Virginia’s wine industry is expanding. Grape-growing hasn’t caught up.

BY: - January 3, 2022

Patrick Young knew he wanted to preserve his family’s farm in Mecklenburg County, a gently rolling estate once devoted to boarding and breeding horses. The challenge was figuring out how to make a living from it. Tobacco, once the area’s dominant crop, was no longer economically viable. That left Young, 36, searching for other options. […]

Part of reconciliation bill centers on fighting climate change, funding scholarships at HBCUs

BY: - September 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House Agriculture Committee on Monday finished marking up its section of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. The agriculture portion would provide funding for historically Black land grant colleges, including Virginia State University, and investments in urban agriculture, along with boosting U.S. Department of Agriculture programs to address climate change threats in […]

In Southwest Virginia, farmers and brewers hope for a grain renaissance

BY: - September 14, 2021

ST. PAUL — On a quiet Thursday afternoon in St. Paul, a town of about 850 that sits on the banks of the Clinch River straddling Wise and Russell counties, Greg Bailey was filling a growler of Scotch ale.  Beer has a colorful history in these parts. Once it flowed like water: so rowdy was […]

Livestock are a major part of Virginia agriculture. But there are fewer and fewer vets for farm animals.

BY: - July 13, 2021

For many years, Buckingham County, home to tens of thousands of cows, goats, sheep and hogs, had no veterinarians devoted to treating livestock.  “There just was nobody in the county,” said Ivan Davis, a cattle operator and president of the Buckingham Farm Bureau. And, “when you need a vet, you need a vet.”  Today, Buckingham […]

PETA seeks safety designation for stretch of Virginia road prone to hog truck crashes

BY: - July 8, 2021

PETA has asked the state Department of Transportation to designate a portion of State Route 10 in southeastern Virginia as a highway safety corridor due to what the animal welfare group and locals say is a high rate of crashes involving hog trucks. A safety corridor designation on the road between U.S. Route 58 in […]

White House says executive order coming on labeling beef as a ‘Product of USA’

BY: - July 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — The White House will unveil an executive order in the coming days that directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to clarify that meat can only receive a “Product of USA” label if that livestock is raised in the U.S. rather than abroad, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “The EO directs […]

‘A lot of promise’: Vertical farming takes root in Virginia.

BY: - May 24, 2021

Imagine a field of lettuce.  Say the lettuces are all buttercrunch, and they dot the field like crisp rosettes. Each has been seeded by a farmer, kept free of pests, watered for weeks and finally cut at the base before being rinsed and packed for transport. Each is destined for a different meal: a lazy […]

House Agriculture panel probes ‘systemic’ USDA discrimination against Black farmers

BY: - March 26, 2021

WASHINGTON  — The House Agriculture Committee on Thursday took testimony on decades of racial discrimination faced by Black farmers in their dealings with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The committee’s chairman, Rep. David Scott, (D-Ga.), said the testimony at the virtual hearing would help the panel craft legislation that aims to increase the number of […]

Bill requiring public reporting of major outbreaks still alive, but Senate nixes emergency enactment

BY: - February 9, 2021

A bill from Sen. Lynwood Lewis, D-Accomack, that would require large employers like poultry plants to publicly report any COVID-19 outbreaks that have been linked by the Virginia Department of Health to the worksite cleared the Senate Friday night.  Crucially, however, the measure failed to garner enough support to go into effect immediately if it […]

U.S. Senate Agriculture panel approves Vilsack as agriculture secretary in bipartisan vote

BY: - February 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved Tom Vilsack’s nomination to lead USDA, after a hearing in which Vilsack discussed climate change goals in farming, food insecurity, supply chain problems and inequities faced by Black farmers. Vilsack, a former Iowa governor who also ran the Agriculture Department for eight years during the […]

Ag nominee Vilsack battles skepticism from Black farmers ahead of confirmation hearing

BY: - February 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — Tom Vilsack, the president’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will likely face questions about his treatment of Black farmers and his record on civil rights at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. President Joe Biden’s decision to tap the former Iowa governor, who also served as […]

Stronger financial incentives spur a big jump in stream fencing among Virginia livestock farmers

BY: - December 18, 2020

A state push to encourage farmers to fence off streams from their livestock as a way to improve water quality throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed appears to be succeeding. According to data from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the number of farmers who have committed to fencing off waterways rose by 86 percent […]