Prior to our VALOR Class III trip to Washington State, I knew very little about hops. Fortunately for me, Washington State leads the nation in hop production, so I was in the right place to learn. We started our morning off by meeting with Frank Hendrix, a Yakima County Extension agent. He provided a great… Continue reading Hops for miles!
VALOR Class III fellows had the pleasure of learning about the South African beef cattle industry during our international seminar. We started our day with an early morning drive to the town of Heilbron where we met with Solomon Maseou, an emerging farmer. Solomon farms on 600 hectares of land that was purchased by the… Continue reading Sernick Group – South Africa
One of the highlights of our last VALOR seminar was learning about the green industry on the “other side of the mountain.” That’s right, this Hokie ventured into Charlottesville for a few days. While there are many greenhouse facilities scattered around Virginia, the bulk of the environmentally controlled square footage is in Central Virginia. According… Continue reading Virginia’s Green Industry
As I reflect on our time spent in Southside Virginia during our last VALOR seminar, I am reminded of our training on crucial conversations. A crucial conversation can be one that is difficult, challenging, and/or important. These types of conversations occur in every part of our daily lives. In many cases, it is a conversation… Continue reading Crucial Conversations
On the first day of our seminar in the Northern Neck, we found ourselves at Ingleside Vineyards. The first vines were planted in the late 1970s with the first commercial harvest in 1980. This makes Ingleside Vineyards is one of the oldest vineyards in Virginia. We had the pleasure to speak with Doug Flemer, whose… Continue reading Better is Better
Our look into agriculture during our sixth VALOR seminar in rural Southwest Virginia continues to showcase Virginia’s agricultural diversity. We had the pleasure of visiting with Kevin Beamer at Virginia Produce Company, a family owned business, in Hillsville, VA. Virginia Produce Company sources produce from farmers along the east coast, packages the produce, and distributes… Continue reading Southwest Virginia
The third cohort of VALOR fellows were fortunate enough to have our fifth seminar in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. I may be biased, but there is no better place than Virginia’s largest agricultural county (in terms of gross receipts) to learn about agricultural leadership. And when you are in Rockingham County, the unofficial turkey capital,… Continue reading Turkey Day!
Our seminar began with tours of agricultural operations in Loudon County, a unique area where agriculture meets urban development. While this convergence can create many challenges for farmers, some have leveraged the opportunity for growth. Mary Ellen Taylor of Endless Summer Harvest has used her proximity to urban development to capture a niche market for… Continue reading A whirlwind tour of Northern VA agriculture and policy…
I’m guessing that the word lobbyist may have a negative connotation to a lot of people. I can certainly understand how this association evolved over time, but lobbyists do serve a useful purpose in our government. And, for those involved in agriculture, we should be thankful that there are people looking out for our best… Continue reading Friend or Foe?
In a whirlwind of speed and efficiency and through a maze of machines and people, pigs fly through Smithfield Foods’ packing facility. Smithfield Foods is a $14 billion global food company and the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. As a part of our second VALOR seminar we were very fortunate to tour the… Continue reading Pigs Really Can Fly…