dakota location and Gunter Honey Farm is its southern location.

Their bees produce clover and alfalfa and wildflower honey in North Dakota and, during the winter months when it is too cold for bees, the Gunters take their bees to Sour Lake, Texas, and Lumberton, Miss. The Gunters’ bees also pollinate almonds in California.

In addition, the Gunters sell bees and queen bees to other bee keepers.

Joan Gunter said the bee keeping operation also employs migrant labor from Nicaragua via the H2A Visa program.

As president of the American Bee Federation, her focus will be on lobbying lawmakers on issues that are most important to bee keepers.

“I usually go to Washington about three times a year to do that,” said Gunter.

Issues on the minds of bee keepers right now include improving the prices for honey and better, more clear labeling laws that will ensure that consumers know for sure that they are purchasing 100 percent honey instead of imported honey from another jurisdiction with additional ingredients that have been added.

Gunter said the American Bee Federation is also concerned with improving country of origin labeling laws.

The organization is also working on a program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would provide a better environment for honey bees with a more positive food source. Gunter explained that the “winter colony loss is extremely high” and some of those losses might be prevented with the availability of supplemental food sources.

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