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Events for Farmers and Ranchers in Virginia

The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition (VBFRC) aims to keep farmers and ranchers in Virginia informed about the events and opportunities happening near them through our bi-monthly newsblast sent out via our listserv and linked to on this page. The events, also listed below, include educational and social opportunities. This list is not all-inclusive, and not all events listed are by the VBFRC.

If you would like to add your beginning farmer events to the list, please send an email including the event title; dates; a short summary; and any flyers, attachments, or hotlinks to vabeginningfarmer@vt.edu

Bi-monthly Newsblast

Click the image below to be taken to a .pdf of our most recent newsblast. Events, resources, and webinar recordigns from the newsblast are also listed below, with links to more information.

A Statement from President Tim Sands and Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity Menah Pratt-Clarke
As an entity at VT we at the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition want to uplift the words and actions of our leadership on the race-driven murders and systemic racism.

USDA Grants Available for Urban Agriculture
The USDA is offering urban agriculture grant funding. More information is available at www.farmers.gov/urban or by contacting Annie.Ceccarini@usda.gov (Urban agriculture grants) Joseph.heller@usda.gov (Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovate Production). An informational webinar scheduled for 2:00 to 4:00 p.m EST on June 3.  

June 1-August 1: Summer 2020 On-line Woodland Options for Landowners Course
This is a non-graded, not-for-credit course will lead you through the basics of woodland management. $45/family - includes 3 books. Topics include: Setting management goals and objectives, writing a management plan, using aerial photos, topographic maps, and soil surveys, determining boundary lines, forest ecology and management, working with natural resource professionals, tree identification.

June 9: Farm Stress: Mental Challenges for Agriculture
Join the Farm Credit Knowledge Center as they welcome Dr. Amy Johnson, RN, DNP, FNP-C to speak on the topic of farm stress. Topics to be covered: Recognizing signs of stress in self and others, understanding how stress contributes to an increase in poor health, how stress can contribute to farm accidents, where to look for help, relevant resources

June 11: Grass, Goats, and….Uninvited Guests!
Grass, Goats, and…Uninvited Guests! is a new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, agriculture, & math) curriculum focusing on small ruminant internal parasites, diagnostics, and treatment. This innovative, hands-on program uses goat or sheep stuffed animal models, group learning, and edible treats to teach the FAMACHA© system and hematocrit determination to diagnose anemia, dag scoring, body condition scoring, fecal worm egg counts, and treatment for worms. Dr. Dahlia O'Brien, Virginia State University's Small Ruminant Specialist will cover the science behind these concepts. Dr. Chantel Wilson, VSU's 4-H STEAM Extension Specialist will provide an overview and best practices for educators to use the curriculum and pique youth interest in STEAM.

June 12: VCE 15 Minutes in the Forest Femelschlag for Oaks
A weekly series of 15-minute webinars by Virginia Cooperative Extension foresters on various topics. This week is on feleschlag for oaks.

June 12: Livestock Update Webinar Series
This webinar series offered 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month from 12-1 pm contains timely information for Livestock Producers. Topics for this session to be announced.

June 12: VCE Virtual Farm to Table on Turkey
Virginia ranks 6th in the nation in turkey production. Of the top 20 commodities in the state, turkeys rank 5th. Most turkeys in VA are grown in the Shenandoah Valley. We will explore a turkey farm in Highland County and learn about raising turkeys from poult to processor. We will then learn how to quickly harvest breast meat from a wild turkey killed during hunting season.  Most of the time when we think turkey we think thanksgiving or a deli sandwich. Turkey can provide so much more – it doesn’t have to be a holiday meal. Learn about a recipe that can be an anytime quick easy fix using turkey for everyday cooking. 

June 17: Agritourism: Considerations for Success
Join the Farm Credit Knowledge Center as they welcome Cora Gnegy to speak on the topic of Agritourism: Considerations for Success. Topics to be covered: Agritourism, the in’s and out’s, overview and insight into business development and operations, agritourism marketing, where to look for help, relevant resources

June 19: VCE Virtual Farm to Table on Dairy
In this session, we will learn all about dairy production as we tour dairy farms from different parts of Virginia. First, Jeremy Daubert, ANR/Dairy Extension Agent from Rockingham County, will offer a general introduction into dairy production. Claudia Lefeve, 4-H Extension Agent from Clarke County, will take us to Harvue Farms, to learn about cheese production. Then Cathy Howland, 4-H Extension Agent from Powhatan County, will show you how to make Chocolate Chia Pudding – a tasty source of dairy!

June 19: VCE 15 Minutes in the Forest Piedmont Tree ID
A weekly series of 15-minute webinars by Virginia Cooperative Extension foresters on various topics. This week is on Piedmont tree ID.

June 20: Seed to Medicine Chest “Alcohol Tinctures” and “Propagation Techniques”
Appalachian Sustainable Development and HERBalachia are offering a webinar series focused on cultivating medicinal herbs and creating herbal products for your health and home. June 20th has a session on alcohol tinctures from 10am-12pm and propagation techniques from 2-3pm.

June 26: VCE Virtual Farm to Table on Beef
After learning a little bit about the beef industry in Virginia, we will zoom in on Fresh Branch Farm, a small but growing farm located in Southern Chesterfield County. We are excited for you to take a trip to this farm and learn to forage for plants without using a till, seed, or drill for Fresh Branch Farm’s grass fed/finished cow operation. This farm focuses on growing Piedmontese cattle which produces lean and tender beef thanks to their double muscling gene. Danielle Wilson, the Foods and Nutrition Program Educator in Chesterfield County can't wait to get into the kitchen and teach you how to make a scrumptious meatball with lean grass-fed ground beef that includes items from a variety of food groups and puts your leftovers to good use.

June 19: VCE 15 Minutes in the Forest Lichens
A weekly series of 15-minute webinars by Virginia Cooperative Extension foresters on various topics. This week is on Lichens.

June 26: Livestock Update Webinar Series
This webinar series offered 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month from 12-1 pm contains timely information for Livestock Producers. Topics for this session to be announced.

July 9: Weed Identification and Management
Do you have weeds you need identified?  Are you interested in learning what types of weeds you have and how to manage them? Through the Farm Credit Knowledge Center, Matt Booher, ANR, Virginia Cooperative Extension, is providing a unique interactive webinar where he will personally identify your weeds and provide you with management recommendations.

July 10: VCE 15 Minutes in the Forest A Nature Walk
A weekly series of 15-minute webinars by Virginia Cooperative Extension foresters on various topics. This week is a nature walk.

July 11: Seed to Medicine Chest “Infused Oil & Salves” and “Post Harvest Handling”
Appalachian Sustainable Development and HERBalachia are offering a webinar series focused on cultivating medicinal herbs and creating herbal products for your health and home. June 20th has a session on infused oils and salves from 10am-12pm and post harvest handling from 2-3pm.

July 17: VCE 15 Minutes in the Forest The Big Tree Program
A weekly series of 15-minute webinars by Virginia Cooperative Extension foresters on various topics. This week is the Big Tree Program.

July 17: Virtual Farm to Table: Potatoes
Andean potatoes, often called Irish potatoes, are an easy to grow crop that is a good source of potassium and vitamins B6 and C. Learn more about potatoes, how to grow them, and how they get into your bag of Route 11 Potato Chips. In this session, you will also learn how to make cheese-stuffed twice baked potatoes.

July 24: Virtual Farm to Table: Tomatoes
Tomatoes are important to consumers, gardeners and farmers in Virginia. They're easy to grow and can be eaten so many ways. In this session, you will learn how tomatoes are grown by farmers both in the field and in greenhouses during the colder months. We'll also discuss how gardeners can be successful with tomatoes along with some production tips. Once you've learned how tomatoes grow, we will show you how to make a delicious fresh salsa that's great for a snack or as a topping.

August 1: Seed to Medicine Chest “Vinegars/Fire Ciders” and “Value Added Product Sales”
Appalachian Sustainable Development and HERBalachia are offering a webinar series focused on cultivating medicinal herbs and creating herbal products for your health and home. June 20th has a session on vinegars/fire ciders from 10am-12pm and value added product sales from 2-3pm.

August 7: Virtual Farm to Table: Sweet Potatoes
We take you to the farm to see how sweet potatoes are planted and harvested on a large scale. Then we will show you how to plant sweet potatoes at home. Finally, we will show you how to prepare baked sweet potato fries and a special Virginia Tech themed sweet potato dish.

August 21: Virtual Farm to Table: Wine and Lamb
Did you know that Virginia has a sheep population of more than 89,000? Did you know that Virginia is the 8th largest producer of wine in the country? Tune in to learn a little bit about raising sheep and the process of turning grapes into wine! We’ll also demonstrate cooking with lamb and discuss appropriate wine pairings featuring popular Virginia-grown grape varieties.

Farmers Selling Online—Choosing a Platform (June 2)
Brought to you by Virginia Farmers Market Association and Virginia State University, this 90-minute webinar is for farmers who want to add an online store or online pre-ordering system to their operations. It provides practical details about 4 different platforms — Google Forms, Square, Lulus Local Food and Local Line via Virginia Market Maker. It also covers what to consider before choosing a platform. PowerPoint slides are available at this link: https://tinyurl.com/yddbgtug. The recording is available via the hotlinked title above.

Virginia Tech’s Livestock Update Webinar (May 22)
This livestock update webinar from Virginia Tech focuses on summer forage management with Dr. Gabriel Pent and livestock enterprise management financial considerations with Dr. Alex White. Check out recordings of the entire series here: https://www.apsc.vt.edu/extensionandoutreach/beef-extension.html

VCE COVID-19 Updates
Updates from the Virginia Cooperative Extension state office to keep VCE employees and the public aware of decisions from central administration.

VCE COVID-19 Resources
A compendium of Virginia Cooperative Extension factsheets, guidelines, and trainings related to COVID-19.

The Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation “The Food System and COVID-19” Resource Page
This online resource aims to 1) serve stakeholders on an off campus with curated public resources, news, and articles related to COVID-19 and the food system 2) share ideas and inspiration about food system and social change possibilities through position articles written by Center associates and fellows, and 3) steward an ongoing dialogue about structural changes needed to address the inequities COVID-19 is highlighting in our food system.

Virginia Association for Biological Farmers (VABF) “Coronavirus Resources, Farmers, Consumers, and Farmers Market Managers”
A compilation of the most current resources for farmers, market managers, consumers, and other food system stakeholders such that communities can make informed decisions and still have access to fresh, healthy foods in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Virginia Farmers Market Association (VAFMA) “COVID-19 and Virginia’s Farmers Markets”
Detailed information related to COVID-19’s effects on farmers markets in Virginia.

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) “COVID-19 Emergency Information Center”
Provides relevant and up-to-date guidance and resources related to agriculture and agribusiness concerns.

Virginia Farm Bureau Federation “Producer Resources Related to the Coronavirus COVID-19”
Information for Virginian farmers relevant to farm operations during this public health challenge.

COVID-19 Loans, Funding, and Grants for Food and Farm Businesses and more!
Oregon Tilth has compiled a list of loans, funding, and grants for food and farm businesses available at the link above. Scroll down to “Loans and Grants.” Other COVID-19 resources for farmers are also available on this site. 

Virginia Tech Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics Report on the "Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on U.S. and Virginia Farms and Agribusinesses: May 2020"
The report covers topics ranging from an overarching economic outlook to disruptions in the food supply chain, aquaculture, U.S.-China trade, grain markets, and agricultural policy. Along with other COVID-19 related resources published so far by the department's members.

Physiological First Aid: Supporting Yourself and Others During COVID-19 Online Course
The American Red Cross is offering a free Psychological First Aid: Supporting Yourself and Others During COVID-19 Online course during the pandemic. The course content is based on guidance from the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This online course is designed for anyone interested in learning techniques for supporting mental health during the COVID-19 crisis.

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The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition is a state-wide and coalition-based Extension program, housed in Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education. Funding was sponsored by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Award #2017-70011-26861, and the Southern Risk Management Education Center Grant #545015. For more information about the program, contact Katie Trozzo, Program Coordinator, at vabeginningfarmer@vt.edu or 540-231-4582.   For other questions, contact Kim Niewolny, Program Director, at niewolny@vt.edu.

For website updates, such as broken links, please contact vabeginningfarmer@vt.edu