House approved tax break for beekeepers

DES MOINES — A bill being considered in the legislature would eliminate the state sales tax on Iowa beehives. Beyond honey production, hives are often sold or rented so the bees can pollinate fields or orchards.

Representative Megan Jones of Sioux Rapids guided the bill through the House this week.  “It treats bees as we treat any other livestock,” Jones said.

The bill passed the House unanimously — after Representative Chuck Isenhart (EYE-zen-hart) of Dubuque rattled off some puns.  “This is a sweet bill, I have to say. It’s creating a lot of buzz around the capitol and I promise you if you vote for the bill you won’t get stung,” Isenhart said. “In fact, your constituents will swarm around you with adulation.”

According to the state apiarist, there are around half a million beehives in Iowa and about a dozen beekeepers raise bees on a commercial scale, with thousands and thousands of hives. Iowa currently ranks 16th in honey production.