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    UW College of Business $30K Competition 3rd Place - VEE BEE Farm

    May 21, 2015

    By: Carrie Ver Burg

    Who we are

    My name is Carrie Ver Burg and I am a senior in Accounting at the University of Wyoming. While attending school at UW, I have been in the process of starting a golden venture with my dad, Vee BEE Farm. At Vee BEE Farm, we raise bees and harvest the sweet, golden, wonder food they produce - honey. The idea to start this sticky venture came entirely from my dad.

    Before moving to Wyoming in the late 1990s my family lived on a farm in Eastern South Dakota. At the time, my family grew crops and raised cattle but later moved to Wyoming and gave up this lifestyle. Since the move, my dad, Steve Ver Burg, has worked in the mining industry and still works there today.

    How we started

    Almost a year ago, my dad decided to return to his farming roots but in a different way than he had done it before. He decided to try raising a new creature that he had never worked with in the past, bees. Last May, he bought six beehives to experiment with and the results were surprising. From five of the hives, we were able to harvest over 24 gallons of honey! With over 288 pounds of honey on our hands, we needed to find a place to sell it, which was much easier than anticipated. Within three months of harvesting, we were able to sell all of the honey we had produced via word-of-mouth and had many more requests for honey that we could not fill. In light of the popularity of our product and our access to vast open-range land on which to put our bees, my dad and I decided to turn this hobby into a business, thus launching Vee BEE Farm.

    UW College of Business Impact

    Since Vee BEE’s beginning, a lot has happened. I have taken on the role of the business manager and my dad has been working out the logistics for expanding our business as we enter the second year of operation. My main roles as business manager include accounting and bookkeeping, as well as marketing and sales. Most recently, I have been working hard to build relationships with grocery and natural foods stores, in which we hope to sell our honey in the future.

    It has been exciting to see how my education from the College of Business has prepared me to take on this position and advance our business. Many of the skills that I bring to Vee BEE Farm have either been developed or sharpened by studying at the University. My accounting courses have been especially helpful when creating pro forma financial statements to project future cash flows and income.

    Our future

    Looking forward to growing Vee BEE Farm, my dad and I began the process of investing in a commercial kitchen to improve our honey production. With the plan to double our hives each year for the next three years, we will need larger scale equipment. The equipment and kitchen items will be installed in a closed trailer to enable mobility when extracting and bottling honey. Our goal is to have the mobile honey house up and running by harvest season this fall, which will enable us to sell our honey in retail stores as well as offer extracting services to smaller farmers and hobbyists. By offering this service to smaller farmers, we will cut down on the amount of time that the equipment sits idle and help speed up the extracting process for other farmers. There are additional areas in which we plan to expand our business beyond the soon-to-be offered extraction services. In the future, we plan to offer pollinations services to California almond growers by shipping our bees out west for the winter. We also plan to increase our product base to include various wax goods such as candles, lip balm, and lotion.

    Only time will tell exactly where expansion leads Vee BEE Farm, but we know our future looks sweet. In the meantime, we will keep caring for our happy bees and they will keep producing purely wonderful Wyoming honey that makes our customers happy too!

    Want to talk HONEY with us? Comment below!

    Interested in learning more about our business? Comment below!

    If you want to reach out to me personally, you can find me on LinkedIn