AGRICULTURE

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

Virginia’s losing one dairy farm a week. Can cheese save the industry?

BY: - December 18, 2018

Cline Brubaker bought his dad’s dairy farm in 1967, but he has no plans to entice his own children into the family business. He shut down his farm in October after more than 50 years of milking cows and plans to begin selling off his land. “I haven’t made money since 2009,” he says via […]

One state agency is trying to kill this invasive shrub. Another is planting it.

BY: - December 17, 2018

Workers at Virginia’s state parks say they’re trying to kill Chinese bushclover, an invasive plant that grows in thick stands, choking out native flora. And they sounded just a bit frustrated during a meeting this week when they noted their colleagues at another state agency, the Virginia Department of Transportation, are still actively planting it […]

Growing forward: Facing historic and modern challenges, Virginia’s black farmers look to bolster ranks and grow their communities

BY: - December 4, 2018

Agriculture is the largest private industry in Virginia, making a $70 billion economic impact annually, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. There are more than 44,000 farmers in the commonwealth and the top crops include soybeans, corn and tobacco. Of those Virginia farmers, 1,865 are African American — about 4 percent. In 1920, census […]

A solution for nitrogen pollution?

BY: - October 12, 2018

Nitrogen pollution from fertilizer runoff is one of the main sources of low oxygen “dead zones” in the Chesapeake Bay. And it’s a problem throughout the world, as the modern agriculture that sustains human life is itself dependent on commercially-produced nitrogen fertilizers. “Humans have nearly doubled Earth’s natural flow of fixed nitrogen, overwhelming the capacity […]

Caroline County Virginia soybean field

‘I’d prefer they just stay out of it:’ Virginia farmers caught in the middle of trade war

BY: - September 5, 2018

Even as the trade war between the United States and China threatens to dramatically drive down the price of the nation’s top agricultural export, many Virginia soybean farmers are adopting a cautious stance of “wait and see.” “We’re hearing from some farmers that are understandably very upset with the administration because it is affecting the […]