Advance Purchase is a Sure Bet for Horse Festival Tickets

Horse FestHorse and dog enthusiasts can save money by purchasing advance online tickets to the annual Virginia Horse Festival.

This year’s event will be held May 3-5 at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County and will coincide with the May 4 running of the Kentucky Derby.

Early bird tickets are on sale now, and through March 31 guests can buy an adult ticket for just $10, which is $5 off the gate admission price. From April 1 through May 2 at 11:59 p.m., advance adult tickets are $12, which saves $3 off gate pricing.

Children 12 and under will be admitted free, but a ticket is still required. These can be added to online carts or obtained at ticket booths during the event.

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Take Action: Send Comments on Livestock Haulers’ Hours of Service

livestock hauler 2The ability to safely and efficiently haul livestock is critical not only for animal welfare but also for the viability of Virginia’s livestock operations. Farm Bureau recognizes that livestock haulers need flexibility in the hours they are permitted to be on the road so they can address the unique challenges of hauling live animals. Farm Bureau has been working towards hours of service reform in recent years and continues to push for reasonable and workable reforms.

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A VFBF Lobbyist’s Typical Day is Anything But Typical

Andrew and StefBy Kathy Dixon, VFBF Communications

At 5 a.m. on Jan. 24, Stefanie Kitchen walked her dog. She had to take him out that early so she could attend a 7 a.m. legislative sportsman’s caucus meeting in downtown Richmond.

At the meeting, Kitchen networked with legislators who are interested in hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. When it ended at 8, she called a delegate to discuss an issue. By 8:45, she was at the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries building to attend a 9 a.m. DGIF board meeting.

“One of my areas is wildlife and game laws, so I attend these meetings to ­represent Farm Bureau’s policy ­position on DGIF regulations,” remarked Kitchen, who is a Farm Bureau ­legislative specialist and one of the ­federation’s four lobbyists.

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Extended Trade Talks Leave Soybeans in Storage, Growers in Limbo


Dr. John Newton, AFBF, speaking at the Virginia Grain and Soybean Annual Conference

Virginia soybean growers already expect the 2018-2019 marketing season to be a bust. And as trade talks between China and the U.S. extend into spring, they’re worried that next year’s exports sales will slump as well.

The Trump administration announced Feb. 22 that a March 1 deadline to conclude trade talks with Beijing has been extended, current U.S. tariffs will not be increased and no new tariffs will be imposed on Chinese goods.

China was the largest buyer of American soybeans in recent years, and that market slammed shut a year ago when the tariff war began, said Dr. John Newton, American Farm Bureau Federation chief economist.

“China purchased about one-third of the soybeans we produced in 2017, and we know that soybean exports are down significantly. This marketing year, soybean exports to China are down 96 percent” through the end of January, Newton told Virginia growers Feb. 20 at the Virginia Grain and Soybean Annual Conference.

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Agricultural Trade Conference to Feature Trade Ministers, Va. Update

Trade conference

Ministers from U.S. trade partners and representatives of domestic commodity organizations are among speakers at the 11th annual Virginia Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade. The event will be held March 5 at the Richmond Marriott Downtown.

The conference also will include luncheon remarks by Gov. Ralph Northam on Virginia’s trade-related progress and priorities.

For more than a decade, Northam noted, “the Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade has served as an important forum for stakeholders from Virginia’s two largest industries to come together and hear from key leaders in government, business and international relations on the outlook of the trade environment,”

Speakers include Thomas Barkin, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond; Zhu Hong, economic and commercial minister from the Chinese embassy to the United States; Jesus Zorrilla, EU minister counselor for agriculture to the U.S.; and Cameron Hutchison, Australian minister-counselor for agriculture and water resources.

Bret Davis, secretary of the American Soybean Association, and Maria Zieba, director of international affairs for the National Pork Producers Council, will share their perspectives on the economic and commercial impact of recent U.S. trade disruptions.

The conference is co-hosted by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the Virginia Port Authority and Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

For agenda and lodging details, or to register, visit