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Nicot Queen Rearing
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Grant F. C. Gillard began keeping bees on the family farm in Glenville, Minnesota, after graduating from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, with a degree in Agriculture in 1981. While in his sophomore year, seeking the easiest class possible to elevate his battered grade-point average, Grant ignored his advisor's derision and enrolled in a seemingly innocuous class entitled, "Entomology 222: Beekeeping," taught by a retired high school biology teacher and adjunct professor, Richard Trump. Without grasping the potential blessings and lifelong implications this providential twist presented to his academic life, Grant was hopelessly inoculated with the desire to keep honey bees, which would later include visions of commercial aspirations. Grant was active during his high school years at the First Presbyterian Church in Albert Lea, Minnesota, where he was baptized and ordained as a ruling elder. Returning to his home church after his college graduation, Grant's church members, along with the Rev. Elmer Bates, convinced him he'd make a better pastor than a farmer. Their encouragement spun his life in yet another improbable direction. In 1987, Grant graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, with a Master's of Divinity degree. It was there he met another Presbyterian student, Kansas City native, Nancy Farris. They married in 1986 during their senior year at Fuller. He later obtained a Doctor of Ministry degree from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2000. He's only served two congregations thus far in his twenty-six years of ordained ministry. With his newlywed wife, the two served as co-associate pastors at the White Clay Creek Presbyterian Church in Newark, Delaware. With a desire for more opportunities to preach and teach, Grant moved his young family to Jackson, Missouri in 1993 where he answered a call to serve as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church PC(USA). His active involvement over the past twenty years redefined his ministry as more of a community chaplain. Grant combines his passion for beekeeping with his pastoral duties at the church. Grant currently operates around 200 hives and produces honey for local retail sales and farmer's markets in southeast Missouri. He also produces nucs, removes swarms and has published several other publications on the topics of beekeeping and personal growth.

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