There was a swarm of activity in the heart of Orange today, as a colony of bees surrounded the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) building in Kite Street.
Bee enthusiasts from the RIC team, John Newcombe and Michael Halls buzzed into action, during their lunch break, in the interest of preserving the bees, which are so vital to our agricultural industries and economy.
“It was a large swarm in a location that was potentially dangerous to staff and people entering or walking past the building,” said John, who with Michael, ensured they had appropriate protective equipment and redirected foot traffic away from the swarm.
The safest course of action was to remove the risk as safely and quickly as possible with the bees being rehomed to a safe location.
“The greatest importance of bees to agriculture is not only for honey and beeswax production but their significance as crop pollinators. Bees are a priority for food security, pollinating most of the food we eat, including the plants to feed our livestock. We need to proactively preserve and manage bees to ensure greater sustainability of the agriculture industry,” said Michael.
Many RIC employees are proud to be farmers, understanding the unique challenges faced by the industry, with a few apiarists thrown into the mix.
But the question is, did John and Michael have their suits ready to go?
“It’s all about being prepared with protective equipment on hand just in case it is needed,” said John.
Similar to the bees’ important role, the RIC also supports regional Australia and the agriculture sector’s target to become a $100 billion industry by 2030.
As a Federal Government entity, the RIC provides low-cost loans to support farm business growth, preparation and recovery from drought, succession and diversification.
Farm businesses eligible for RIC loans include the primary production of grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and meat products, milk, sugar cane, wine grapes, natural fibres and edible fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants.
From July 2022 the eligibility was expanded to horse breeders, turf farmers, tea tree, lavender, pharmaceutical/cosmetic plant growing, nursery and floriculture growers (where they weren’t already eligible supplying for primary production such as shelter belts and winery root stock).
To view how the RIC has helped one apiarist strengthen their business with a low-cost loan, please go to www.ric.gov.au/customer-stories.
For more information on RIC loans, visit www.ric.gov.au/loans.
To subscribe to receive updates from the RIC including the eligibility changes visit www.ric.gov.au/subscribe.
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About the Regional Investment Corporation
The Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) is a federal government-backed specialist finance provider for farmers, farm-related small businesses and plantation businesses. For the 2021-22 financial year, the RIC has approved around 160 total loans valued at over $169 million as at 28 February 2022. Since its inception on 1 July 2018, the RIC has approved more than 2840 total loans valued at over $3.09 billion as at 31 August 2022.