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Maiden Rock native crowned American Honey Queen

Hannah Sjostrom, a 20-year-old Maiden Rock native, was crowned the 2019 American Honey Queen this past January. She is a third generation beekeeper as well as a nursing student at University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. Submitted photo

Wisconsin is known as the dairyland, Packerland and especially most recently, a winter wonderland.

But now it has the privilege of being the land from which national royalty hails.

Twenty-year-old Maiden Rock native Hannah Sjostrom has the sweet responsibility of being named the 2019 American Honey Queen after competing against three other states.

Sjostrom said she won her title after a week-long "job interview" at the American Beekeeping Federation Conference and Tradeshow in South Carolina, where her knowledge of beekeeping and communication skills were tested.

Prior to earning 2019 American Honey Queen, she represented the state as the 2018 Wisconsin Honey Queen.

Her family's long-standing history of beekeeping was one of the main reasons she chose to run for the position, as she is a third-generation beekeeper.

"Not only is it my family's passion, but beekeeping is something I love to do and learning more about the bees and how they affect each individual is something that amazes me," Sjostrom said in a recent interview.

Sjostrom has the responsibility of promoting the beekeeping industry at events like fairs and festivals and in schools, according to a news release from the American Beekeeping Federation.

"Learning how important the bees are to not only myself, but society in general, is why I decided to help spread the knowledge of the industry," Sjostrom said.

As a junior nursing student at University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, Sjostrom said she is balancing her duties as American Honey Queen and school by organizing a nontraditional schedule.

"Luckily I was able to plan my nursing classes to only be on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday," Sjostrom said. "So I'll travel around that this semester and I'll end up taking fall semester off because that's going to be the busiest time for promotions."

Her friends at school are curious about her life as a beekeeper and Honey Queen, she said, and the subject comes up in conversation more than she expected it to.

"Not all of (my friends) knew I was running for this position. They always want to learn more, and they're always intrigued by what I'm doing and why I want to do it."

Sjostrom said the importance of supporting bees is for the good of society as a whole.

"Honey bee pollination connects our diverse society, whether in smalltown America like rural areas, all the way to the big Minneapolis and St. Paul area. One-third of food we eat requires pollination with 80 percent of that dependent on the honeybees."

Rachel Helgeson

Rachel Helgeson

(651) 301-7864