“Leaders don’t force people to follow, they invite them on a journey.” - anonymous In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, I received a card with this quote on it in the mail yesterday. As the director of a leadership program, it is exciting to think about inviting others on a journey - one of… Continue reading Invited on this Journey
During our last seminar, we had the honor of visiting the George Washington Carver High School. George Washington Carver High School was an African American High School during segregation for four counties. After segregation, the school was turned into a vocational center. Now, the school has become a special project of the community with the… Continue reading The Struggle for an Education!
During the ninth seminar of VALOR Class IV in Central VA, we fellows enjoyed a stop at Bright Farms in Elkwood, VA. General Manager Nate Gurevitz gave us a tour of the 150,000 sq. ft. facility and showed us the hydroponic growing process for the greens they grow, from start to finish. First, seeds, trays… Continue reading Seminar IX: Bright Farms
As I reflect on our time visiting Southside Virginia, one theme that stands out for me is the importance and power of vision, which shines through at the Olde Dominion Ag Complex. The facility seems like a huge asset to the agricultural community. It took incredible vision for the 9 farmers who started the idea… Continue reading Vision & relationships
For our November Seminar, we traveled to Southside Virginia. Southwest Virginia and Southside Virginia are kindred spirts due to their involved in growing the golden leaf. There are many different types of tobacco grown for many different reasons. Southwest Virginia has traditionally grown burley tobacco (air cured) and Southside has traditionally grown flu cured tobacco… Continue reading Tobacco & Strong Leaders
What more appropriate time than the New Year to reflect upon past experiences and how it can help one grow and develop. November's seminar took us to Southside Virginia. One of our tours took us to Briarview Farms which is owned and operated by Mr. Robert Mills. Mills tends to rejuvenate and inspire others in… Continue reading Daring Decisions
I wasn't really sure what to expect during our trip to Southside Virginia. This is a part of our state that I have visited quite few times personally but never in the context of the agriculture industry. We hit the ground running as always when we arrived in Danville. Our first visit was to JTI… Continue reading Southside: One of Virginia’s “Extremes”
The song I chose for this blog's title, by Old Crow Medicine Show, is somewhat of a contradiction, because as our visit to Southside Virginia showed us, tobacco is still very much a part of the region. However, we also saw that farmers are increasingly having to diversify their operations, with row crops, beef, and… Continue reading We Don’t Grow Tobacco
While I have indulged in an occasional cigar, I have never been a smoker. So, my curiosity in all things tobacco never materialized. Having observed how cigars are hand-rolled, I imagined making cigarettes could not be very difficult. That conjecture was quickly put to rest during our tour of JTI Leaf Services located in Danville,… Continue reading Tobacco is Still Alive!
VALOR Class IV's first stop on the Southside tour was JTI - Japan Tobacco International - Leaf Services in Danville, VA. At the facility we watched and learned how tobacco was bundled and brought in by partner farmers, cut, re-hydrated, sorted and repacked for international distribution. Tobacco products were not made at this facility but… Continue reading Seminar VIII: Southside VA