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Farm Bureau News Since


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Industrial hemp: Could research lead to resurgence?

Farm Bureau News

Volume 76, Number 1 January 2017


Features 13



Industrial hemp: Could research lead to resurgence?

It might not be the next miracle crop for Virginia farmers, but industrial hemp has the potential to provide numerous products. 2016 Farm Bureau photo contest winners

“It’s one thing to be able to grow (hemp); it’s another thing to be able to sell this crop.” — DR. JOHN FIKE, Virginia Tech

Winners in the 2016 Virginia Farm Bureau Federation photo contest showed there is always another interesting photo to be found on a farm.


All advertising is accepted subject to the publisher’s approval. Advertisers must assume liability for the content of their advertising. The publisher maintains the right to cancel advertising for nonpayment or reader complaints about services or products. The publisher assumes no liability for products or services advertised.

Greg Hicks Vice President, Communications Pam Wiley Managing Editor Kathy Dixon Staff Writer/Assistant Editor Sara Owens Staff Writer/Photographer Pat Hooten Graphic Designer Maria La Lima Graphic Designer Claire Mills Advertising


Officers Wayne F. Pryor, President


For Your Benefit


Heart of the Home

Board of Directors


Emily Edmondson 1 Tazewell Richard L. Sutherland 2 Grayson Bruce N. Stanger 3 Montgomery Gordon R. Metz 4 Henry Russell L. Williams II 5 Rockbridge Peter A. Truban 6 Shenandoah Thomas E. Graves 7 Orange Leigh H. Pemberton 8 Hanover William F. Osl Jr. 9 Cumberland Robert J. Mills Jr. 10 Pittsylvania J. M. Jenkins Jr. 11 Lunenburg W. Ellis Walton 12 Middlesex M. L. Everett Jr. 13 Southampton David L. Hickman 14 Accomack Faye Hundley * Essex Mindy McCroskey ** Washington


Producer members will receive their next issue of Virginia Farm Bureau News in April. The magazine is published quarterly.

Members — Address change? If your address or phone number has changed, or is about to change, contact your county Farm Bureau. They will update your membership and subscription information.


11 Viewing Virginia


Postmaster: Please send changes of address to, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Bureau News, P.O. Box 27552, Richmond, VA 23261-7552; fax 804-290-1096. Editorial and business offices are located at 12580 West Creek Parkway, Richmond, VA 23238. Telephone 804-290-1000, fax 804-290-1096. Email Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Member: Virginia Press Association

Convention focus was “Growing for the Greater Good”

Delegates and other participants in the VFBF 2016 Annual Convention focused on the industry’s potential and challenges.


Virginia Farm Bureau News (USPS 017-763) (ISSN 1525-528X) is published four times a year. January, April, September, November. It is published by Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, 12580 West Creek Parkway, Richmond, VA 23238. Periodicals postage rate is paid in Richmond, VA. The annual Subscription Rate is $1.42 (included in membership dues).

ON THE COVER This hemp crop was grown for research in Rockingham County last year (Photo by Norm Hyde).

Scott E. Sink, Vice President DIRECTOR


*Women’s Committee Chairman **Young Farmers Committee Chairman

President’s Message

Starting our next 90 years on solid footing This organization’s 90th anniversary celebration culminated with the 2016 Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention. WAYNE F. PRYOR For that reason, I was especially pleased to report to convention participants that the next generation of Farm Bureau leaders is actively engaged in shaping their future. 2016 was barely under way when our Young Farmers brought home two tractors and a car after competing in American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers recognition programs. Their successes marked the seventh consecutive year that Virginia Farm Bureau had a representative in the prestigious YF&R finals. After hosting two successful Young Farmers Expos in Pittsylvania County and the Piedmont region, our Young Farmers also helped revamp the Virginia Farm Link database website hosted in partnership with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services. And thousands of visitors to this year’s State Fair of Virginia saw their second annual highway safety exhibit. Other Farm Bureau volunteers had a busy year as well. Our Women’s Committee leaders organized a powerful Spring Conference, with workshops on GMOs, farm health and safety and the future of drones in agriculture. Additionally, two of our Women’s Program participants successfully completed the AFBF Women’s Communications Boot Camp.

Engaged in education Many volunteers from the Women’s Program and Young Farmers Program

shared their time and talents with Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom, which continues to grow. AITC helped introduce more than 200,000 children to agriculture concepts in the past school year. The AITC board has set aggressive fundraising goals, and we could use your help; if you know of a business that would like to support the program, please reach out to our staff.

Sharing our news, and our history In November the Communications Department presented the 29th annual VFBF Journalism Awards. Our strong relationships with media outlets would not be possible without those of you who are willing to speak with news professionals about agricultural issues and practices. More than 1,047 newspaper articles featuring Farm Bureau were published last year, in 330 papers. Last year also marked the 75th anniversary of Virginia Farm Bureau News magazine, which started as a newspaper in 1941. And thanks to a resolution that grew out of our grassroots process, we were able to publish a book that recounts our organization’s recent history. From the Ground Up: Growth of a Modern Farm Bureau is a comprehensive look at Virginia Farm Bureau’s many challenges and successes over the past 34 years. Staff from several departments pushed hard all last year to complete a consolidation of our Farm Bureau websites, another project that grew out of your policy development process. The first phase of the new site went live in December, and if you have not visited yet I encourage you to take a look.

At the fair, and minding the markets We brought home an AFBF award last year for our advertising campaign for the 2015 State Fair of Virginia, and the fair had a successful run in 2016. Attendance figures returned to 2014 levels after severe weather forced the event to end early in 2015. The staff at The Meadow Event Park are focused on increasing that property’s financial return by expanding events at the facility year-round, and they helped effect an 89 percent increase in small event bookings in 2016. Farm Bureau had a new booth and an enhanced presence at the fair last year, which helped us share information about the value of a Farm Bureau membership. And through the efforts of the Commodity/Marketing Department, our members are represented on 25 agriculture industry working groups. Commodity marketing staff helped co-host the eighth annual Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade last spring, and our Grain Division moved 3 million bushels of grain to 20 different destinations via 15 different carriers. The Virginia Foundation for Agriculture Innovation and Rural Sustainability helped Farm Bureau members collect $4.1 million in production agriculture grants last year. As many of you know, we are working to streamline our commodity advisory committee program in the coming year. This will give us the opportunity to be more efficient with your valuable time and to be more proactive on important commodity issues.

Legislative successes Representing agriculture at the General Assembly is our oldest purpose, and thanks to your efforts we did well in the | NEXT 90 cont’d on p. 4 » / JANUARY 2017


President’s Message


NEXT 90 cont’d from p. 3 »

2016 legislative session. Farm Bureau policy prevailed in 51 out of 56 key issues, including an additional $52.59 million for conservation practices for farmers working with their local soil and water conservation districts. Additionally, our governmental relations staff assisted county Farm Bureaus with 132 local regulatory or legislative issues this year. And we continue to assist in court cases that involve agriculture.

In the interest of membership growth Representing Farm Bureau at local membership programs and public events is just one of the dozens of roles our field service directors carried out this year. At the request of our voting delegates, we finished creating a new central processing system for county membership dues, and 76 county Farm Bureaus have signed up. I’m pleased to report that 40 county Farm Bureaus reached their membership quotas last year, and we’re already working to improve that rate in 2017.

Another endeavor that’s had enthusiastic support within county Farm Bureaus has been the direct investment in our rural communities and our industry through youth scholarships. When you combine funds made available by Virginia Farm Bureau, its county affiliates and other, related programs, we are responsible for about a quarter of a million dollars in scholarship money annually. In all, I think we’ve made a solid start for your organization’s next 90 years. Wayne F. Pryor, a Goochland County beef and grain producer, is president of Virginia Farm Bureau.

275 Delegates who represented 88 county Farm Bureaus and helped shape Virginia Farm Bureau Federation policy at the organization’s 2016 Annual Convention (See related article on Page 18).



State legislators will learn more about agriculture in their districts, as well as issues important to the commonwealth’s farmers, during the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Legislative Day on Jan. 25. Member-identified critical issues for the 2017 session of the Virginia General Assembly are: Legislative Day affords opportunities to meet with state

• Maintaining and identifying senators and delegates. the shortfall of funding needed in the state agricultural best • supporting a quality weights and management practices cost-share measures inspection program to program; ensure consumer confidence, fair • restoring and opposing further cuts to the wildlife damage cooperative program; • maintaining the funding provided for equipment replacement and upgrades and personnel for emergency firefighting preparedness by the Department of Forestry; • funding for equipment and facilities replacement and upgrades for 12 regional Virginia Tech Agricultural Research and Extension Centers; • supporting the sale of meat from state-inspected facilities and maintaining state inspectors to get new and emerging state facilities online to meet growing demand; • supporting the sale of pasteurized milk from inspected sources to ensure the safety of the product for consumers;

competition between businesses and fulfillment of farm marketing agreements; and

• supporting studies to continue to investigate the immediate and longterm impacts of programs that may alter the ownership of water. The VFBF Women’s Committee is partnering with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on a display that will be inside the General Assembly Building on Legislative Day. “The theme of the event is ‘Meet Virginia Agriculture,’ because we really want legislators to get to know agriculture and the farmers they serve in their districts,” said Kelly Pruitt, VFBF governmental relations grassroots coordinator. “Farmers are also going to give them a taste of Virginia agriculture by serving BLTs with ingredients sourced from Virginia farms.”


Legislators to ‘Meet Virginia Agriculture’ at Farm Bureau Legislative Day

Sign up for new Action Alert system Throughout the year Farm Bureau staff send out Action Alerts asking producer members to voice their concerns about specific agricultural issues to their legislators. The more members respond to those alerts, the more effective Farm Bureau is in making sure Virginia farmers are heard. If you are a producer member with an interest in helping to maintain your ability to farm in Virginia, you can help by responding to Action Alerts. To sign up to receive them, contact Kelly Pruitt at or 804-290-1293 with your name, membership number and contact information. / JANUARY 2017


Save the Date!

Farm Bureau warehouse open house offers members big savings Farm Bureau members can save 10 percent on purchases from the Virginia Farm Bureau Service Corp. Products Division at its Feb. 24 open house in Henrico County. The open house will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Farm Bureau warehouse at 1541 Mary St. in Sandston. Refreshments will be available. The Products Division provides members with a variety of quality supplies, through Farm Bureaucertified local dealers and the Farm Bureau warehouse. At the warehouse sale, members can save on a variety of parts, including tires, batteries and oil and grease products. They also can save on disk blades, plow parts and chisel teeth. The discount is available for all products except baler twine, which already will be specially priced for the open house. For information on specific products, call the warehouse at 800-476-8473.

Young Farmers Winter Expo set for late February The 2017 Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers Winter Expo will take place February 24-26 in Northern Virginia.

The event hotel will be Virginian Suites Arlington. The expo will include tours of Loudoun County agriculture, Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, an urban farm and the National Zoo. There will be free time to visit Washington museums and other points of interest, as well as a dinner at Top of the Town restaurant. For more information, visit

Conference on agricultural trade will be held in Richmond The ninth annual Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade will be held March 6 and 7 at the Richmond Marriott. The event will feature a slate of internationally recognized speakers and will focus on challenges and opportunities for global farm and forestry exports. The conference will be co-hosted by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the Virginia Port Authority and Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. For details or to register, visit

Spring Conference to be held in Williamsburg

The 2017 Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Spring Conference will be held March 17-19 at The Lodge in Colonial Williamsburg. The event will include workshops on animal welfare, commodity marketing, social media and family health on the farm. Formerly known as the Women’s Conference, the Spring Conference is presented by the VFBF Women’s Committee and is open to all Farm Bureau members who have a passion for agriculture.



To register, contact your county Farm Bureau office.

Ag Day, Ag Week, Agriculture Literacy Week to be observed in March

National Ag Day is March 21, and this year’s theme will be “Agriculture: Food for Life.” National Ag Day falls during National Ag Week, March 19-25, and is organized by the Agriculture Council of America, a nonprofit organization, to foster public awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society. The Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom program will hold its annual Agriculture Literacy Week March 6-10 (See related article on Page 25).

Virginia Horse Festival to return March 24-26

The third annual Virginia Horse Festival will take place March 24-26. Join some of the equine industry’s top experts for three days of clinics, demonstrations and exhibits of interest to horse enthusiasts. The event will be held at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, birthplace of Secretariat, and will feature a Secretariat birthday celebration and tours of the property. An indoor trade show and outdoor vendors will offer a wide range of horserelated supplies and services. For more information visit

New year, new website — designed with you in mind! A resolution that originated in a county Farm Bureau has resulted in a unified, streamlined Virginia Farm Bureau website. The new mobile-friendly site at features content previously found on the former portal page at, the federation site at VaFarmBureau. org and the insurance site at It also provides access to the websites of Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom and the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture Innovation and Rural Sustainability. The site was built with the needs of current and potential members and insurance customers in mind. “The new site is going to help our members and insurance customers find the information they want with much greater ease and help Farm Bureau be much more responsive,” said Greg Hicks, vice president of communications. “It also will make joining Farm Bureau or renewing a membership easier and will make existing members-only content more user-friendly.” Consumers, he noted “have specific expectations of a business website or a membership organization’s website, and it is in Farm Bureau’s best interest to meet or exceed those expectations.” Members can use the site to do the following: • Access all membership benefits; • learn about Farm Bureau’s agriculture-related programs and activities;

The new, unified Virginia Farm Bureau website was created to make finding insurance and membership information and the organization’s news simpler.

• find local farmers’ markets; • stay current on Virginia agriculture news; • get inspired with recipes and home garden tips; • update contact and membership information; and • renew memberships online. Members with Virginia Farm Bureau insurance can do the following: • File an auto claim, including document and photo uploads;

• review and print policy documents, including policy ID cards ; • contact an agent and view policy information 24/7; and • pay insurance bills online. Staff at county Farm Bureau offices remain just a phone call away, Hicks noted. “We’re simply adding more options to help people manage—and get the most out of—their membership.”

• request quick policy updates, like adding or dropping a vehicle; / JANUARY 2017


A Look Back Virginia Farm Bureau

Farmers noted impact of Cold War and ‘Corn War’


From the Ground Up: Growth of a Modern Farm Bureau Greg Hicks

Copies of Virginia Farm Bureau history can be purchased online From the Ground Up: Growth of a Modern Farm Bureau, a history of Virginia Farm Bureau published last fall, is available for purchase at from-the-ground-up and at major booksellers. The book was written by Greg Hicks, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation vice president of communications. It covers events over the past three decades and is a companion volume to an earlier work by J. Hiram Zigler that was published in 1982. Hicks called From the Ground Up “a hybrid history-celebration work” that follows the state organization’s meteoric growth and successes. It includes chapters on the five most recent state Farm Bureau presidents, numerous photos of staff and members at various Farm Bureau events, listings of various award winners, and many other highlights. The 164-page hardback coffee table book sells for $29.95. 8


Virginia Farm Bureau News marked its 10th anniversary in the winter of Explore Farm Bureau’s 1951. In that year’s January issue, the editorial team informed readers that history “We’re developing a little ‘middle age Through a partnership with the spread’ in that we will publish a thicker Library of Virginia, Virginia Farm magazine.” Bureau Federation has been able A Page 2 editorial titled “A Better to make back issues of Virginia Prescription” showed concern for Farm Bureau News available online the national and farm economies as part of the Virginia Newspaper framed with a Cold War perspective. Project. Issues published between “The readiness with which the nation February 1941 and January permitted itself to be stampeded into 2000 are available online at the acceptance of price controls as a means of preventing inflation and keeping the national economy on an even keel,” the author noted, “is ample evidence of how little we understand the true nature of the inflationary forces that now beset us.” Americans needed to understand, the editorial continued “that we face an emergency of indefinite duration. Being non-aggressors and quite unwilling to plunge the world into the hell of an all out atomic H-Bomb War we must lay our plans along the lines that will guarantee all out production—not just for one year but for 5-10-15 or 20 years—perhaps longer—no one knows except the hellish minds inside the Kremlin that plot our enslavement.” On a lighter note, the paper noted that Virginia corn growers had outpaced their North Carolina counterparts in 1950 “in the bi-State Corn War.” Stats from the U.S. Crop Reporting Board found Virginia’s average yield for the year was 49 bushels per acre, while North Carolina’s was 37. Virginia Gov. John S. Battle commended producers in both states. “If we are to have more meat, milk and poultry products for the better nutrition of our people,” Battle said, “we must first have corn.”

Lunenburg farmer will represent young producers on American Farm Bureau board Lunenburg County grain producer Grant A. Coffee of Kenbridge has been appointed to the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee. Coffee recently concluded a two-year term as chairman of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Committee and is vice president of the Lunenburg County Farm Bureau. He is co-owner of Coffee Farms Inc., which grows soybeans and wheat. He also runs a custom spray operation and trucking company and is a research specialist at the Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Blackstone.

In an emergency, having a fire extinguisher on farm equipment can make a big difference.

Include farm safety in your new year’s resolutions


ike many Americans, you probably have made a few new year’s resolutions for 2017. This year, consider resolving to ensure your safety when using or moving farm equipment.

Fire extinguisher program helps protect equipment Equipping farm machinery with appropriate fire extinguishers can make the difference between saving the equipment and watching it burn. In addition, if you save your equipment and prevent a loss, you’ll save premium dollars and help keep insurance rates as low as possible. Virginia Farm Bureau offers a program to assist members in protecting

certain pieces of farm equipment from fire loss by loaning, at no cost to members, one 10-pound ABC-type fire extinguisher with a mounting bracket for each piece of eligible equipment insured by Farm Bureau. Eligible types of equipment are: • self-propelled grain combines; • self-propelled haybines; • self-propelled forage harvesters; • self-propelled cotton pickers; • self-propelled peanut combines; and • track-type bulldozers. In addition, should the loaned extinguisher be used, or leak down for any reason, Farm Bureau will have it recharged at no cost.

Russell Williams, a Rockbridge County farmer and member of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation board, knows only too well what a difference the extinguisher program can make. “My son, Russell, was combining barley one day when the valve gasket blew and got oil on the manifold, that caught fire,” Williams recalled. “There was a Farm Bureau fire extinguisher attached to the outside of the cab, so he was able to put the fire out without it causing too much damage.” Contact your Farm Bureau insurance agent to find out more about the fire extinguisher program and to be sure your equipment is properly insured. / JANUARY 2017


Winter’s a good time to make sure you have enough SMV emblems.

SMVs help keep all drivers safe B

efore moving farm equipment on roadways this spring, resolve to be sure that equipment has slowmoving vehicle emblems displayed. Virginia law requires tractors and other equipment traveling no faster than 25 mph to display a triangular SMV emblem when on public roads. Stafford County farmer Glenn Dye lives and farms near heavilypopulated Fredericksburg. He keeps SMV emblems on his equipment for moving it on public roads, and he turns on his flashing lights. He always uses an escort vehicle when traveling with wider equipment, and that vehicle also has flashing lights, signage and an orange flag hanging out of the window. “Working flashing lights get people’s attention more than just an SMV emblem,” Dye said. “It is people 10


I meet in oncoming traffic that I’m most concerned about, so my escort usually drives ahead of me.” Dye, who says he is passionate about road safety, goes beyond having the basic SMV required by law. “In our area of fast-growing Stafford County, most people are removed from the farm. Many of them don’t understand that you can’t pass a dualwheel tractor on a two-lane road. So we want to try to educate them,” he said. Recently Dye has been reaching out to teen drivers to speak about driving safely in areas where they might encounter farm machinery. He and other VFBF Young Farmers also installed road safety displays at the State Fair of Virginia to inform visitors about the issue. Producer members can purchase

Consistent use of SMV emblems helps make them more familiar to other drivers.

SMV emblems, reflective tape and flashing amber lights through their county Farm Bureaus.

Viewing Virginia

Virginia recognizes first 23 families in Century Forest program

contributing sector. To request a Century Forest application, email centuryforests@dof. or call the Department of Forestry at 434-977-6555.

The first 23 families whose land qualified for Virginia’s Century Forest designation were honored Nov. 21. The designation recognizes families who have owned working forestlands for more than 100 years. The state law authorizing the Century Forest program went into effect July 1. “These families and their ancestors built Virginia, and they built America,” said State Forester Bettina Ring. “What a fitting recognition of their achievements this is—being part of the first group in the nation’s first Century Forest program.” The inaugural families own land in the counties of Albemarle, Campbell, Caroline, Charlotte, Dinwiddie, Essex, Fauquier, Hanover, Henrico, Henry, Giles, King William, Lee, Mecklenburg, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Pulaski and Sussex. To qualify for the Century Forest designation, property must have been owned by the same family for at least 100 consecutive years, include at least 20 contiguous acres of managed forest, be lived on or managed by a descendant of the original owners and have a history of timber harvests or forest management activities. Mike Santucci, forestland conservation manager for the Virginia Department of Forestry, noted that nearly two-thirds, or 10 million acres, of Virginia’s woodlands are controlled by family forest landowners, “and the decisions they make to manage and conserve them are crucial to sustaining the commonwealth’s $17 billion timber industry.” Virginia’s agriculture and forest industries contribute a combined $70 billion annually to the state’s economy, and timber is the third-largest

College classes now cover drone technology for farmers

Piedmont Virginia Community College is offering a drone certification class for farmers who want to use that technology. PVCC became the first college in the nation to receive approval from the Federal Aviation Authority to conduct research and development of aircraft and sensors, including small unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, used for public safety. The college held a course for emergency services personnel and first responders last May. Now it’s extending that training to farmers who want to obtain FAA certification to operate drones, and to learn about technology for extracting data from the drones. “The class enables farmers who use precision agriculture practices to add an additional capability to get the data they need to make decisions during all stages of operations—from field assessments, planting, fertilizing, pesticide/fungicide

applications and even insurance claims,” said Darren Goodbar, curriculum developer and principal instructor for the class. Goodbar serves as director of aerial services at Draper Aden Associates and is a certified pilot for manned aircraft and remotely piloted aircraft. He has been operating military drones and commercial markets for more than five years. “Farmers, from high-value crops to corporate farms that have previously relied on satellite imagery and GIS data are also utilizing drones for faster delivery, advanced data and higher resolution imagery,” Goodbar said. Adoption rates have been higher among larger scale and specialty farm operations, but drone use is starting to catch on with other Virginia farmers, he said. In addition to PVCC’s classroom training, fieldwork is being conducted at King Family Vineyards at Roseland Farm in Albemarle County. Farmers who take the course will learn about FAA regulations and will be introduced to the technology and capabilities of aircraft, sensors and processes that can help them make decisions regarding their farms. At King Family Vineyards, students will learn how to fly drones, collect data and integrate data into their farming operations. The class is part of PVCC’s spring curriculum and is limited to 12 participants. Interested farmers should contact PVCC Workforce Services at 434-961-5354 for more information.

Spring classes at PVCC will include drone certification for farmers. / JANUARY 2017


Viewing Virginia

Resource Management Plans in place on more than 68,000 acres Virginia farm and forestland owners have put in place 326 Resource Management Plans that cover 68,147 acres, according to a report released Dec. 7, 2016, by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. The report covered progress of the state Resource Management Plan Program between Nov. 1, 2015, and Oct. 31, 2016. It notes that the program surpassed its 2016 goal of 10,000 acres covered by RMPs in the Chesapeake Bay watershed by more than 7,000 acres. The RMP Program promotes the voluntary use of agricultural best management practices that maximize water quality protection. Each plan is custom-written for a participating

farm and includes, at minimum, those BMPs that have proved most effective at reducing runoff pollution to local waters. Forty-seven RMPs covering more than 19,500 acres were developed in the past 12 months, and in that same time the program expanded into 10 new counties in the bay watershed. The DCR report noted that the average plan coverage area is 209 acres. Land currently enrolled in the program includes 57,791 acres of cropland, 6,524 acres of hayland and 6,514 acres of pasture. Current RMPs indicate more than 2,100 agricultural BMPs in place to protect natural resources; 1,621 of those practices meet or exceed minimum requirements. Two hundred sixty-four BMPs installed or implemented using state or federal cost-share assistance have been completed; another 625 have been proposed to be installed or implemented using cost-share assistance; and 1,281 are proposed to be installed without cost-share assistance.

Bay foundation reports more grasses, crabs and oysters The Chesapeake Bay Foundation reported last month that crab and oyster populations and the presence of underwater grasses have increased in the bay. In year-in-review content for 2016 on its website, the foundation said underwater grasses expanded by 21 percent and the bay’s blue crab population jumped 35 percent. The bay’s native oyster population, a critical species that filters water, is rebounding; the foundation planted more than 46 million juvenile oysters on protected sanctuary reefs throughout the bay. The foundation website also reports that, for the past two years, the bay’s main stem has not experienced pollution-related anoxia—water completely devoid of oxygen. That’s a first since scientists started tracking aquatic oxygen levels in the bay in 1985.

Virginia’s Resource Management Plan Program promotes voluntary use of agricultural practices that maximize water quality protection.




Could research lead to resurgence? BY KATHY DIXON



ndustrial hemp may not be the next miracle crop for Virginia farmers, but it has potential for providing energy, feed and pharmaceutical ingredients. “I think hemp has a lot of potential in the state, to be used for fiber or to be used for grain or even to be used for pharmaceuticals,” said Dr. John Fike, an associate professor of crop and soil environmental science who is conducting hemp research at several of Virginia Tech’s Agricultural Research and Extension Centers. “But it’s one thing to be able to grow it; it’s another thing to be able to sell this crop. We really don’t have well-developed markets that can take this crop.” Virginia Tech, Virginia State University and James Madison University are conducting research on how to grow hemp, investigating what inputs are required to grow it and finding different uses for the crop. Fike joked that industrial hemp has increased his professional stature. “I’ve never been so popular. It’s interesting to have people calling you up and wanting to talk about hemp,” he said. Dr. Michael Renfroe, a JMU biology professor, said the university’s research focuses on planting and harvesting hemp with conventional agricultural equipment. Additionally, the school is studying the effects of fertilizer on the crop. “We also want to know, ‘Can we take the oil from this?’” Renfroe said.

Ten acres of industrial hemp were harvested last fall on the Rockingham County farm of Glenn Rodes. Seed from the crop was crushed to extract oil. / JANUARY 2017


Dr. John Fike of Virginia Tech said one challenge for commercialscale hemp production will be re-establishing infrastructure for harvesting and processing.

Glenn Rodes, who co-owns and operates his family’s Riverhill Farms in Rockingham County, has found that the answer is ‘Yes’. He grew 10 acres of industrial hemp for JMU and, after harvesting a decent crop, was able to crush the seed for oil. He plans to convert that into biodiesel to power his farm equipment. “I’ve always had an interest in alternative crops,” said Rodes, who also grows canola and turns it into biodiesel. “Hemp is another crop that has a great potential as an energy crop.” Fike said converting hemp to biodiesel seems to be the most widely accepted use right now. “The seed has a fairly high level of oil, and there are some that are interested in pressing that oil and turning it into biodiesel so you could have an on-farm energy supply. And then you could feed the residual material to your livestock.” From a nutritional standpoint, hemp seeds have higher omega fatty acid content than other grains, so there “may be a number of uses for human nutrition where hemp could be applied,” Fike said. Hemp is not new. It was grown in Virginia in the 1700s, according to Rodes. “It was grown here in the Valley. So we’re just bringing back an old crop and trying new things with it.” But because it’s a re-emerging crop, technology has changed, and growers need to adapt to the times. “All the infrastructure that was used for hemp production … it’s pretty much gone away or is in a museum somewhere,” Fike said. “So we need to develop systems, whether it’s harvest or processing or logistics systems, that will allow us to get this crop to market.” Other obstacles are a lack of available seed and state and federal restrictions governing hemp production. “Because of restrictions on research by federal and state law, we can only use on site what we produce,” Renfroe said.

Differences between hemp and marijuana Industrial hemp and marijuana are both forms of the cannabis plant; they’ve just been developed for different uses. Each contain cannabinoids, which are unique compounds found in the plant. Marijuana contains THC, a psychoactive chemical; hemp does not. “That is the distinction” between them, explained Dr. John Fike, an associate professor of crop and soil environmental science at Virginia Tech. Hemp and marijuana plants contain another cannabinoid called CBD. Hemp produces more CBD than marijuana. Ironically, CBD acts to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC.

Virginia law approves hemp research A section of the federal Agricultural Act of 2014 allowed an institute of higher education or a state department of agriculture to grow or cultivate industrial hemp if the hemp didn’t have a THC concentration of more than .3 percent. Subsequently, a section in the Code of Virginia was added in 2015 authorizing the commissioner of agriculture and consumer services to establish and oversee an industrial hemp research program. In early 2016, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed into law an industrial hemp rule that requires the ag commissioner to establish a licensing program for people who want to grow industrial hemp for a college’s research. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued a proposal for colleges interested in conducting industrial hemp research, and agreements were signed with JMU, VSU and Virginia Tech. Until federal law is amended, no one will be able to grow industrial hemp except for educational research. Rockingham County grower Glenn Rodes said further changes in the federal law “will open up a lot of opportunities for other farmers to grow hemp. I would love to plant hemp as a commercial crop.”

How big is hemp? According to the Hemp Industries Association, a nonprofit trade association, U.S. retail sales of hemp products in 2015 totaled $573 million. Those products included food, nutritional supplements, personal care products, textiles, auto parts and paper construction materials. / JANUARY 2017





Dad, I Can Do It

articipants in county Farm Bureau photo contests submitted bushels of appealing photos last year. County Farm Bureaus in Virginia had the option to sponsor photo contests and to submit their first-place entries for judging on the state level. These are some of the firstplace winners.

by Ann Harrell, Craig County

Pink Sunset

by Major Marshall, Craig County

My Brother’s First Hay Season by Major Marshall, Craig County



Still the Cash Crop

by Patricia Haskins, Pittsylvania County

The Cow

by Sydnee Burnette, Patrick County

Learnin’ the Biz

by Logan Stevens-Crawford, Craig County

Found Treasure

by Kai Marshall, Craig County / JANUARY 2017





American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall chatted with Virginia Farm Bureau Federation President Wayne F. Pryor at the VFBF convention’s opening luncheon.

VFBF 2016 ANNUAL CONVENTION American Farm Bureau president outlines challenges for coming year America’s farmers, like the nation itself, face a time of impending changes. The president of the American Farm Bureau Federation told Virginia farmers the best way to approach those changes is as a unified front. Vincent “Zippy” Duvall spoke to several hundred farmers and other agriculture and forestry professionals Nov. 29 at the opening lunch of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention. Duvall, who was elected a year ago, is AFBF’s 12th president. Duvall noted after the Nov. 8, 2016, presidential election that the important issues American farmers face “are not red or blue, but they are critical to the prosperity of rural America and our ability to protect our nation’s food supply. … Now it’s time for our newly elected leaders to turn up for rural America and keep their campaign promises by 18


addressing the issues that matter to the people who sent them to Washington.” He told VFBF convention participants he is optimistic that incoming leaders will bring an element of common sense to regulatory, immigration and economic issues. In his first 11 months as AFBF president, Duvall visited state Farm Bureau functions in 31 states; he vowed to visit all 50 states in two years. It’s important to learn about farmers’ perspectives nationwide, he said, “because it’s different from Florida to Georgia to Virginia to New Mexico.” He said he will continue promoting unity among AFBF’s state affiliates, as well as unity among U.S. agricultural organizations. “If you just go to your dairy commodity meeting, and you don’t go to your (local or state) Farm Bureau meeting, you’ve just done half the job,” he told farmers, because consensus on critical issues is key. “Divided, we will fall as an industry, and we can’t afford to have cotton or corn support something that Farm Bureau doesn’t. …We’ve got to put our differences aside and think about the whole.”


for the GREATER

Political analyst offers insights on ‘the most remarkable year’ Asked to sum up 2016 from a political analyst’s perspective, Dr. Robert Holsworth called it “perhaps the most remarkable year that I have watched” and “the year everything we thought we knew about politics was wrong.” Holsworth spoke Nov. 30 at the VFBF Annual Convention. He is a return speaker to the event and a managing principal with analysis firm DecideSmart. He noted that while President Obama enjoyed a good approval rating, the overall economy presented “a very mixed picture” with little improvement for the middle class, and as many as two-thirds of Americans said they believed the country “was moving in the wrong direction.” That set the stage, he said, for President-elect Trump to advance to the Republican nomination. In a field of 17 candidates, “there was only one of them who was against the entire establishment.” In states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Trump won by significant margins, turnout among rural and working-class voters was higher than expected, while turnout among more metropolitan voters was lower than expected, Holsworth said. The overall turnout numbers were similar to those of 2012, “but different people voted.” In retrospect, he said, “you’d have to say that Trump owes an awful lot to rural America.” He cited changing sentiments in three Southwest Virginia counties—Buchanan, Dickinson and Tazewell—since 1996, when former President Bill Clinton carried each by about 65 percent. This fall Trump won in all three by more than 70 percent. “For the most part,” Holsworth said, “rural Virginia has switched.” In the next four years, he predicted, “my guess is that Trump policy is going to be consistent with what rural America has endorsed for some time” with regard to issues like estate taxes and Environmental Protection Agency regulation. He predicted a challenge in making sure agriculture’s interests are considered in other issues such as trade agreements and immigration reform.

Secretary praises state’s farmers for environmental stewardship

Over the past two years, hundreds of Virginia farmers have taken proactive steps to protect water quality on their land. Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Basil Gooden applauded their efforts Nov. 29 at the VFBF Annual Convention. Gooden specifically lauded | SECRETARY cont'd on page 20 »




2016 Elections: Pryor, Sink re-elected Wayne F. Pryor of Goochland County was re-elected to a sixth term as VFBF president. Scott E. Sink of Franklin County was re-elected to a third term as vice president.

Essex County producer will chair Women’s Committee Faye Hundley of Essex County was elected Dec. 1 to a two-year term as chairman of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Committee. Hundley and her husband are third-generation grain farmers. She has been vice chairman of the committee for two years and succeeds Janice Burton of Halifax County, who did not seek re-election.

Washington County producer and educator will represent Young Farmers Washington County cattle producer and teacher Mindy McCroskey of Bristol was elected Dec. 1 to a two-year term as chairman of the Young Farmers Committee. The Young Farmers chairman also serves on the VFBF board. McCroskey is an agricultural educator and FFA advisor at Abingdon High School. She owns a herd of registered Simmental cattle and remains involved in her family’s farm.

Montgomery farmer elected to District 3 seat Cattle and hay producer Bruce N. Stanger of Christiansburg was elected Dec. 1 to a three-year term on the VFBF board of directors. He will represent Farm Bureau producer members in Bland, Carroll, Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski and Wythe counties. Stanger succeeds Evelyn H. Janney of Floyd County, who did not seek re-election.

Re-elected directors District 6 Peter A. Truban, Shenandoah County District 9 William F. Osl Jr., Cumberland County District 12 W. Ellis Walton, Middlesex County



for the GREATER


| SECRETARY cont'd from page 20 »

participants in Virginia’s Resource Management Plan program. “Resource Management Plans are designed to advance water quality improvement and offer regulatory assurance to farmers,” Gooden said. “The RMP program was backed by both conservation and farm groups. And as you know, the Farm Bureau was one of its strongest advocates. I’m pleased that, in two years, we have over 320 plans in place.” To celebrate the program’s success and give recognition to participants, Gooden unveiled a new metal sign that was created with the help of Farm Bureau, DCR and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Farmers with Resource Management Plans in place will be able to purchase a sign to display on their property.

Consumers say best food information comes straight from farmers During a Nov. 29 panel discussion at the VFBF Annual Convention, five diverse consumers gave farmers insight into their food-shopping decisions. The discussion, titled Ears Wide Open, was “for us to listen and better understand what goes through consumers’ minds when making food choices,” said moderator Lauren Arbogast, a Shenandoah Valley farmer and blogger on The other moderator was Jesse Martin, a producer and broadcaster for On The Farm Radio. Kelly Troxell, a Harrisonburg first grade teacher and mother of two young children, said that when she was growing up she went to traditional grocery stores with her parents and never questioned where the food originated. “But now there’s so much information out there that it creates questions,” she said. As a result, she and her husband, Taylor, who also served on the panel, intentionally buy food from farmers’ markets and local farmers. “They explain farming practices to us that we don’t understand, and then it makes sense,” she said. She reads product labels in the grocery store but said the wide variety of marketing terms can be confusing. “It feels a bit gimmicky,” she said, citing products that are obviously gluten-free but are labeled as such anyway. June Crann, a registered dietitian and Rockingham County beef and dairy farmer, pointed out that most marketing labels are not added by farmers. “The manufacturers put them on to get you to buy their products,” she said. As a consumer, “you have to educate yourself,” added Taylor Troxell, an associate grocery coordinator for Whole Foods. The consumers agreed that spending time on actual farms can be helpful but is not always practical. “People want to know who farmers really are and what they’re doing 20


Dr. Basil Gooden, Virginia secretary of agriculture and forestry, praised farmers for their commitment to stewardship.

to produce our food,” said Annie Clay, food and nutrition services manager for Amelia County Public Schools. Arbogast and Martin urged farmers in attendance to continue conversations with consumers whenever possible.

Pollinator plan to help bees; veterinary feed directive now in effect Honeybee losses continue to afflict U.S. beekeepers and agriculture producers and can happen for numerous reasons. One piece of that puzzle is pesticide use, according to Liza Fleeson Trossbach, program manager for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Office of Pesticide Services. Trossbach shared information about the agency’s Virginia State Managed Pollinator Protection Plan on Nov. 29 at the VFBF Annual Convention. As the state’s lead agency for pesticide regulation, VDACS is laying the framework for the voluntary plan, which is part of a national effort to help reverse pollinator losses and restore pollinator populations. Trossbach emphasized that pesticides are “safe to use, and the label is the law. That’s always been the case.” She added that pollinator loss is a big umbrella and that pesticides and the Pollinator Protection Plan are just one element under it. The plan was developed by holding seven meetings around the state with farmers, beekeepers and industry

professionals who discussed ways to further protect pollinators. “It’s being reviewed and re-reviewed, and once the plan is finalized we will do outreach efforts. We want this plan to work for all and help reduce pesticide risk to pollinators.”

Veterinary feed directive

Dr. Bruce Bowman, field veterinarian for VDACS Veterinary Services, discussed a directive that is not voluntary—the Veterinary Feed Directive. As of Jan. 1, livestock producers cannot use feed containing antibiotics without a veterinary feed directive—a written document between a farmer, a veterinarian and a feed mill. It allows a farmer to buy and use animal feed containing an approved animal antibiotic to treat an animal. Producers must obtain a directive from their veterinarians, then send or take the document to a feed manufacturer or supplier to buy the feed. “You can wish it will go away because we are farmers, and we really don’t like more regulation,” Bowman said. “The thing to know is that this will affect antibiotics in feed only.” Bowman said the feed directive was created because the Food and Drug Administration listened to consumer groups and Congress about their concerns over antibiotics in animal feed. “Consumers are talking about antibiotics more than ever,” he said. “The general public believes food is full of antibiotics.”

Veterinary Feed Directive facts • The regulation will require a VFD for all medically important antibiotics (those important in human health) administered in feed, and a veterinary prescription for all medically important antibiotics used in water. • Those products have been available over the counter but as of Jan. 1 require a VFD from a licensed veterinarian. A VFD is similar to a veterinary prescription for producers to obtain and use medically important antibiotics in feed in accordance with FDA-approved directions for use. • A veterinarian can write a VFD that is effective for up to six months.

Producers and others honored Distinguished Service Awards The late Alvin W. Blaha, Dinwiddie County, longtime president of Dinwiddie County Farm Bureau; member and leader of numerous other agricultural organizations Evelyn H. Janney, Floyd County, former District 3 director, VFBF board Stephen L. Saufley, Rockingham County, former District 5 director, VFBF board

Young Farmers Achievement Award Chris and Patricia Haskins, Pittsylvania County

Young Farmers Discussion Meet Winner Dr. Jessica Jones, Pittsylvania County


Warren Beach Award for Support of Young Farmers Teresa Guill, regional sales representative, Kubota Tractor Corp.

County Farm Bureau Best in State Awards

JONES Isle of Wight County Farm Bureau, for membership marketing, acquisition or retention Mecklenburg County Farm Bureau, for agriculture promotion or education Powhatan County Farm Bureau, for Farm Bureau promotion or involvement Tazewell County Farm Bureau, for governmental relations

County Farm Bureau New Horizon Awards Greensville County Farm Bureau, for Farm Bureau Day at Boyd GM/Chevrolet Rockingham County Farm Bureau, for Farming Leaders Conference Wythe County Farm Bureau, for Wythe County Faces of Agriculture program

• Veterinarians, feed suppliers and producers must keep a copy of each VFD for two years.

Ishee-Quann Award for Media Excellence

• Extra-label use of medicated feed additives has not been and will not be allowed.

Journalism Awards

• For more information on the Veterinary Feed Directive, contact Dr. Bob Hill, 540-879-2581 or; or Dr. Kim Bridges, 540-382-1100 or

The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg Vic Bradshaw of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, daily newspaper; the Rappahannock Record of Kilmarnock, weekly newspaper; WHSV TV 3 in Harrisonburg, television; Frank Wilt of WSVA in Harrisonburg, radio; The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Members’ Choice Award

For Your Benefit

Save $500 on purchase or lease of selected GM vehicles

Got a teen driver? Smart Start Program available online Help your teenage driver get off to a road-smart start—and save money, too—by enrolling in Virginia Farm Bureau’s Smart Start Program. The Smart Start Program can save customers money on auto insurance premiums, just by having a safety-minded teen driver in the household who is enrolled in the program. Sign-up is easy, and the program can be completed online. Teens may enroll starting at age 16, but to qualify they must be enrolled before age 18 and be accident- and conviction-free. The discount will be applied up to age 25, as long as enrolled drivers continue to meet the requirements. To enroll, teen drivers must complete the following three steps online: • Watch the Smart Start video; • review the Smart Start Program booklet, and keep it for reference; and • take a 12-question quiz after watching the video and reviewing the booklet. To maintain the discount, the enrolled teen driver must: • maintain a valid Virginia driver’s license; • stay listed on a Virginia Farm Bureau personal auto policy; and • maintain an accident- and conviction-free driving record. For more information or to enroll in the program, visit

Farm Bureau, Caterpillar Inc. offer savings on equipment Farm Bureau members in Virginia can save up to $2,500 on qualifying Caterpillar equipment—and receive a $250 credit on work tool attachments purchased with a new Caterpillar machine. Get the following savings on qualifying new Cat machines from participating dealers: • hydraulic excavators (Cat 336F and 349F) – $2,500 • medium track-type tractor (Cat D6T) – $2,500 • small wheel loaders – $2,000 22


• compact wheel loaders – $1,000 • small dozers – $1,000 • backhoe loaders – $500-$1,000 • compact track loaders – $500$1,000 • multi terrain loaders – $500-$1,000 • skid steer loaders – $500-$1,000 • telehandlers – $500-$1,000 • mini hydraulic excavators – $250$500 Visit to obtain a membership verification certificate to present to your dealer at the time of purchase or lease quote.

Farm Bureau members in Virginia can receive a $500 incentive toward the purchase or lease of qualifying Chevrolet, GMC or Buick vehicles at participating dealerships. The Farm Bureau GM $500 Vehicle Discount Program is available for members who are at least 18 and have been Farm Bureau members for at least 30 days. The offer can be combined with most other incentives. To use this member benefit, visit, enter your membership number and ZIP code, and print out a Farm Bureau Membership Verification Certificate to take to your GM dealership.

Attention members: The member benefit that affords Farm Bureau members in Virginia a manufacturer’s incentive discount of $200 to $300 on qualifying Polaris vehicles from participating dealerships will be discontinued as of Jan. 13, 2017.


Q: A:

How do insurance carriers determine auto insurance rates? Auto rating today is very sophisticated, said Bob Brown, senior vice president of product development and actuarial for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. For example, VFBMIC has a new automobile product that considers more than 70 variables to help determine a rate. But to put it simply, auto insurance rates are determined by age; driving history; type of vehicle; liability limits and deductibles for the policy; and where a customer lives. Other factors that can come into play include a customer’s insurance score, whether the customer pays his or her bill on time; and the number of vehicles and drivers on a policy.

For business owners: If you are a retirement-minded business owner who will be closing or selling your business, you will have commercial liability and property concerns to address.

As you make plans for retirement, your insurance agent can help ensure a smooth transition.

Ready to retire?

Consider these insurance issues


hen you’re considering retirement—or have just retired—it is important to make sure all of your bases are covered. Hopefully you have a good life insurance plan already in place, but there may be more issues to consider.

Life insurance

Life insurance is part of many properly constructed financial plans and should be addressed well before retirement. “Many of us need to provide this protection for our families in the event of an untimely death,” explained Gerald Gardner, Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. director of sales. “Life insurance also can be used for estate planning purposes or as a way to ensure that a business can continue to operate in the event of the death of an owner or key employee.” Gardner said a small piece of retirement savings also can be used to pay for life insurance, which can help provide an income tax-free death benefit for surviving family members. Life insurance can be used to help: • pay the income taxes due on inherited retirement accounts; • ensure an income to a surviving spouse; • provide an income to a family member with special needs; • distribute your assets tax efficiently to your heirs; and • create an endowment for your favorite charity or organization. As with any financial consideration, consult your estate planner or tax professional for more information.

Auto insurance

If you used your car for business and it is rated “Business” on your auto insurance policy, or if you simply drove it to the office and it is rated “To and From Work,” you could change those ratings to “Pleasure Use” after retirement, according to Lisa Whitus, VFBMIC underwriting manager. “If vehicles are covered on a commercial auto policy, they could possibly be moved to a personal auto policy depending on their size, type and how they are titled,” Whitus said. “You should review this with your insurance agent.”

Commercial liability Liability exposures can follow you for work you did in the past, including products you made or sold while still active in the business, according to Lisa Whitus, underwriting manager for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. In Virginia, the basic statute of limitations for a consumer to bring action against you for property damage or bodily injury is two to five years. Whitus recommended obtaining coverage for ‘Products/Completed Operations’ for at least the limit of the statute after selling a business. “You could protect yourself by purchasing a ‘Discontinued Products/Operations’ Policy. “It normally applies to an occurrence that happens after you are no longer operational due to a product of or operation performed by your former business,” she said. Contact your insurance agent to discuss the matter further before you cease business operations. Commercial property Before selling your business property, it is important to ask the following questions: • Who will own the building and its contents? • Is the building now considered vacant or unoccupied? • How does that affect coverage under your insurance contract? • Do you need a commercial property policy? • Do you need a vacant building policy? • Where will the business contents be stored? “An unendorsed homeowner or farmowner policy won’t cover property that was or is used in a separate business,” Whitus said. “If it is stored in a personal building, it could jeopardize coverage on that building.” For more information about insurance considerations related to retirement, contact your county Farm Bureau office. / JANUARY 2017


Group health insurance policies available through Farm Bureau Saving money on employee benefits while still attracting and retaining the best and the brightest is a must in today's economy. Virginia Farm Bureau’s health insurance agency— Experient Health—can help with group insurance policies. Experient Health offers many group insurance plans, including vision, dental, life and disability. The company, which is a subsidiary of Virginia Farm Bureau, has staff in its Richmond office and throughout the commonwealth that works to help businesses find the best insurance plans for their employees. “We do all the legwork for companies, making it easier for them to put together a good insurance plan for their company,” explained

Brett Denton, Experient Health vice president. “We try to make it as easy as possible.” Denton said Experient helps companies with as few as two employees and as many as 150. Under the Affordable Care Act, companies with 50 or more full-time employees or equivalents are required to offer group health insurance or pay a penalty, Denton said. “This is commonly referred to as the employer mandate or ‘pay or play.’” Experient Health sells Aetna, Anthem, Optima Health and United Healthcare products for businesses, as well as various dental, vision and life products. For more information on group insurance policies, call 855-677-6580.

Open enrollment for 2017 marketplace runs through end of month Open enrollment for the 2017 health insurance marketplace will end Jan. 31. If you don’t enroll in a 2017 plan by Jan. 31, you can’t enroll in a health insurance plan unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. Special enrollment periods include, but are not limited to, job changes or retirement; turning 26 and no longer being included on a parent’s policy; and the birth of a child. Important January dates for 2017 enrollment: • Jan. 1, 2017 – first date 2017 coverage can start • Jan. 31, 2017 – open enrollment ends


Have questions about Medicare Supplements? Call today!

Virginia Farm Bureau 1-800-229-7779 An authorized licensed insurance agent for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, license number: 109534

This policy has exclusions, limitations and terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For more information on benefits, please contact your agent or the health plan. Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program. The purpose of this communication is the solicitation of insurance. Contact will be made by an insurance agent or insurance company. Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. trades as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, and its service area is all of Virginia except for the City of Fairfax, the Town of Vienna, and the area east of State Route 123. Independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. AADVOTH006M(15)-VA 55681VASENABS 24


Sleep Tight Farm named AITC Book of the Year The annual Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom Agriculture Literacy Week will take place March 6-10. Virginia’s AITC program has selected Sleep Tight Farm, a children’s book by Eugenie Doyle, as its 2017 Virginia AITC Book of the Year. This book introduces young readers to seasons on the farm as they learn how farmers work to provide safe and healthy food all year long. “This is our largest volunteer event of the year. We are expecting over 1,000 volunteers to participate and read to children across the commonwealth,” said Tammy Maxey, AITC senior education manager. “The 2017 book features life on the farm and all the jobs of a farmer and farm family.” Copies of Sleep Tight Farm are available for purchase at $10 each, and an educator guide with reading comprehension and art activities is available for teachers and volunteers. Sleep Tight Farm is best suited for children in pre-kindergarten through third grade. Agriculture Literacy Week volunteers previously have included participants in the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Program and Young Farmers Program, FFA members, employees of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and other state agencies, and members of other agricultural organizations and businesses. Farm Credit of the Virginias and Southern States Cooperative Inc. have been major supporters as well. For details or to order books, visit

New legislative specialist for Governmental Relations ready to help members Arielle Brown joined the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Governmental Relations Department in October 2016 as a legislative specialist. She will assist members with their legislative needs and lobby on their behalf. Brown will collaborate with Wilmer Stoneman, associate director of governmental relations, to focus on agriculture and forestry issues and BROWN environmental issues. Brown grew up in a Farm Bureau family on a grain and hog farm in Ottumwa, Iowa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, and a master’s degree in public policy with a specialty in international relations from the University of Northern Iowa. She previously worked in the American Farm Bureau Federation public policy division.


Sleep Tight Farm shows readers what happens on a farm at different times of the year.


Profitable Year?

Keep your taxes in your pocket.

The 30% tax credit for solar can be used to offset current year taxes, previous year taxes and carried forward up to 20 years into the future.

Call 866-349-4207 to Recoup Your Taxes / JANUARY 2017


Garden planning, new secretary of agriculture on Real Virginia

Featured this month on Real Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau’s weekly television program: •P  lan for hummingbirds and butterflies in your garden. •V  irginia's new secretary of agriculture and forestry still farms. •B  oost your luck with a black-eyed pea recipe for the new year. Real Virginia airs nationwide at 3:30 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month on RFD-TV on Dish Network and DirecTV, and on selected cable outlets around the state. It airs weekly on WVPT Harrisonburg, WBRA Roanoke, WCVE Richmond, WHRO Norfolk, WVVA Bluefield and WTKR Norfolk and is available online at

Real Virginia

To view Real Virginia, visit







Each variety of cut flower has a different life expectancy, but all benefit from a little TLC.

water uptake. Using a sharp knife, cut 1 to 2 inches from the flower stems, and then follow these tips: •U  se a floral food to keep flowers fresher. Floral food is a combination of additives that help to nourish the flowers and discourage bacteria from growing in the water. It is one of the best— and easiest—ways to extend the life of flowers. •F  ollow the directions on the floral food package carefully. Improperly mixed, the product can do more harm than good. If the flower food solution becomes cloudy, replace it entirely with properly mixed solution. For flowers arranged in a floral foam, keep the foam soaked with water so floral food added at the time of design by the florist will stay active. •C  heck the floral arrangement daily to make sure it has plenty of clear, fresh water. If possible, re-cut stems by removing 1 to 2 inches with a sharp knife or scissors that will not crush the stems. •K  eep flowers in a cool spot—65 to 72 degrees—and away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, ceiling fans or appliances. Heat from appliances or hot and cold drafts cause flowers to dehydrate.

Extra attention helps flowers stay vibrant longer


ut flowers can brighten up your day—and your home. And if you want to keep them fresher longer, a little extra attention can go a long way. Most floral arrangements will last four to seven days or longer, depending on the flowers used and the care they receive, according to the Society of American Florists, which is based in

Alexandria. The organization notes that each cut flower variety has a different life expectancy. Start with a clean, deep vase that has been washed with detergent or an antibacterial cleaning solution. Remove from the flower stems any leaves that will be below the water line. Leaves in water promote bacterial growth that can limit your flowers’

When purchasing loose flowers for an arrangement, consider these tips: •L  ook for flowers with upright, firm petals and buds that are beginning to open. •Y  ellow, spotted or drooping leaves are a sign of age. •F  lowers with woody stems and branches such as quince, forsythia or lilac should be cut with sharp pruning shears. Place the flowers in warm water containing fresh floral food to promote flower opening. For more information on cut flowers, visit / JANUARY 2017


Heart of the Home

Slow cookers simmer up warm Plug in, and thaw the edge off winter’s chill

Did someone say comfort food? Potato chowder is one option for a satisfying slow cooker meal.



Heart of the Home

meals on cold days


anuary marks both National Meat Month and National Soup Month. It’s also typically a month when people like to stay indoors. If you combine the two national celebrations in a slow cooker in the morning, you’ll have a hot meal waiting when you get home in the evening. Slow cookers are countertop electrical cooking appliances used for simmering, which requires maintaining a low temperature. Some people think all slow cookers are Crock-Pot®s, but that is the brand name of what claims to be the original slow cooker. The Crock-Pot® is to the slow cooker what Q-Tips® are to cotton swabs or Kleenex® Brand is to facial tissues. In honor of this month’s celebrations, we’re offering a couple of slow cooker soup options. One features chicken, and the other incorporates potatoes, both of which are produced in Virginia.

Crock Pot Potato Chowder INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper salt to taste Many different meals can be prepared with a long simmer.

10¾-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup 8-ounce package cream cheese, cubed and softened ½ pound bacon, cooked and crumbled fresh chives, chopped DIRECTIONS Combine potatoes, onion, broth and cream of chicken soup in a slow cooker. Cover, and cook on low 8-10 hours or until potatoes are tender. Blend in cream cheese. Serve topped with bacon and chives. Source: Virginia Cooperative Extension

1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts hot, cooked rice (optional) DIRECTIONS Combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne and salt in a slow cooker. Season chicken breasts with salt, and place chicken on top of the bean mixture. Cover, and cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, remove the chicken and shred. Return chicken to the slow cooker, and stir in. Serve over rice, if desired. Source: Cooking Virginia Style with Farm Bureau Women

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken INGREDIENTS

14.4-ounce can fat-free chicken broth 15-ounce can black beans 8-ounce package frozen corn

8 cups diced potatoes

14.4-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies

⅓ cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 14½-ounce cans chicken broth

3 scallions, chopped / JANUARY 2017



Beware of demands for insurance payment by phone Virginia Farm Bureau members should be skeptical when receiving phone calls from anyone demanding payment for insurance coverage over the phone. Recently, a Farm Bureau Insurance customer received a call from someone claiming to be a Farm Bureau representative. The caller asked for payment over the phone by credit card to keep an insurance policy in force. “This was absolutely a scam phone call,” warned Darlene Wells, executive vice president and general manager of Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. “No one from Farm Bureau would ever call and demand an insurance payment over the phone. If you receive a phone call from someone asking for payment, and they say they are from Farm Bureau, please hang up and do not give out any information. Then call your county Farm Bureau office directly to confirm the identity of the caller and the status of your policy.” Wells added that members are always welcome to call or visit a county Farm Bureau office when they have insurancerelated questions.

2017 magazine classified ad schedule and policies Members of Virginia Farm Bureau are eligible to place one free 15-word classified ad per membership per year in Cultivate, which is mailed to associate members, or in Virginia Farm Bureau News, which is mailed to producer members. Ads of 16 to 30 words must be accompanied by payment of $20. Any additional ads placed by members in the same calendar year must be accompanied by payment of $10 for 15 words or fewer, or $20 for 16 to 30 words. Ads submitted without payment will be returned. We do not invoice for classified ads or provide proofs or tearsheets. Ads with more than 30 words and ads from nonmembers will not be accepted. Use the form in this issue of Virginia Farm Bureau News or the online form at to place your ad. No ads or cancellations will be taken by phone. Ads will be accepted only from members whose membership is current. Magazine classified ads can be placed in the following five categories only: • Crops; • Farm equipment; • Hay/Straw; • Livestock; and • Livestock equipment. Classified ads will be published in the following issues: · April Virginia Farm Bureau News (mailed to producer members only); · May Cultivate (mailed to associate members only); · August Cultivate (mailed to associate members only); and · September Virginia Farm Bureau News (mailed to producer members only).

Finding your member number When placing your ad, be sure to include your Farm Bureau member number, which can be found on your membership card and above your name on the mailing label of your copy of Virginia Farm Bureau News. All member numbers will be verified.

Statement of Ownership



How to place your classified ad STEP 1

Use the form below to provide contact information and the text for your ad. • Ads will be accepted from Farm Bureau members only. • Classified ads are not transferable. • Please type or print. • Classified ads will not be accepted or cancelled over the phone.


Indicate the issues in which you want your ad to run.


Select the category in which you want your ad to run (Pick one only).


Your first ad of 15 words or less is free with your membership. Pricing for additional ads: 1–15 words $10/ad 16–30 words $20/ad Additional ads must be accompanied by a check (no cash) for each issue in which the ad is to appear. • Make check payable to: Virginia Farm Bureau. • Ads longer than 30 words will not be accepted.

• We do not invoice for classified ads or provide proofs or tearsheets. • Ads submitted without payment will be returned.


Mail your ad (and payment) to: Virginia Farm Bureau News/Cultivate Classifieds P.O. Box 27552 Richmond, VA 23261-7552 Or place it via the Virginia Farm Bureau website at

Deadlines Ads and cancellations must be received (not mailed) by the following deadlines: ISSUE DEADLINE Mailed to producer members April March 3 September August 4

Mailed to associate members May April 5 August July 5

Important: We are not responsible

for typographical errors or errors due to illegible handwriting (No refunds available). Classified ads carried in Cultivate and Virginia Farm Bureau News do not constitute an endorsement by Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and its affiliated companies and organizations. We reserve the right to edit or reject ads, including ads that represent a business in competition with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company or any of our affiliated or affinity partners. We reserve the right to edit or reject any advertisement that makes reference to any particular political party or group, religious belief or denomination, race, creed, color or national origin.

Moving? If your address or phone

number has changed—or is about to—don’t forget to contact your county Farm Bureau office to ensure that your membership and subscription information stays current!

One free 15-word ad per membership per year; dues must be paid before placing ad.

NAME:___________________________________________________________________________________________ MEMBER NO.:______________________________________________________________________________________ COUNTY:_________________________________________________________________________________________ ADDRESS:________________________________________________________________________________________ CITY: __________________________________________



DAYTIME PHONE NUMBER: __________________________________ E-MAIL ADDRESS: ________________________ Ads will not be accepted without the information above

ADVERTISEMENT (one word per space; please type or print):

Category in which ad should run (select only one): q Crops q Farm Equipment q Hay/Straw q Livestock q Livestock Equipment No other categories available

1.________________________ 2.______________________ 3._________________________ 4.________________________ 5. _____________________________ 6._______________________ 7.______________________ 8._________________________ 9.________________________ 10.______________________________ ( ) 11._______________________ 12._____________________ 13.________________________ 14._______________________ 15. _____________________________ phone number

ISSUE IN WHICH AD SHOULD RUN:* q April (mailed to producer members) qM  ay (mailed to associate members) q August (mailed to associate members) q S eptember (mailed to producer members)

q This is my one free 15-word ad for 2017 q Payment enclosed: $ _____________ q Please place my ad in The Delmarva Farmer for 4 weeks at no additional cost to me. Your ad will automatically be included in the online VFB Marketplace for free (Ads expire with membership).

* Ad placement available for these issues only / JANUARY 2017


Financing Country Living Since 1916 The Experts in Rural Finance Homes • Land • Construction • Livestock Barns • Outbuildings • Equipment

800-919-FARM (3276)

Jan. 2017 FBN  

Farm Bureau News is published quarterly and offers producer members agricultural news. The magazine also includes recipes and content relate...

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