AGRICULTURE

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 — […]

‘A small renaissance’: Pawpaws, George Washington’s favorite fruit, seeing a resurgence

BY: - September 3, 2019

Michael McConkey can’t keep enough pawpaw trees in stock at his landscaping business in Afton. “There’s a small renaissance going on with it. There are an awful lot of backyard growers,” McConkey said. He’s stocked the fruit tree at his store, Edible Landscaping, since the business opened in 1987.  And as popularity of the once-obscure […]

‘Farmer’ Northam says Trump’s trade war has cut profits for growers

BY: - August 20, 2019

President Donald Trump’s trade war with China threatens profits for Virginia’s soybean farmers, a group that includes Gov. Ralph Northam, he said during a financial update to lawmakers. Northam, speaking at a presentation to the Joint Money Committee, owns and leases about 50 acres of farm land on the Eastern Shore. “I’m a farmer,” said […]

Wet weather prevented thousands of acres of crops from being planted last year in Virginia

BY: - August 15, 2019

Virginia’s amber waves of grain are short 40,000 acres this year thanks to an unusually wet past year. Compared to a record 19.4 million acres of land nationwide that couldn’t be planted due to weather or natural disaster, that’s a drop in the bucket. But it’s also about eight times higher than the 5,500 acres […]

‘The pig bomb’: Feral hogs make a great meme, but they are a serious pest in Virginia

BY: - August 7, 2019

The frequently asked questions page on the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ website says it best. “Feral hogs are four-legged ecological disasters.” Earlier this week the “30-50 feral hogs” meme swarmed the internet, an unexpected by-product of the nationwide gun debate. But in many parts of the country, including Virginia, feral hogs have […]

A new tick plus a new disease equals a double threat to Virginia cattle

BY: - July 30, 2019

The cause of the seven cows’ deaths wasn’t immediately clear. All of the animals died between late summer and fall of 2017 in Albemarle County, the prosperous, semi-agricultural county that surrounds the city of Charlottesville. Another cow on the property, sick but alive, was found with signs of anemia, weakness and respiratory distress. Fearing the […]

Researchers to quit USDA rather than leave Washington metro area

BY: - July 17, 2019

WASHINGTON — As the Trump administration prepares to move two Agriculture Department research agencies and more than 500 jobs out of the nation’s capital region, many of the agencies’ employees appear ready to quit their jobs rather than leave their homes. Democratic lawmakers in Virginia have attempted, so far unsuccessfully, to put the brakes on […]

Summer of the spud: Virginia potato prices more than double

BY: - July 16, 2019

It’s the Summer of the Potato in Virginia, where ideal growing conditions at home and poor ones elsewhere have conspired to produce a bumper crop for farmers that is fetching unusually high prices on the market. “We had timely rains during planting and growing season, but it turned hot and dry just before harvest,” said […]

Report: Many cattle aren’t fenced out of waterways, increasing pollution in the Shenandoah Valley

BY: - April 4, 2019

After examining Google Earth images of 1,676 livestock farms with rivers or streams in the Shenandoah Valley, two environmental groups determined that 81 percent are failing to fence their cattle out of streams, according to a new report. Allowing cattle to access waterways contributes to high fecal bacteria and pollution not only in local rivers […]

‘Prohibition is over;’ Va. farmers see hemp grown for CBD as major cash crop

BY: - March 31, 2019

Virginia farmers haven’t had much to smile about recently. Trade wars sent crop prices plummeting. Dairy farms closed at a rate of more than one a week. The weather has sucked. But legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor last month offers a rare recent win for the industry: It’s now […]

Virginia farmers see lots of promise in hemp, though uncertainty around economic benefits remains

BY: - January 30, 2019

While the legalization of marijuana in the commonwealth remains elusive, potential economic benefits may persuade Virginia legislators to lift restrictions on the plant’s cousin, hemp, bringing the state in line with new federal regulations.  The 2019 session of the General Assembly saw the filing of five new bills that would remove barriers to the cultivation […]

Virginia farmers get money to help clean up the bay

BY: - January 11, 2019

A Virginia region that is an unlikely but critical partner in the commonwealth’s efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay has been selected as one of the recipients of more than $1.7 million in federal and matching funds: the Shenandoah Valley. Last month, the U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced that it would channel […]