Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor/beekeeper

Former state apiarist Phil Craft at work
Former state apiarist Phil Craft at work

Ag commission erred in firing longtime state beekeeper

As a beekeeper, I appreciate the attention the paper brought to the dismissal of the state apiarist, Phil Craft, by Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

Craft is certainly, and has always been, qualified and capable to serve in that capacity. His knowledge of honeybees and the myriad complex issues affecting them has served the beekeeping community well for 12 years, which in turn, benefits Kentucky's agricultural community and every citizen of the commonwealth. I would like to see him reinstated.

Honeybees are considered by many to be a "keystone species" in the global food supply for their adeptness in pollinating a broad variety of foods necessary for a healthy diet. As with an arch structure, when the keystone is removed, the arch itself collapses.

Therefore, threats to honeybees represent a real threat to global food supplies and agriculture in general.

The role of state apiarist should not be filled by political appointment. A position of this importance should be able to provide ongoing, uninterrupted service to those it serves despite changes in administration. It is baffling why Comer would dismiss a long-term, competent and well-respected worker without immediately replacing him with someone better.

Perhaps citizens should contact his office at 502-564-4696 or ag.web@ky.gov and ask him.

Michael Walsh


I read with alarm the article about Agriculture Commissioner James Comer firing Phil Craft, the state apiarist. My wife began keeping bees this year and Craft was a constant presence via telephone and email.

He even took the time to visit her hives and advise her about the bees. I guarantee you that Comer will not be able to replace Craft with anyone who knows and cares as much about bees as does Craft.

It says volumes about his dedication that he is continuing to help beekeepers even after he has been so wrongly terminated.

Bill Guthrie


Agriculture Commissioner Janes Comer has either been badly advised or has made an uninformed decision in regard to the firing of Phil Craft as state apiarist. Having known Craft from childhood to college, I doubt that he can be replaced with anyone more competent, more honest and as hard working.

The firing of any state worker with such a high level of competency and honesty, who has done absolutely nothing to warrant such a firing, is extremely unfair and bad for morale. Comer may reserve the right to hire his own team, but in doing so he has considerably diminished the team by firing Craft.

Ben Luntz