Rural Entrepreneur Honored in new Women’s Monument

Laura CopenhaverA moment 10 years in the making occurred Oct. 14 when seven bronze statues of Virginia women were unveiled in Capitol Square.

The statues are the first of 12 that will form the Virginia Women’s Monument, the nation’s first installation on the grounds of a state capitol to showcase the full range of achievements and contributions made by women. Voices from the Garden also features a wall of honor inscribed with the names of 230 notable women.

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Virginia’s State Land Evaluation Advisory Council Post 2020 Use Value Estimates

Andrew 2Land Use Assessment is a valuable tool in Virginia to allow localities to manage growth and provide tax equity.  This method more closely aligns taxes with the productive value of the land in its current use.  In addition, it more closely aligns taxes with the local government cost of providing services to qualifying land.  The program is local option.

A lot of folks don’t realize the complexity in developing the values. The State Land Evaluation Advisory Council (SLEAC) contracts annually with the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics (VTAAE) at Virginia Tech to develop an objective methodology for estimating the use value of land in agricultural and horticultural uses, with the Virginia Department of Forestry for the use value of land in forestry, and with the Department of Conservation and Recreation for the use value of land in open space.

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Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom Announces Grant Winners for Educational Projects

Ag in the ClassVirginia Agriculture in the Classroom has awarded 62 grants to 38 Virginia localities for the 2019-2020 school year. Funding will be allocated to provide 25,000 youth with agriculture experiences related to gardening, animal agriculture, health and nutrition and leadership development.

“This year we had an outpouring of grant applicants reflecting pre-K through 12th grade education programs from schools across the commonwealth,” said Tammy Maxey, Virginia AITC senior education manager. “These schools and 4-H chapters will start gardens, provide nutrition and culinary experiences, begin school farms and create agriculture leadership opportunities. We look forward to visiting these grant sites and watching students learn.”

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Virginia Farmer Michael H. McDowell Named 2019 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year

Farmer of the Year McDowellMichael H. McDowell of Vernon Hill, Virginia has been selected as the overall winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award for 2019. He is a fourth-generation Halifax County farmer and cattleman who grows mixed grass hay, annual hay, and alfalfa and raises award-winning registered Angus cattle.

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Statewide Drought Watch Advisory Issued

Drought cornGovernor Ralph Northam has announced a statewide drought watch advisory for the Commonwealth of Virginia. A drought watch is intended to increase awareness of current conditions that are likely to precede a significant drought event. Localities, water suppliers, self-supplied water users, and all citizens are encouraged to begin preparations for a potential drought.

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Harvest Season Reminders for Hauling Ag

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Andrew Smith, Associate Director, Governmental Relations

We are right in the heart of harvest season for corn and soybeans, this will continue for a couple more months. I thought it a good time to remind folks of the resources we have online about farm vehicle and farm equipment. Anyone can access the information in our Resource Center (click here).

We have the entire wording of laws relating to the registered farm vehicle tag (F-tag), Unlicensed Farm Vehicle (Farm Use), Size and Weight Manual, and several others, including links to helpful websites such as the Department of Motor Vehicles site for Farm Vehicles, and the Federal Motor Carriers information on hauling ag products.

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Celebrating a Century of the American Farm Bureau

27785818639_cc8c9b5d6a_oWritten by AFBF President Zippy Duvall

Your American Farm Bureau turns 100 next month, a truly special cause for celebration. All year long we have been celebrating a century of working together for the men and women who grow our food, fiber and energy. This remarkable milestone is a testament to how much stronger we are when we speak with one voice.

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US-Japan Interim Agreement Called Big Win for Virginia Farmers

PortVirginia farmers stand to benefit from the recently signed U.S.-Japan interim trade agreement.

The agreement will lower or completely cut tariffs for many agricultural products, including fresh and frozen beef and pork, according to a statement from the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Ben Rowe, national affairs coordinator for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, described the deal as a positive step for farmers. “At $13 billion a year, Japan is already the fourth-largest buyer of U.S. agricultural products, despite an average tariff of more than 17%. With a lower tariff, thanks to the trade deal, we expect our agricultural exports to grow.”

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2019 Specialty Crop Block Grant Recipients Announced

Northam govGovernor Ralph Northam has announced an award of $541,467 in grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for ten agriculture-related projects. The project awards resulted from a competitive grant process established by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) for the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant funds.

“Agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry, and to ensure this sector stays at the forefront of our economy, we must continue to support research and technological advancements that enhance the competitiveness of our specialty crops,” said Governor Northam. “These grants fund important projects that will help improve food safety for growers, boost agricultural development, and create new market opportunities, especially in our rural areas.”

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