putnamI grew up on a dairy farm. Our focus was dairy and field crops but we had some beef and chickens. We produced a small amount of maple syrup in season. In 4-H, my projects were dairy, vegetable-growing (which I still do), and tractor operation (still do that, too!) I helped on that farm for decades and witnessed many situations that now influence my position on issues facing honey bees especially the resistance that pests and plants have developed to agricultural chemicals.

I graduated from the University of New Hampshire in Soil Science with a strong emphasis on geology and other areas. I worked for the U.S.D.A. Forest Service on the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont for 37 years. In that job, many opportunities arose: wildland firefighting in the east and west, a stint doing remote sensing next door to the Johnson Space Center, and work travel to many locations in the country among others.

Over the 37 years with the Forest Service, I was a Soil Scientist, Outdoor Recreation Specialist (trails, campgrounds, Wildernesses, etc.), Certified Silviculturist, and Occupational Safety and Health Specialist certified in General Industry, Construction Industry, and Industrial Hygiene (which has direct pertinence to beekeeping.) Of course, this required continuing education several times.

I ran a small homesite planning and permit consulting business for a couple of decades. Now my wife and I run a small beekeeping business and we sell some sweet corn as well. The learning curve in beekeeping is very steep. I like that. I continue to partake in transformative learning opportunities but also try to give back by presenting workshops to help other beekeepers. I have concerns about the adverse impacts of some agricultural practices and am doing what I can to get them changed.

I’ve worked on the Boards of several non-profits over the years - some as President – for an aggregate of about 30 years of involvement prior to being on the VBA Board. I really like strengthening an organization foundation from within but also feel strongly about maintaining good working relationships with partners in the public and private sectors. One of my top interests is interacting with and supporting the volunteer members of our organization and associated clubs. I have a longer-term vision of collaboration between the VBA and the Vermont and neighboring state beekeeping clubs to the benefit of beekeepers and apiculture in Vermont.

Above all, though, I’m back to producing agricultural commodity specialty crops – this time honey and sweet corn – and that is where I am really at home. Call me a farm kid at heart.