Member Profile: Larry Martin
Johnston County Farm Bureau member Larry Martin first became acquainted with bees at age 11, while growing up on the family farm in Princeton. His father grew primarily corn and soybeans, but he had affection for the honey-producers and traveled to Burgaw to gather enough bees to fill a couple of boxes.
A swarm of bees arrived a few years later, so Martin took some of the pine lumber his father always had on hand and built boxes that resembled what the family obtained in Pender County.
After his construction career took Martin throughout the country, he returned to Johnston County and settled in Pine Level. The N.C. Cooperative Extension learned of Martin’s beekeeping after seeing his property filled with clover. Agents asked Martin to help reorganize the Johnston County Beekeepers Association, a club that disbanded several years before being restarted in 2009.
Mark Wellons, who was president of Johnston County Farm Bureau at the time, asked Martin to be on the board because of the importance of bees in crop production. With the local beekeepers association already back up and running, Martin didn’t hesitate to be a part of the county’s Farm Bureau leadership.
“I want to do everything I can do for the little honey bees so I always said yes,” Martin says.
Martin currently maintains 17 hives, transferring some to area strawberry and blueberry farms. He used his talents as a tool and die maker to construct bee boxes and other equipment with precise features that help him feed the insects and collect honey.
Plus, Martin leveraged his connection to Farm Bureau to reach out to the county school system in hopes of getting agriculture students interested in beekeeping. One former student beekeeper is now studying at N.C. State University.
“Without young people interested in it, it’s a dying thing,” Martin says.