Virginia Piedmont Agriculture, Such Wow

The preeminent K-Pop series detailing a popular music group’s move to the country, this gripping drama highlights a generation’s view of the importance of agriculture. It also stole the name from the industry leading ag-news provider, found here.

What does agriculture mean to the Virginia Pediment? I find agriculture in this central region of Virginia to reflect the priorities of the country at large. It may be related to the region’s proximity to the urban/cultural hubs of Charlottesville, Richmond, and Washington D.C. It may be the relatively smaller scale of the regions farms, allowing for a more fluid response to market changes. Maybe it’s is just more hip.

The examples of innovation we had the opportunity to see in our most recent seminar presented an interesting shift in the ability for traditional agricultural systems to accommodate the changing tastes of the customer base. As eating and drinking priorities change, particularly among millennials, how the agricultural community adapts to the shifts in priorities is telling, not only in regards to the methodologies of those changes, but in the perceived value in those changes themselves.

We saw a cattle operation that saw potential in the all-natural marketplace, and whole heartedly believes that converting to meet that market’s demands were worth the costs. We visited a winery that decided to incorporate additional cellar space, almost as an afterthought, into the plans for the event space that was to be built to bolster the on-farm revenue. An orchard that determined making cider was the right move, after generations of growing and selling fruit wholesale. A brewery that is concerned with sourcing local ingredients. A ranch breaking from conventional breed restrictions. A dairy that decided ice cream would be a sound PR move.

While none of these businesses are the first of their kind, the question remains, why are there so many disparate innovators operating up and down the Rt. 29 corridor? All operators try to work out what their niche should be, but are the recent trends in eating and drinking more easily responded to by operators in central Virginia? Only time will tell.


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