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Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Webinar Series Archive

Below you will find all the previously recorded webinars featured in the VBFRC Webinar Series. Just click on the header of each topic to be taken to a page with an archived recording. If you have any suggestions for future webinar topics, please email vabeginningfarmer@vt.edu.

Spotlight on the Farm Safety, Health, and Wellness Toolkit for Managing Farm Stress and Mental Health

Presenters: Garland Mason Program Coordinator AgrAbility Virignia*
Nicole Nunoo Graduate Research Assistant*
Kim Niewolny Director AgrAbility Virginia & Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition*
*Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education, Virginia Tech

Summary: This webinar covers the most recent resources developed for farmers and service providers by Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Farm Safety, Health, and Wellness Initiative. Here, we'll share our toolkit that includes discussion-based, decisionmaking, and “best practice” resources for addressing the growing concerns about farm stress and wellbeing, specifically as they pertain to the current coronavirus crisis. These resources address several issues and themes that build upon each other, including: how to identify and manage farm financial stress, understanding stress and grief in farm families, and ways to improve mental health communication and referral strategies with farmers and farm organizations. We will also raise awareness about our current programs led by VCE agents and AgrAbility Virginia field staff for continued education and community outreach.

Using the Farm Financial Stress Assessment Tool: A Webinar for Extension Agents

Presenters: Dr. Kim Morgan, Associate Professor, SW FL Research & Extension Center, University of Florida, Adjunct Faculty, Dept. Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech
Nicole Nunoo, Graduate Research Assistant, Dept. of Agricultural, Leadership & Community Education, Virginia Tech

Summary: Extension agents are closely involved in advising farmers and farm families on identification and mitigation of financial risks unique to the agricultural industry. Financial decisions are often time-sensitive and complicated, and the source of many sleepless nights to farmers and advisors alike. This webinar provides agents with an overview and demonstration of our Farmer Financial Health and Wellbeing Assessment. This tool is intended for use as a communication aid to foster safe, productive conversations between farmers and agents. This webinar is designed to complement related resources aimed at  supporting the mental health of our farmers who make tough decisions under conditions of uncertainty on a daily basis. All agents are welcome to join us!


Collaborative and Cooperative Thinking for Farm Resilience

Presenters: Michael Carter Junior, farmer at Carter Farms, coordinator of VSU’s Small Farm Outreach Program, and collaborator of the Black Church Food Security Network
Anna Wills, co-owner Bramble Hollow Farms, co-founder of a regional farm cooperative, Edible Goose Creek
Brent Wills, co-owner Bramble Hollow Farms, President of the Virginia Association for Biological Farming

Summary: At a time of great unrest and uncertainty, more than ever we need to think about and plan for resiliency in our local and regional food systems that also ensures long term community well-being. This includes shifting towards and expanding a collaborative mind set as farmers and farmer educators.  This webinar will share collaborative marketing and distribution models and best practices for networking to realize collective action among farmers. Our panelists include Michael Carter Junior and Anna and Brent Wills. Michael is a farmer at Carter Farms, coordinator of VSU’s Small Farm Outreach Program, and collaborator of the Black Church Food Security Network. Anna and Brent Wills, own and operate Bramble Hollow Farms in Montvale, Virginia. Anna is a co-founder of a regional farm cooperative, Edible Goose Creek and Brent is President of the Virginia Association for Biological Farmers. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from our panelists and ask them questions about their experience working in collaboration with other farmers.

Adding Value to Your Harvest for Year Round Income

Presenters: Laurette Tucker, Rural Business Specialist at USDA’s Rural Development
Coley Drinkwater, Managing Member of Richlands Creamery, LLC

Summary: With shifts in the value chain due to COVID-19, many farmers are looking for ways to make their product shelf stable. This webinar will explore processes, experiences, resources, and support for farmers interested in determining the feasibility of making value added products from their farm. We will hear from Laurette Tucker, a rural business specialist at Rural Development, and Coley Jones, a managing member of Richlands Creamery, who has gone through the Value Added Producer Program to create value added products on her farm.

Farm Financing Options for Historically Underserved and Beginning Farmers Through the USDA Farm Service Agency

June 25, 2020

Presenters: Brandon Waldron, Farm Loan Officer in Fredericksburg FSA Office
Laura Fisher, Farm Loan Specialist in Virginia State FSA Office

Summary: Are you curious about loans to beginning and historically underserved farmers?  Learn what financing options are available through the Farm Service Agency Farm Loan Programs.  Discussion will include types of loans, rates and terms, eligibility and feasibility requirements, and an opportunity for questions.

Hemp Panel Webinar

May 13, 2020

Presenters: John Fike, PhD Associate Professor and Extension Specialist Virginia Tech; Kelli Scott Manager of Production and Marketing at TruHarvest Farms; Adam Taylor, M.Ag Hemp Small Farmer at Singing Spring Farm and Farm Manager at the Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center

Summary: A panel webinar on hemp farming in Virginia where Kelli Scott, Adam Taylor, and Dr. John Fike, share the ins and outs, dos and don’ts, whys and why nots so you can understand the opportunities alongside the concerns and issues in order to make informed decisions around farming hemp. Each speaker shares their experience and knowledge related to hemp farming and then they answer participant questions.

Stress and Safety: Decrease One, Increase the Other

April 20, 2020

Presenter: Deborah B. Reed, PhD, FAAOHN, FAAN, RN, Agricultural Health Nurse and Farm Family Member 

Summary: This seminar illustrates the relationships between stress, injury and overall health among farmers.

Forest Farming in Virginia

March 26, 2020

Presenter: John Munsell, Associate Professor and Forest Management Extension Specialist at Virginia Tech

Summary: Dr. John Munsell briefly covered the basics of forest farming and shared contemporary opportunities for farming in Virginia’s forestlands. He also described the remarkable rise of forest farming in the state and beyond, and discussed the development of an American Forest Farming Council to support forest farmers. 

Agritourism Safety in Virginia

February 12, 2020

Presenter: Livvy Preisser, Extension Agent in Isle of Wight County, Virginia

Summary: An overview of Virginia Agritourism is presented as well as the importance of the industry to the Commonwealth. Agritourism Safety is explained and discussed for producers that have agritourism operations or producers that are possibly looking to diversify and begin an agritourism operation. Topics include: insurance, signage, employee and visitor safety, and much more.

Protecting Your Health and Safety as the Years Go By

November 18, 2019

Presenter: Deborah B. Reed, PhD, FAAOHN, FAAN, RN, Agricultural Health Nurse and Farm Family Member

Summary: As we age, our bodies change in ways we might not anticipate. Learn how to protect your health and modify your farm work as the years roll on so you can continue doing what you love.

Stress on the Farm: Getting Through and Thriving

October 28, 2019

Presenter: Deborah B. Reed, PhD, FAAOHN, FAAN, RN, Agricultural Health Nurse and Farm Family Member

Summary: This webinar will help you understand the stressors associated with farming and how to deal with that stress so your body and mind can thrive, even when time are tough.

Understanding Fresh Produce Purchasing Considerations to Increase Access by Local Producers to Virginia’s Market Sectors

October 30, 2018

Presenters: Kelli Scott, Virginia Cooperative Extension; and Amber Vallotton, Virginia Tech School of Plant and Environmental Sciences

Summary: This webinar is an introduction to fresh produce food safety topics relevant to producers across Virginia, including resources to go to for help and direction.

Virginia Community Garden Network

October 9, 2018

Presenters: Kelli Scott, VCE - Montgomery County Agriculture & Natural Resources; and Meredith Johnson, Family Nutrition Program; Policy, Systems and Environmental Change Programming Coordinator

Summary: This webinar is an introduction to the Virginia Community Garden Network, a platform to engage and share information, resources, news, and events related to community gardens across the commonwealth. The network has interactive listserv, a shared resources folder, and a statewide community gardening mapping component.

The State of the Craft: Virginia Hops Enterprise Budget and Market Analysis

July 2, 2018

Presenters: Dr. Kim Morgan and Ben Garber, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

Summary: Though 85% of the nation's hops are produced in the Pacific Northwest, other regions of the country are expanding production acreage. Virginia’s growing interest in hops production industry is driven by the opening of the state’s 200th brewery in July 2017 (Blackwell, 2017) coupled with the interest in local ingredients by brewers and consumers alike. However, slowdowns in US craft beer sales growth numbers (Dzen, 2017), oversaturated markets (Nurin, 2018), and lack of data on production practices and costs present challenges to Virginia growers. More significantly, relatively humid, warmer Southeastern climate conditions and limited access to expensive inputs are constraining growth in Virginia hops acreage. In response to these concerns, Virginia Tech horticulturists, economists, and Cooperative Extension agent faculty collaborated to create enterprise budgets and share market diversification and promotional strategies with the industry to assist growers with accessing direct market sales opportunities. In this webinar, we will present our Virginia hops enterprise budget based on recommended best management practices for three varieties, along with revenue sensitivity analysis and net present value calculations. An overview of trends in the craft beer market will be presented alongside a competitive analysis of the industry. Promotional activities with the potential to provide branded product marketing and messaging will be shared with the audience.

Adding Value to Your Land with NRCS

November 30, 2017

Presenter: Rachel Loveday, USDA-NRCS District Conservation

Summary: The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works alongside farmers and private landowners to help them address natural resource concerns like erosion and water quality and achieve their goals for the property/operation. All over Virginia, NRCS staff are collaborating with producers to develop conservation systems that make agricultural operations more efficient, productive, and profitable. These systems can also reduce off-site impacts, support compliance with environmental regulations, and protect eligibility for USDA programs like crop insurance. This presentation will offer an update on NRCS services and opportunities available through Farm Bill programs.

Good Harvest: Virginia's Food Crop Donation Tax Credit

October 17, 2017

Presenters: Representatives from First Lady of Virginia's office, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, and Department of Taxation

Summary: Through Virginia’s Food Crop Donation Tax Credit, farmers have the opportunity to use their excess crops for a purpose: serving the 1.2 million Virginians who go hungry each year. In this webinar, participants will learn more about how they can make use of the tax credit to donate their excess harvest, give back to hungry families, and receive up to 30% of the value of their donation. The presentation will cover background of the program, a walkthrough on filing for the credit, suggestions on connecting with local food banks, and a question and answer session.   

Introduction to Virginia Market Ready Farm to Restaurant

June 21, 2017

Presenters: Dr. Kim Morgan and Ben Garber, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

Summary: Market Ready Farm to Restaurant is a program developed specifically for producers who would like to get started or expand current operations to sell direct to restaurants. Participants will gain a working knowledge of what restaurant chefs and retail managers are looking for in purchasing food products directly from Virginia producers. Participants will be introduced to seven topics, including: Explore current food policy legislation; Build relationships to better communicate with managers & chefs; Design effective packaging and labeling; Develop marketing strategies; Craft alternative pricing structures; Address regulatory concerns; and Use Virginia’s Market Maker portal to conduct market research.

Developing Farm Food Products in Virginia

May 25, 2017

Presenter: Joelle Eifert, Director, Food Innovations Program, Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech

Summary: This webinar is a discussion of value added food products presented by Joelle Eifert, Director of the Food Innovations Program at Virginia Tech. Producing value added food products requires knowledge in a wide range of areas, including: regulation, labeling, food safety, and more.

Appalachian Harvest: Growing Cucurbits

March 30, 2017

Presenter: Dr. Allen Straw, SW VA AREC, Virginia Cooperative Extension

Summary: Appalachian Harvest offered a Growing Cucurbits class that covered the pests, disease and control measures for both conventional and organic to increase wholesale quality, as well as a FSMA introduction. 

Women in Agriculture Virtual Roundtable - SW VA

March 16, 2017

Presenters: Amy Fannon and Christy Asbury

Summary: Two women from southwest Virginia share information about themselves and their agriculture work; discuss challenges they have faced; share their hopes for the future of women in agriculture; and offer advice for other farmers.

Recordkeeping and Taxes for Farmers

November 10, 2016

Presenter: John Howe

Presenter Bio: I earned a BS in Dairy Science from Penn State and a MS in Dairy Science from Virginia Tech. Work experience includes 19 years with Virginia Cooperative Extension, this includes 5 years as a Farm Management Agent and 14 as a Animal Science Agent and Unit Coordinator. Additionally I worked 22 years for Farm Credit and held different positions including; Loan Officer, Credit Manager and I was the Chief Internal Auditor when I retired.

Insurance Considerations for Farmers
November 3, 2016

Presenter: Scott Denoon

Presenter Bio: Scott DeNoon is the Farm Product and Underwriting Manager for the Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Companies and has over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry.  During his career, he has assisted agricultural operations throughout Virginia in the development of insurance, loss control and risk management programs and specializes in the design of programs for agritourism attractions.  In his current role, Scott is responsible for developing and executing profitable growth and retention strategies for Virginia Farm Bureau’s farm product lines and coordinating product development and marketing initiatives. 

Scott is a graduate of James Madison University and holds several insurance designations including Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, Certified Insurance Counselor, Agribusiness & Farm Insurance Specialist, Associate in Personal Insurance, and Associate in Insurance Services.  He is also recognized as a Virginia Insurance Continuing Education Instructor. 

Scott is a native of Powhatan, Virginia where he was raised in a dairy farming community.  He and his wife, Joy, currently reside in Mechanicsville, Virginia and have one daughter, Emily.      

Forms of Incorporation

October 20, 2016

Presenter: Andrew Branan, The Branan Law Firm, PLLC

Presenter Bio: For more information on Andrew Branan, you can read all about his life and career in Farm Law at: http://www.brananlaw.com/about-the-lawyer/

Bookkeeping and Software Selection

October 13, 2016

Presenter: Audrey Powers, BB&T

Presenter Bio: I have worked in the financial industry for 35 years and with BB&T for 26.  Current position is Small Business Specialist Team Leader for the Valley Region assisting a variety of small business clients including farmers with financial needs.   I have a BS degree in Business Administration with a major in accounting.  The bank also keeps us well educated in financial analysis, regulations, and products and services that fit specific small business client’s needs.  I grew up on a small farm where we raised hogs, chickens, milked cows, and grew vegetables for consumption; and tobacco as a cash crop.  Gardening and spending time with my family, especially grandchildren, are my greatest joy.  I love the outdoors.

Financial Needs Assessment

October 6, 2016

Presenter: Amy Gail Fannon, Virginia Cooperative Extension

Presenter Bio: Amy Gail Fannon is the Extension Agent of Agriculture and Natural Resources for Virginia Cooperative Extension in Lee County.  She received her Bachelor's Degree in Crop and Soil‐Environmental Science with minors in Forestry and Environmental Science in December 2008 from Virginia Tech. She finished her Master's Degree in Crop and Soil‐Environmental Science from Virginia Tech with her thesis focusing on hair sheep production in silvopasture systems in 2012.  Amy resides on her family’s small farm in community of Hickory Flats in Lee County.  The farm has been in the family for four generations and currently produces soybeans, corn, alfalfa hay, and pumpkins.

Introduction to the Whole Farm Business Plan Challenge

September 29, 2016

Presenter: Tamara McNaughton, Appalachian Sustainable Development

Presenter Bio: Tamara serves Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) part-time as Agriculture Program Manager which includes general support to farmers, farmers market managers, and building consumer awareness of the local food system. She focuses on assisting farmers with Whole Farm Business Planning, assisting Markets in accepting EBT and double dollars, designing ASD’s Local Food Guide, and team coordination of various aspects of Rooted in Appalachia. She studied Applied Anthropology/Sustainable Development as an undergraduate and Appalachian Studies/Sustainable Development as a graduate both at Appalachian State University.  When she’s not working on aspects of the local food system for ASD, she’s tending to TNT Farm N Greenhouse in Meadowview VA.

Farm Internships and Apprenticeships

September 16, 2015

Presenter: Lorien MacAuley, PhD Student, Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education, Virginia Tech

Summary: Many farms are interested in learning how to host interns and apprentices, or would like to enhance/update their existing farm internship or apprenticeship. This webinar will review the basics, including how to make the experience a good one for you and your interns or apprentices, and common policies and practices on the farm. The webinar will also delineate legal considerations that farmers must be aware of for their apprenticeship or internship program, and provide resources for further information on farm internships and apprenticeships.

Land Transfer Options: Virginia Farm Link & the Certified Farm Seeker Program

August 17, 2015

Presenters: Andy Sorrell, Office of Farmland Preservation Coordinator with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS); Katie Myer, Certified Farm Seeker Coordinator

Summary: Land transfer and farm start-up go hand-in-hand for many. Finding good land and planning for the next generation also require careful planning. In this webinar, Mr. Andy Sorrell and Ms. Katie Myer will provide participants with an overview of the Virginia Farm Link and Certified Farm Seeker (CFS) land transfer planning programs as tools for beginning farmers. The CFS is a partnership program of the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition, co-developed and organized by VDACS and Virginia Farm Bureau. This overview will be followed by a detailed walk-through of the required components of the CFS program and common questions CFS applicants have as they complete the modules of the program. The session will conclude with a question ans answer period from the webinar participants.

Enterprise Analysis: Farm Financial System Overview

July 21, 2015

Presenter: Dr. Kimberly Morgan, Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics

Summary: An overview of the Farm Financial System will be presented, including an introduction of farm financial statements and farm planning budgets. Participants will be provided with a checklist of resources and data necessary for farm financial risk management. Participants will gain a working knowledge on the value of farm financial systems for making profitable decisions. After the presentation, we open the floor for a question and answer session.

Critical Farm Labor Issues for Beginning and Start-Up Farmers

June 15, 2015

Presenters: Anne Geyer, Agriberry Farm; Allyssa Mark and Kim Niewolny, Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Program

Summary: Farm labor is important to consider when making decisions on your farm. These decisions may be about who you will hire, where you will find interns or employees, and what legal matters are relevant to you and your farm. This webinar addresses these labor issues and more to help you begin planning or expanding your farm enterprise. First, the VBFRCP team introduces you to some important farm labor topics that you will need to consider on your farm. Next, Anne Geyer of Agriberry Farm discusses Agriberry’s experiences with labor and management with a special emphasis on their Young Worker Training Program.  After the presentation, we open the floor for a question and answer session with Anne and the VBFRCP team.

Gaining Access to Farmland:  Economic Considerations of Farm Leasing

February 19, 2014

Presenter:  Dr. Gordon Groover, Extension Economist Farm Management, Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

Summary:  When someone thinks of a farm lease, the first thought usually is, “how much will I pay or get paid?” This often occurs before the tenant or landlord have even meet or discussed any terms. However, the main thought process should quickly shift to, “how can we reach a fair and beneficial arrangement for farmland and improvements?” Focusing on price does ground the process on financial terms yet it “short-circuits" the process of systematically discussing the contributions each is providing to ensure a viable arrangement. For example, what kind of land and improvements can be offered by the land owner?  What kind of experience, skills, management, machinery, and/or livestock can be offered by the land seeker?  These types of questions are a sample of what needs to be analyzed to achieve a fair lease arrangement. This webinar will focus on basic economic considerations of leasing, establishing a negotiation range, and valuation of assets and other inputs supplied by the leaseholder and/or landlord--- together designed to help farmers address those important farm leasing questions. 

Connecting Beginning Farmers to New Markets:  Start-up Advice & Resources for Gaining Access to Farmers Markets

Panel Presenters: 

Leanne DuBois,  VA Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Grown Program
Ellen Stewart, Blacksburg Farmers Market
Meredith Ledlie, Virginia Cooperative Extension,  Family Nutrition Program

Summary:   Farmers markets are a growth industry in Virginia and the nation and a great venue for new farmers to reach customers and sell products.  This panel discussion covers three related themes to help you gain access to farmers markets.  First, learn about farmers markets in the state, unique marketing opportunities and resources available to assist in marketing and promotion through the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).   Next, learn a few “best practices” for applying and participating in a local market.  There are many variations in farmers markets.  How do you find the best fit for your business?   How do you apply?   Third, learn the ins and outs of accepting SNAP benefits (food stamps) at the farmers market or by applying for your own machine as a new vendor, discussed  by our Virginia Cooperative Extension, Family Nutrition Program.   

Access to Land:  The Leasing Option (Legal Aspects of Leasing Land for Beginners)

Presenter:  Jesse J. Richardson, Jr., Associate Professor, Urban Affairs and Planning, Virginia Tech

Summary: Rented farmland is essential to virtually every full-time farming operation and many part-time Virginia farmers. Leasing farmland is particularly important for new and beginning farmers. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, over 15,000 farms in Virginia lease a total of nearly 3,000,000 acres of farmland in the state.  This webinar will cover the basic legal issues involved in farm leasing.  These and other questions will be covered:  Why should you have a written lease? What issues should the lease consider? What does all the legal jargon really mean? What happens if the lease expires and I still have crops to harvest? 

Access to Credit:  Farm Credit - A Partnership for all Farmers

August 21, 2013

Presenters: Paul Eberly, Commercial Team Leader & Capital Markets, Teresa Harris, Regional Lending Manager

Summary: Farm Credit is a nationwide system of cooperatives formed almost 100 years ago specifically to provide financing to farmers.  In this series, you will learn about the types of loans available, with experienced loan officers walking  you through the information needed to apply for a loan, how to prepare that information and  why.  Whether you are applying for your first loan to purchase land, operating money or equipment or if you are considering an expansion of your operation, this beginning farmer webinar will explain how to make your application process more successful and less stressful.your interns or apprentices, and common policies and practices on the farm.

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 #2023-49400-40885. For more information about the program, contact Katie Trozzo, Program Coordinator, at vabeginningfarmer@vt.edu or (540) 232-2233. For other questions, contact Kim Niewolny, Program Director, at niewolny@vt.edu.

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