Report: Many cattle aren’t fenced out of waterways, increasing pollution in the Shenandoah Valley
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
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
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
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 […]
Trump’s trade-war bailout is sending $4.4 million worth of pork to Virginia food banks
Tractor trailers loaded with $10 million worth of apples, beans, cheese, potatoes, milk and pork — lots and lots of pork — will begin heading to Virginia food banks next month. The unprecedented bounty, which represents a more than 40 percent increase in donations for some regional food banks, comes courtesy of President Donald Trump’s […]
Virginia’s losing one dairy farm a week. Can cheese save the industry?
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.
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
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?
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 […]
‘I’d prefer they just stay out of it:’ Virginia farmers caught in the middle of trade war
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 […]