My associates at the field level, who best know what is going on in their areas of expertise, are the county (UC Cooperative Extension) farm advisors. They try to examine every detail of the factors that impact the crops or animals for which they have responsibility. It is truly amazing how deep that knowledge goes.

But, there is a limit to how much information a mind can hold. Thus, most farm advisors were willing to ask me about pollination and colony health specifics, but otherwise turned the bee questions over to me.

This was an excellent relationship and I tried to respond favorably, and quickly, to requests for information and for participation in grower meetings where honey bee questions were likely to be considered.

I spent more time with the almond farm advisors than the many others, but I did travel around the state trying to help the others when I could.

I’ve enjoyed good relationships with my departmental peers throughout my career. Each member had tidbits of information that I required from time to time, and they made time available to patiently explain what I desired to know.

Those peers conducted the first step in my evaluation processes and were very supportive over time, for which I am truly thankful.

As time went on, I became involved in a number of regulatory issues with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the currently named California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

As you might anticipate, many beekeepers had strong emotional ties to some of the decisions that have been made over the past. Direct discussions between beekeepers and regulators at times became heated.

In those cases, both sides preferred to have me act as intermediary, knowing that I would emphasize the concerns of the beekeepers but not aggravate agency personnel. Most times things settled down relatively well.