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FCS Financial employees putting together a beehive.

FCS Financial employees build a beehive.

Giving back is an important value to FCS Financial and our employees. At our annual employee conference in October, employees built 85 beehives that were donated to the Missouri Heroes to Hives program.

Heroes to Hives is a free program that trains veterans in beekeeping while also addressing their mental and physical wellness.

“Research has shown that the act of keeping bees can be very therapeutic, much like gardening and other outdoor activities,” said Travis Harper MU Extension agronomist. “We also incorporate Q.P.R. suicide prevention training, stress relief and tai chi into the Heroes to Hives curriculum.”

The program, which runs March to December, consists of three parts:

1. Online training modules from Michigan Food and Farming Systems that veterans work through at their own pace.

2. Monthly Zoom webinars on topics specific to Missouri beekeeping.

3. Hands-on training at an MU teaching apiary in Warrensburg, Mount Vernon or Poplar Bluff.

Employees smiling around their completed beehive.

“Our goal is to have in-person training sites located strategically across Missouri so that all Missouri veterans have access to training within a relatively short driving distance,” Harper said.

Heroes to Hives (H2H) is also available for those needing adaptations, he said. “More than 60% of our participants have some sort of service-connected disability. Beekeeping is very physically demanding, and we want to make sure all veterans who want to keep bees are able to keep bees. We work with them both in and outside the H2H curriculum to do this, sometimes utilizing other MU Extension programs such as AgrAbility.”

The program is free to all veterans – active-duty, reserve, National Guard, etc. – and their spouses or dependents.

Adam Ingrao, himself a veteran, started Heroes to Hives in Michigan in 2015 to address the personal and financial wellness of veterans through professional training and community development centered around beekeeping.

In Missouri, the program was piloted in 2021 with one training site. “The reception was overwhelming,” Harper said. “We had 300 veterans participate in the program. We added a second training site for 2022 and are adding a third this year.”

Missouri is the first state chapter of the national Heroes to Hives program.

Sign up for the 2023 season by Feb. 28 at Registration is through Michigan Food and Farming Systems.

Learn more about the national program at


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