AGRICULTURE

Beating the virus: Farmers markets and growers adjusting to COVID-19 restrictions

BY: - April 15, 2020

For Holly Hammond, face-to-face interactions were the only way to sell the plant starts and vegetables she grows with her husband, James, on their farm, Whisper Hill, in Scottsville. When the threat of coronavirus became apparent at the beginning of March, just as the spring market season was approaching, she had a swift change of […]

As groceries fly off shelves, farmers worry about next season’s crop

BY: - March 25, 2020

In Pittsylvania County, in the heart of Southside tobacco country, farmer Robert Mills’ greenhouse is full of seedlings ready to be transplanted. Mills, however, is uncertain about whether he should put them into the ground. “We have to make a commitment as to whether we’re going to plant any of these crops,” he said. But […]

Augusta farmers want to implement conservation practices

BY: - February 26, 2020

By Bradley Dunsmore As the second largest agricultural county in Virginia, our farmers’ livelihoods are dependent on the land. They want to do everything in their power to implement conservation practices that protect their land and the Chesapeake Bay. For years, our farmers have voluntarily installed conservation practices that are making a difference in meeting […]

Virginia lawmakers say smoking hemp is fine if you’re 21

BY: - February 24, 2020

Virginia lawmakers cleared residents to smoke industrial hemp Monday, though they say they didn’t really understand why anyone would want to. Technically, the fibrous plant is already legal under federal law, but Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville, said he wanted to clear up any confusion about the smokable version, which looks and smells exactly like marijuana […]

Bill to make pawpaws the state fruit delayed to 2021

BY: - February 12, 2020

By Macy Pressley/ Capital News Service Countless Virginians remember biting into the custardy sweetness of a pawpaw, the peculiar combination of mango and banana filling their mouths as the drops of juice dribbled down their chins, the perfect treat for a sweltering late August afternoon.  These memories might be honored with state recognition, but not […]

COMMENTARY

Are stream fencing bills ‘major step’ or jettisoned partnership?

BY: - February 4, 2020

By Wayne F. Pryor The Jan. 29 commentary “Setting a deadline for farm conservation practices would be a major step for Virginia water quality” might describe a bold stride. But for Virginia’s farmers it feels like a betrayal of trust. For years, farmers, conservation groups and soil and water conservation districts have worked diligently to address legitimate barriers to farmers’ being […]

Hemp growers face processing bottleneck, uncertain regulatory landscape

BY: - February 4, 2020

CHRISTIANSBURG — As the second year of commercial hemp begins in Virginia, growers face regulatory uncertainty and a rapidly evolving market. Farmers are still processing the hemp they grew in the 2019 season, which marked the first year that people could legally grow hemp in the United States. Plenty of farmers added hemp to their […]

Caroline County Virginia soybean field

2019 was good for cotton, bad for soybeans and tobacco in Virginia

BY: - January 17, 2020

Virginia farmers last year saw big bumps in cotton thanks to favorable weather, but soybeans and tobacco suffered as a result of the China-U.S. trade war. The commonwealth produced 22 percent more cotton in 2019 than it did in 2018, according to numbers released by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in conjunction […]

Cows graze in Tazewell County. One dairy farm a week has closed in Virginia this year. (Josh/Flickr/Creative Commons 2.0)

Goodbye almond milk, hello nut beverage? Lawmakers advance milk labeling bill.

BY: - January 15, 2020

Virginia Beach Del. Barry Knight’s milk bill cleared its first hurdle Wednesday afternoon when the House Agriculture Subcommittee voted 7-1 to pass it on for consideration to the larger Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee. The measure, which defines milk as “the lacteal secretion, practically free of colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of a […]

Pawpaws may become Virginia’s official state fruit. What’s behind their rise in popularity?

BY: - January 14, 2020

Appalachian banana. Hillybilly mango. Quaker delight.  Call the pawpaw by any name you like, but if one House of Delegates member has her way, make sure you also call it Virginia’s state fruit. Native to Virginia and growing mainly in forests, pawpaws have been enjoying an unexpected moment in the sun. Cidermakers and wineries have […]

Amid chicken farming boom on Eastern Shore, state worries about water supply

BY: - December 13, 2019

Which comes first, chicken farms or the public water supply? On Friday the state signaled it ranks a sustainable aquifer above concerns about poultry industry costs when the State Water Control Board unanimously voted to require 45 major Eastern Shore chicken farms to look at the shallow Columbia aquifer instead of only deep-water reserves as […]

Virginia aims to improve water quality by transporting tons of poultry waste around the state

BY: - October 4, 2019

Virginia has a novel new approach to meeting its water quality goals: moving chicken waste around the state. As the 2025 deadline for Chesapeake Bay cleanup approaches, the commonwealth is vastly expanding a program that transports poultry litter — a product that includes not only fowl excrement but also leftover bedding and uneaten feed — […]