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January 2013

Farm Bureau News

Highland’s start-tofinish livestock center is ‘quite a feat’

Contents 13

Virgnia Farm Bureau News

Highland County’s start-to-finish livestock center is ‘quite a feat’

Livestock producers in Highland and surrounding counties no longer have to travel 70 miles to have their animals processed. 5

Three of every four voters said ‘Yes’ to Question 1

Virginia voters approved by 75 percent a proposed amendment to the state constitution to protect landowners from eminent domain abuse. Farm Bureau Federation is a longtime supporter of the change. 6

Farm Bureau pleased with first year as State Fair partner

After a 70-day scramble to help organize the 2012 State Fair of Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation is making plans for next fall.

Departments 10

In the Garden


Viewing Virginia


Good for You!


Heart of the Home




Volume 72, Number 1 January 2013 Virginia Farm Bureau News (USPS 017-763) (ISSN 1525-528X) is published six times a year, January, March, May, June, August, September/October (combined issue). 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). 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 address is virginiafarmbureaunews@vafb. com. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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. 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. Member: Virginia Press Association

editorial team Greg Hicks Vice President, Communications Pam Wiley Managing Editor Kathy Dixon Sr. Staff Writer/Photographer Sara Owens Staff Writer/Photographer Bill Altice Graphic Designer Maria La Lima Graphic Designer Cathy Vanderhoff Advertising

publication schedule Producer members will receive their next issue of Virginia Farm Bureau News in March. The magazine is published six times a year.


virginia farm bureau federation

6 On the Cover 13

Highland County sheep producer Jon Donaldson is among local farmers who invested in the Alleghany Highlands Agricultural Center LLC, which opened this past spring (Photo by Kathy Dixon).

Officers Wayne F. Pryor, President Scott E. Sink, Vice President Board of Directors director district Emily Edmondson 1 Richcard L. Sutherland 2 Evelyn H. Janney 3 Gordon R. Metz 4 Stephen L. Saufley 5 Peter A. Truban 6 Thomas E. Graves 7 H. Carl Tinder Sr. 8 Henry E. Wood Jr. 9 Robert J. Mills Jr. 10 J. M. Jenkins Jr. 11 W. Ellis Walton 12 M. L. Everett Jr. 13 David L. Hickman 14 Janice R. Burton * Nate Aker **

county Tazewell Grayson Floyd Henry Rockingham Shenandoah Orange Albemarle Buckingham Pittsylvania Lunenburg Middlesex Southampton Accomack Halifax Wythe *Women’s Committee Chairman **Young Farmers Committee Chairman


With 2012’s successes come 2013’s challenges


I feel confident in saying that 2012 was a year in which we truly fulfilled the Farm Bureau mission. Our mission statement asserts, “We will enhance, primarily through advocacy, education and communication, the agricultural interests of Farm Bureau members through economic, political and social programs.” We’ve been doing that for more than 85 years, and the effort that generated the most headlines last year was our purchase of a half-interest in The Meadow Event Park and the State Fair of Virginia. Your board of directors agreed this was a wonderful opportunity to carry out our mission, particularly the education and communication parts. Entering into the fair partnership did not cost the Federation any more money than we were already committed to spending with the old fair. And now we have a piece of the action and a real say in all the activities that occur on this valuable property in Caroline County. I am very pleased to report that approximately 150,000 visitors came to the 158th State Fair—and we finished in the black! Our other great victory last year was the result of seven years of hard work. By a three-to-one margin Virginia voters said “Yes” on Election Day to amending Article 1 of the Virginia Constitution to enshrine stronger protections for private property rights. I firmly believe this will go down as one of the major political achievements of Farm Bureau for decades to come. Like so many Farm Bureau victories, it came from the grass roots. We distributed nearly 13,000 yard signs to members and the public. Seven radio stations ran ads in support of the amendment, including some ads purchased by county Farm Bureaus. At least 25 newspapers ran ads, again paid for by county Farm Bureaus. Every county Farm Bureau annual meeting had a presentation on the vote, and most county Farm Bureaus included the issue prominently in their member newsletters. Along the way to this victory, we’ve fine-tuned our political outreach efforts. Many of you now receive regular e-mails from our Plows and Politics blog, and we’ve developed a database for county Farm Bureaus to help them share ways they’ve addressed political issues. This will keep us from having to re-invent the wheel each time a local challenge to agriculture pops up. I want to congratulate the county Farm Bureau women’s committees across Virginia, who made more than 2,300 legislative contacts since last spring.

Our volunteers also spread the good word about agriculture during National Agriculture Week, when 1,800 volunteers read to 61,000 schoolchildren across the state. Education is important to our members as well. Almost 3,000 producers attended one of our risk management Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and Universal Fairs LLC announced their State Fair partnership seminars last year. at a July reception. Two thousand farmers get our weekly Commodity Comments electronic newsletter. We helped 31 producer members receive financial grants for value-added agricultural businesses, and our grain marketing division helped members sell 2.3 million bushels. The excellence of all of our programs has not gone unnoticed. I recently learned that the American Farm Bureau Federation has awarded us five State Farm Bureau Awards of Excellence for our 2012 activities. Of course it wasn’t all good news in 2012. Our membership total was 146,810 members—down from almost 151,000 members in 2011. I know your county organizations have struggled with this as well, but we’re positioning ourselves to be a more financially stable organization and to pursue our public policy goals in addition to serving our members. Benjamin Franklin said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.” Last year, more than ever, I believe we saw growth and progress that set the stage for even greater achievement as the No. 1 advocacy group for agriculture in Virginia. I thank you for all your past and ongoing efforts toward that goal. Wayne F. Pryor, a Goochland County beef and grain producer, is president of Virginia Farm Bureau. january 2013



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Virginia Farm Bureau News

Three of every four Virginia voters said ‘Yes’ to Question 1 Virginia voters approved by 75 percent a proposed amendment to the state constitution designed to protect landowners from eminent domain abuse. The amendment took effect Jan. 1. Virginia Farm Bureau Federation is a longtime supporter of the change. “All farmers depend on their land for their livelihood, and the amendment to Virginia’s constitution that voters approved will help protect their property rights,” said VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor. “We’re pleased the General Assembly and the governor worked with us to put this amendment to a popular vote, and we’re very pleased to see it go into effect.” The amendment requires all government and private condemning authorities to assure that any eminent domain condemnation is for public purposes, not for private gain. It also requires that property owners be paid fair market value for their land, limits a taking to land necessary for the public purpose, and requires compensation to landowners for lost business and access. “The Question 1 private property rights amendment tilts the scales back in favor of the landowner” in an eminent domain dispute, Pryor said. “For many years that hasn’t been the case. Landowners can always sue to dispute an eminent domain taking or the amount of compensation, but legal proceedings take time and lots of money. Those are two things most Virginians don’t have a lot of.” Pryor said he also is grateful for support for the amendment from elected officials

‘The Question 1 private property rights amendment tilts the scales back in favor of the landowner.’ »

Wayne F. Pryor VFBF president

and Farm Bureau members. “We have to include Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the patrons of the amendment, and of course the General Assembly for passing this constitutional amendment not once but twice” in order for it to be on the ballot, he said. “I also want to thank Farm Bureau members and our 88 county Farm Bureaus for the grassroots work they did over the past two years.” County Farm Bureau members mailed more than 14,400 postcards to their state legislators last winter, distributed nearly 13,000 yard signs this past fall and ran local radio and newspaper ads.

Farm Bureau to emphasize policies built ‘From the Ground Up’ at Jan. 22 Legislative Day Virginia Farm Bureau members will talk with state legislators about issues of interest to farmers back home and statewide during the organization’s annual Legislative Day. Member-identified critical issues for the 2013 session of the Virginia General Assembly are: • adequate funding for the state’s Agriculture Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program; • adequate funding for operational support and technical assistance for soil and water conservation districts; • increased funding for the state portion of the state and federal coyote control program to expand technical assistance east of the Blue Ridge; • implementation of a central contact point for wildlife damage issues; • opposition to attempts to weaken statutory changes to state law defining “lost profits” and “lost access” with regard to eminent domain; and • support of legislation to amend the Code of Virginia to further protect landowners from trespassers and liability claims from those who trespass. “It’s absolutely critical for our members to meet face to face with their legislators about the issues affecting their lives and businesses,” said Kelly Pruitt, VFBF governmental relations grassroots coordinator. “Legislative Day gives us the opportunity to share farmers’ perspectives and to help foster well-informed decisions.” After lunch at the Richmond Marriott and a briefing session with Farm Bureau staff on Jan. 22, members will have appointments with their respective state senators and delegates. During those appointments, members will present their representatives with copies of the children’s book Kelly’s Big Day by Tammy Maxey to encourage their participation in Agriculture Literacy Week March 17-23 at their local elementary schools. The VFBF Women’s Committee will host a legislative reception that evening, at which Farm Bureau leaders will be able to talk with their representatives in an informal setting.

january 2013


Farm Bureau pleased with first year as State Fair partner After its first time as a partner in the State Fair of Virginia— and a 70-day scramble to organize the 2012 State Fair, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation is making plans for next fall. “We’re definitely already talking about ways to make the 2013 State Fair bigger and better,” said Greg Hicks, VFBF vice president of communications. The federation presented this year’s fair in partnership with Tennessee-based Universal Fairs LLC. It ran from Sept. 28 through Oct. 7 at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. “It was tremendous to see how many people turned out and how many were pleased that the fair is still in operation,” Hicks said. The fair’s previous owners declared bankruptcy last spring, and the fair and The Meadow Event Park were purchased at auction in May by Universal Fairs. That company and Farm Bureau announced their partnership in July. Called Commonwealth Fairs and Events LLC, the partnership will run the State Fair as well as

other events at the 331-acre property. One goal Farm Bureau had was to preserve the fair’s agricultural components. “This was a priority for us, in part because the fair is a popular school field trip destination,” Hicks said. “About 14,000 schoolchildren visited the fair this year, and we were able to offer fun, hands-on learning experiences for them that support Virginia’s Standards of Learning.” Traditional fair competitions for baked and preserved foods and arts and crafts also were held this year. Hicks said the level of participation was gratifying. “When 70 people bring you their homemade quilts, and easily that many bring homemade jams, cakes and candies, it definitely feels like you’re offering a valued program.”

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Virginia Farm Bureau News

State trooper’s death ‘a terrible, terrible tragedy’ The State Fair of Virginia’s 2012 run was not without misfortune. On Oct. 5 Trooper Andrew D. Fox, on special assignment with the Virginia State Police, died of injuries sustained when he was struck by a vehicle while directing traffic on state Route 30. Fox, who was 27, was the 58th state police officer killed in the line of duty in that agency’s 80-year history. In addition to his service as a law enforcement officer and a volunteer firefighter, the Tazwell County native held a degree in agricultural science and farmed in Pulaski County. Col. W. Steven Flaherty, state police superintendant, said Fox was “highly regarded and respected by his peers and supervisors across the state as a superior trooper, mentor, field training officer and instructor.” “The loss of Trooper Fox is a terrible, terrible tragedy,” said Virginia Farm Bureau President Wayne F. Pryor. “The fair wouldn’t be possible without the law enforcement officers and other emergency responders who help ensure a safe experience for everyone. We can’t ever take them for granted.”

Fair highlights included (counterclockwise from top) a Sept. 28 ribbon-cutting; excited—and patriotic—longtime fair fans; a demolition derby; numerous rides that swept guests off the ground; and a 5-kilometer race that benefited Virginia’s Agriculture in the Classroom program.

january 2013


Save the Dates

National Ag Day, Agriculture Literacy Week to be celebrated in March To recognize the significance and contributions of U.S. agriculture, National Ag Day will be celebrated March 19 during National Ag Week, March 17-23. The National Ag Day program encourages Americans to understand how food and fiber are produced; appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products; and value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy. In Virginia, county Farm Bureau women’s committees will mark the occasion by donating nonperishable food items and making monetary donations to regional food banks, food pantries and Ronald McDonald House charities across the state. Women’s committees, Farm Bureau members and other members of Virginia’s agricultural community also will participate in the third annual Agriculture Literacy Week that same week. This year’s Agriculture Literacy Week will feature the new children’s book Kelly’s Big Day, written by Tammy Maxey, senior education program coordinator for Virginia’s Agriculture in the Classroom program. The book is the second in AITC’s Farmer Ben series. Volunteers will read Kelly’s Big Day and other agriculture-related books to children in their communities’ elementary schools, preschools and day care facilities. “We’re hoping to build on the success of the previous two years and to have even more volunteers participate,” said Lynn Black, AITC education program coordinator. “It’s a great opportunity for those within the agricultural community to make connections with their local schools and to share agriculture’s story.”


Virginia Farm Bureau News

Local foods conference will connect buyers and sellers Farmers will have the opportunity to network with buyers who are interested in locally grown foods during the second annual Local Food Networks Conference. The conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 26 at Virginia Farm Bureau’s office in Goochland County. Conference details and registration information are being shared as they become available at Agriculture/LocalFoodNetworksConference. aspx. Scheduled workshops will include information on safe food handling and a panel of producers who will share how they have addressed food safety issues.

Save the Dates

Fifth annual ag trade conference set for early March Virginia agricultural exports and international policies affecting them will be the focus of the Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade March 7 and 8 at the Richmond Omni Hotel. This is the fifth year for the trade conference, which is sponsored by Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, the Virginia Virginia exported a record $2.35 billion in agricultural products Port Authority and the in 2011. Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. “Trade is an integral part of our state’s agriculture industry, and this conference gives producers the chance to hear from experts on how they can benefit from increasing their exports,” said Spencer Neale, VFBF commodity marketing specialist. At last year’s conference, Gov Bob McDonnell announced that Virginia exported a record $2.35 billion in agricultural products in 2011, an increase of more than 6 percent from 2010 and more than 2 percent from 2009. Speakers at this year’s conference include New Zealand ambassador Mike Moore, who will talk about globalization and trade policy, and a panel of embassy representatives from countries including Chile and Russia. Additionally, participants will learn about the widening of the Panama Canal and how it stands to affect Virginia’s agricultural trade opportunities. “Virginia’s Norfolk port is one of the few on the East Coast that will be able to handle the size ships that travel through the Panama Canal, so this is a golden opportunity for our state’s farmers,” Neale said. Registration and program information is available at AgTradeConference.aspx.

Young Farmers Winter Expo will take place in Harrisonburg The 2013 Young Farmers Winter Expo will take place Feb. 22-24 in Harrisonburg. Its theme will be “Back to Basics: Production Agriculture.” The keynote speaker will be Matthew J. Lohr, Virginia commissioner of agriculture and consumer services and a former Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer. Workshops will feature a runoff demonstration with a specialized rain simulator, Young Farmers policy development and Collegiate Young

Farmers activities. Tours will include the Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Houff Feed and Fertilizer, Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative facilities and a Mennonite farm operation. The Expo is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 35 with an interest in agriculture. More information will be shared at as it becomes available.

Risk management meetings scheduled for January Meetings for farmers with an interest in risk management opportunities have been scheduled on the following dates, and more are being planned for this winter: • Jan. 8 in Accomack County; • Jan. 15 in Dinwiddie County; • Jan. 15 in Charles City County; • Jan. 16 in King and Queen County; • Jan. 17 in Patrick County; and • Jan. 29 in Lancaster, Pa. All meetings are free, but reservations are required. The meetings are offered by Virginia Farm Bureau Federation in cooperation with Virginia Cooperative Extension and other organizations in Virginia and other states. For more information or to arrange a risk management meeting in another area, contact Jonah Bowles, VFBF agriculture market analyst, at 804-290-1117 or

Women’s Conference will be held in Roanoke The 2013 Women’s Conference will take place March 22-24 at The Sheraton Roanoke Hotel and Conference Center. The conference’s keynote speaker will be Katie Pinke, the author of the blog Pinke Post, where she writes about farm life in Wishek, N.D. She will speak on “Seven Ways to Engage and Be Empowered for a Next Generation.” Workshop topics will include talking to consumers about agriculture, and focusing on health, nutrition and exercise for a better life. Participants in the 2013 Farm Bureau Ambassador and Farm Woman of the Year programs will meet with judges, and state winners will be announced at the conference. The Women’s Conference is open to any woman with an interest in learning more about agriculture. To register, contact your county Farm Bureau office. january 2013


In the Garden

How does your garden grow? One year at a time When planning a garden, it’s a good idea to do successive plantings so there’s always color, said horticulturalist Mark Viette. “When people look at my family’s garden they often say, ‘Wow! How did you do that?’” Viette said. “I always tell them it took a lot of work over a period of years. It can be overwhelming, but if you take it a section at a time, you too can have a beautiful garden.” One of the most important things to consider when designing a garden, he said, is the sky. “You really want to pull in the sky as a layer in the garden.” Viette recommends starting with about 10 plants and selecting flowers that last a long time, as well as a variety of shrubs and trees. Some of his favorites include: • Annabelle hydrangea, which blooms all summer long; • daylilies, which are available in a riot of colors and bloom at different times; • hellebores, or Lenten rose; • Chinese dogwoods, which have interesting bark; • Japanese maples, for color; and • evergreens, which are available in different shades of green, as well as in golden hues, and provide different textures.

Be sure to “stack” plants for visual impact. Picture five gold daylilies with one large hydrangea. Consider adding statuary and planters. “There’s something for everyone,” Viette said. “Just do your research. Search the Web, and jot down what you like when you see it and decide what you want your garden to look like. Think about the colors you want to include, how many plants you want and when you want them to bloom.”

Evergreen textures, long-blooming hydrangeas and colorful daylilies can become focal points in a well-planned garden at different times of the year.

To find the station nearest you that airs Real Virginia, or to view the show online, visit


Virginia Farm Bureau News

Mark Viette appears on Real Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau’s monthly television program. Viette and his father operate the Andre Viette Farm and Nursery in Augusta County and have a live radio show broadcast by more than 60 mid-Atlantic stations each Saturday morning. They also are members of the Augusta County Farm Bureau. Andre Viette currently serves on the organization’s board of directors and on the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Ornamental Horticulture Advisory Committee, and Mark Viette is a former Augusta Farm Bureau board member.

Viewing Virginia

There’s a growing infrastructure for businesses that sell local foods, and the nation’s locavores could become “locavestors,” a recognized author and economist told farmers at the 2012 Virginia Farm to Table Conference. “I must say it’s been very heartening to be on the beat of writing about local economies for the past 15 years,” community economist Dr. Michael Shuman said Dec. 6 at the conference in Augusta County. Shuman is director of research and economic development at the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and author several books, most recently Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity. At the heart of many consumers’ decision to spend money with local businesses is a desire to invest in a community,” he said. “The locally owned business spends more of its money locally,” and the impact on the local economy is greater for every dollar spent. Local businesses also promote entrepreneurship, political participation and volunteerism and are critical for tourism and “walkable” communities, he added. In short, Shuman said, they provide “a very profound list of advantages” for their communities. He outlined numerous opportunities to invest more directly in communities, the first of which was moving money to local banks, which he said are responsible for more than half of the nation’s smallbusiness lending. Other opportunities he cited included investing in cooperatives, participating in peer-to-peer lending systems and investment clubs, and buying stock in local companies. Shuman also outlined investments that small business owners can make as alternatives to a 401(k) plan. They included starting bank accounts that help avoid using credit cards; buying a home or farmland instead of renting; paying off a home or farm mortgage loan ahead of schedule; improving energy efficiency

kathy dixon

Could locavores become ‘locavestors’ as interest in local economies grows?

Locally owned businesses provide “a very profound list of advantages” for their communities, Dr. Michael Shuman told participants in the 2012 Virginia Farm to Table Conference.

at home and on the farm and pursuing education that can boost earning power. All are “things that you control,” he noted. “You are your own hedge fund manager.” During a panel discussion on alternative markets and marketing, grain and livestock producer Dickie Morris of Rockingham County reminded farmers that tracking production costs is key to getting a good price. “You can’t sell something if you don’t know how much it costs to produce it.” U.S. Department of Agriculture economist James Barham recommended working with an effective distributor and generally keeping an eye out for new

market opportunities. He cited fruit growers who have found institutional buyers for smaller apples because they’re a good size for school lunches and fit well on stacked, covered hospital meal trays. Others have worked with schools, office complexes and other venues to provide convenient pick-up locations for community-supported agriculture shares. “We’re seeing that really skyrocket,” Barham said. “A lot of people don’t buy local because it isn’t convenient.”

january 2013


Nine members of Congress in Virginia receive national award Nine Virginia members of the 112th Congress received the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Friend of Farm Bureau Award. The award is given at the end of each Congress to those members who were nominated by their respective state Farm Bureaus and approved by the AFBF board of directors. It is based upon voting records on AFBF’s priority issues; the number of bills that a member has sponsored and co-sponsored; specific leadership roles on Farm Bureau priority issues; and how accessible and responsive a member is to Farm Bureau members and leaders. This year’s Virginia recipients are Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat; and Reps. Eric Cantor, R-7th; Randy Forbes, R-4th; Bob Goodlatte, R-6th; Morgan Griffith, R-9th; Robert Hurt, R-5th; Scott Rigell, R-2nd; Robert Wittman, R-1st; and Frank Wolf, R-10th. “In their own unique way, each of these members of Congress has demonstrated leadership on issues affecting farmers and the commonwealth’s economic welfare,” said Virginia Farm Bureau Federation President Wayne F. Pryor. “Their action on the budget, the environment, labor and trade issues helped maintain agriculture as Virginia’s largest economic sector.”

Study: Economic impact of Virginia poultry industry tops $8 billion

A study by the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association found the annual economic impact of Virginia’s poultry industry to be more than $8 billion. 12

Virginia Farm Bureau News

The study determined that the state’s poultry and egg industries provide 13,480 direct jobs and direct wages of $502 million and indirectly contribute to nearly 42,000 jobs and wages totaling more than $2 billion. Overall, poultry contributes about $8.1 billion in economic activity in the commonwealth, and poultry industry employees pay local, state and federal taxes totaling $8.3 million. Broiler chickens, raised for meat, are Virginia’s top agricultural commodity in terms of cash receipts, generating $623 million in 2010. Turkeys are ranked fourth with cash receipts of $285 million, and eggs are ninth with cash receipts of $77 million. Chicken and turkey are also among Virginia’s top farm exports. Nationally, Virginia is ranked fourth among states for turkey production, ninth for broiler production and 28th for egg production. Study data can be viewed online collectively or by individual product at,, and

Secretariat wins spot on Virginia Legends Walk by a nose

Farmers interested in mentoring young farmers can apply for Virginia Farm Mentor Network

The most famous horse in Thoroughbred racing history has edged his way into the Virginia Legends Walk. Triple Crown winner Secretariat received 50.4 percent of the ballots cast for this year’s candidates of famous Virginians to be included in the Virginia Beach historybased walking tour. “As representatives of the birthplace of Secretariat, we’re pleased to learn of this recognition,” said Greg Hicks, vice president of communications for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. The federation is a partner in the State Fair of Virginia, held at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, where Secretariat was born. “His story continues to inspire new generations who visit The Meadow or participate in a horse event at our facility,” Hicks said. Secretariat was among 61 eligible Virginians who qualified this year for inclusion on the Virginia Legends Walk. Ballots were sent to a statewide network of almost 1,300 judges, including university presidents, heads of historical societies and museums, history professors, librarians, news media representatives and Virginia Beach teachers. The Virginia Legends Walk is located in the heart of the Virginia Beach resort area.

Farmers who are interested in transitioning out of farming and mentoring a young farmer can now take the first step in the process by filling out a Mentee Application for the Virginia Farm Mentor Network. The Virginia Farm Mentor Network is part of the Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Project, which was created in 2010 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded Virginia Tech a grant to get the program started. Participation in the network is an informal educational opportunity that allows a new farmer to learn from an experienced person who has been working successfully in agriculture. For more information visit vabeginningfarmer.aee.

Secretariat won Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown in 1973.

Start-to-finish livestock center benefits Highland County and surrounding communities 5 _________



Farmers who raise sheep, cattle, swine, goats and bison in and around Highland County now have an opportunity to have their animals processed in Monterey rather than traveling 70 miles farther from home.

january 2013





to sell at farmers’ markets or to grocery stores and restaurants, or to keep for their own consumption. Of the 50 cows, 15 pigs and 15 lambs processed in November, about half were for commercial sales and half were for the farmers’ own use. “A lot of people are surprised at how much meat we can run through this 3,000-square-foot facility,” said Chris Fuller, AHAC general manager. “We’ve exceeded their expectations.” The AHAC also is benefitting the local economy. In a county of less than 2,300 residents, the processing plant has created six fulltime jobs.

CHUCK NEELY Riven Rock Farm

CHRIS FULLER Alleghany Meats “A lot of people are surprised at how much meat we can run through this 3,000-square-foot facility,” said Chris Fuller, general manager of the Alleghany Highlands Agricultural Center.


ivestock producers in Highland and surrounding counties no longer have to travel 70 miles to have their animals processed.

That’s because the Alleghany Highlands Agricultural Center LLC, operating as Alleghany Meats, opened in April 2012. Located in the small mountain town of Monterey, the center is a marketing, processing and sales center for livestock farmers in Highland and adjacent Bath County and in Pendleton and Pocahontas counties in West Virginia. It’s a start-to-finish operation that converts live animals into finished cuts of meat. It also helps market live animals by providing a weigh-in and distribution center for various livestock associations. Holding pens and scales were built on the site in 2008. Because of its proximity to many livestock producers, the facility is improving their bottom lines. “There’s a real advantage to being so close to a processing facility,” said Chuck Neely, co-owner of Riven Rock Farm. He and his wife, Lou Ann, are among the 94 AHAC investors. “Two hours on a trailer stresses an animal, and the meat isn’t as tender as it could be.” Neely raises Belted Galloway cattle, a heritage breed. Prior to the ag center’s opening last April, he—and other area farmers—had to haul animals 70 miles over mountainous terrain to Harrisonburg for processing. Now, “they step on the trailer, and they’re there in 5 minutes, which is a definite benefit,” Neely said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected ag center processes cows, goats, pigs, sheep and even bison. The meat is cut and vacuum-sealed, and the farmers pick up packages that are ready


Virginia Farm Bureau News

There’s a real advantage to being so close to a processing facility,” said Chuck Neely, a cattle producer and AHAC investor.

“Three of our employees are young and want to stay in the community, and this enables them to do that,” Fuller said. “The population of the county is declining, so anything we can do to keep people there is critical.” About 75 of the center’s investors are farmers, and the rest are community members and businesses. “It’s very much producer-owned and controlled,” said Scott Smith, agriculture projects coordinator for The Highland Center, a nonprofit business incubator that helped secure grants for the AHAC. Smith also serves on the AHAC advisory board. Under the Highland Center’s guidance, a four-county steering committee worked for five years to establish the facility. By the end of 2010, the committee had secured $1 million from private investors to put its already-secured $480,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan into action. Jon Donaldson, a Highland County sheep farmer, is an investor and AHAC board member. Although he isn’t currently using the AHAC to process his lambs, he believes the project will help everyone. “This is quite a feat,” Donaldson said. Betty Mitchell, executive director of The Highland Center, said the AHAC’s ability to make value-added products will increase the




DEBORA and SKE ELLINGTON Ginseng Mountain Farm

JON DONALDSON Highland County sheep farmer

AHAC investor and board member Jon Donaldson does not currently use the facility to process his sheep, but he saw its value to his community.

strength of the local livestock farming economy. ”We’re looking at a marketing plan that incorporates the assets we have here—our scenery, farms and foods,” Mitchell said. “The ag center gives our producers the ability to sell a value-added product.” For example, the plant soon will have a smokehouse to make jerky and sausage. The Highland Center secured a grant for the equipment and is leasing it back to the AHAC. “I feel like this is the tip of the iceberg that can help strengthen local foods in the community,” Mitchell said.

Center provides one-on-one service—and ‘that special roast’ In preparation for Christmas dinner, a customer of Neely’s requested a miniature standing rib roast like she had seen in a magazine. “I talked to Chris about it, and now my customer will have that special roast,” Neely said. “Chris is really forward-thinking, and the one-on-one service helps us give our customers what they want.” The idea behind providing specialized cuts, Fuller said, “is to encourage producers in the area to break into new markets, such as locally raised beef or grass-fed animals and other niche areas.” Animals are slaughtered twice a week, and meat is cut three times a week. Producers pay a flat fee for the slaughter and a per-pound price for cutting and vacuum-sealing the meat. Premium packages with fancier cuts, like a French rack of lamb instead of basic lamb chops, cost more per pound. But the center’s customers appreciate this feature.

“I like that we can go and look at our meat hanging and watch the cuts being made,” said Debora Ellington. She and her husband, SKE, raise heritage beef cattle and lambs.

“Chris knows the new cuts and has been very helpful,” said Debora Ellington, co-owner of Ginseng Mountain Farm, where she and her husband, SKE, raise heritage Angus beef and lamb. “I also like that we can go and look at our meat hanging and watch the cuts being made. Chris wants to make his customers happy, which makes our customers happy.” AHAC customers also appreciate that the facility uses humane practices. “I think meat protein is a very important part of our diet, but if we’re going to eat meat then we should process the animals respectfully,” Fuller said. january 2013



Farm family members, animals, scenic vistas and a variety of farming tasks and equipment were featured in the first-place entries in Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s 2012 photo contest.

All winning photos can be viewed at Entries were judged in three age divisions: 6 to 10 years, 11 to 17 years, and 18 and older.

Top photo: “Take Me to the River” by Jerry Posenau, Hanover County Above: “Planting Time” by Matthew Funk, Shenandoah County Left: “Nothing Like a Home Grown Tomato” by Haden Parrish, Fluvanna County 16

Virginia Farm Bureau News

“Black Eyed Susans Peeking through a Fence” by Amanda Carrow, Newport News

“My Barn, My Livelihood” by Jessica Vass, Carroll County

“Up Close and Personal” by Shannon Jones, Hanover County

“Golden Field” by Lillian Moon, Rockingham County

“Helping Mom” by Amy Larson, Washington County

“Old Red” by Shannon Jones, Hanover County january 2013



Convention focused on ‘Cultivating the American Dream’ More than 700 producer members and others with an interest in agriculture and agribusiness gathered for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation 2012 Annual Convention Nov. 27-29 at the Westfields Marriott Hotel in Chantilly. The convention theme was “Freedom to Farm: Cultivating the American Dream,” and speakers touched on politics, global economics and connecting with consumers.

Pryor, Burton and four directors re-elected

Delegates elect new District 2 board member

Wayne F. Pryor of Goochland County was re-elected to a fourth term as president of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation at the organization’s annual convention. Janice R. Burton of Halifax County was re-elected to a sixth two-year term as chairman of the VFBF Women’s Committee. Four VFBF directors were re-elected to new three-year terms: David L. Hickman of Accomack County; J.M. “Jerry” Jenkins of Lunenburg County; Stephen L. Saufley of Rockingham County; and H. Carl Tinder Sr. of Albemarle County.

Grayson County beef cattle and tobacco farmer Richard L. Sutherland was elected to a three-year term on the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation board of directors. He will represent Farm Bureau producer members in Grayson, Smyth and Washington counties. Sutherland succeeds Archie B. Atwell of Smyth County, who did not seek re-election. He is a member of the VFBF Burley Tobacco Richard L. Sutherland Advisory Committee and serves as president of the Grayson County Farm Bureau. He also is a member of the Carroll-Grayson Cattlemen’s Association and previously served on that organization’s board.

Delegates elect Sink vice president Franklin County producer Scott E. Sink of Blacksburg has been elected vice president of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. He will serve a two-year term and succeeds Edward A. Scharer of Albemarle County, who did not seek re-election. Sink is a member of the VFBF Emerging Agriculture Enterprises Advisory Committee and Legislative Advisory Committee. He also is a past member Scott E. Sink and past chairman of the Young Farmers Committee and serves on the board of the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. He is president of Franklin County Farm Bureau. Sink also is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation Federal Deficit Task Force and is a past vice chairman of the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee. In addition, he serves on the American Agricultural Insurance Company Farm Initiative Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee. He and his wife, Mendy, operate SES Agricultural Enterprises, which produces beef cattle, hay, agricultural services and agritourism opportunities. They also own Hethwood Market in Blacksburg, where they sell locally grown produce and offer catering services.


Virginia Farm Bureau News

Wythe County producer will chair Young Farmers Committee Wythe County dairy, cattle and pumpkin producer Nate Aker of Wytheville has been elected to a two-year term as chairman of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Committee. Aker has served on the Young Farmers Committee for two years, representing the counties of Bland, Carroll, Giles, Floyd, Montgomery, Pulaski and Wythe. He also chairs the Wythe County Farm Bureau Nate Aker Young Farmers Committee. He is the third generation to work in his family’s dairy operation. He also runs a pumpkin and stocker cattle program.


Analyst predicts ‘a long slog’ in Congress over next four years

Future is bright for agriculture despite global economics

In summing up the nation’s political climate over the coming four years, Stuart Rothenberg told about 500 Virginia farmers to “prepare for a long, hard fight. … We are a roughly evenly divided country here, and it’s going to be a long slog. Just get used to it.” Rothenberg is editor and publisher of The Rothenberg Political Report, a semi-monthly newsletter that provides reporting and analysis of American elections and their political ramifications. He delivered the Nov. 27 keynote address, “Election 2012: What Now?” at the 2012 Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention. On the surface, he said, it might look as if “nothing happened” to the federal government and the balance of political power after November’s election. The country still has the same Democratic president, as well as a DemocratStuart Rothenberg controlled Senate and a Republicancontrolled House. At the same time, however, he described the outcome of November’s races as “a wet dishrag across the face” for conservatives. Essentially, he said, “you have a country that decided it didn’t want to go back to the Bush years,” given current economic and other conditions. The changes are evident in the election statistics, Rothenberg said. Young voters, expected to turn out in smaller numbers than they did in 2008, made up one percentage point more of the electorate than they did that year. And more than half of them were Obama supporters. The percentage of white voters dropped from 74 percent of the electorate to 72 percent, marking the second presidential election in which white voters did not make up at least three-quarters of Americans who cast a ballot. The number of black voters remained steady, while more Americans of Asian and Latino descent voted. He attributed the outcome of federal elections in part to the fact that “stuff happens” that is not specifically generated by campaigns and parties but still influences voters—President Obama’s performance in the first debate, Mitt Romney’s taped “47 percent” remark and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Rothenberg also told his audience not to expect an improved spirit of cooperation in Congress. In January, there will be fewer moderates and pragmatists from either party in office, which could hinder compromises. One issue on which the 2012 elections are likely to have a dramatic impact is immigration, he said. He cited a speech earlier this year by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in which Rubio said the nation in general and conservatives specifically, “need to stop talking about illegal immigration and start talking about legal immigration.”

It’s important for U.S. farmers to understand what is considered the new normal in global economics. Dr. David M. Kohl, president of AgriVisions LLC and a professor emeritus at Virginia Tech, provided an overview Nov. 27 during a workshop titled “The Wild World of Global Economics.” Kohl said farmers need to be prepared for unusual events, or “black swans,” worldwide. “If input prices increase or profits for commodities decrease, you have to anticipate, plan and budget appropriately, he said. “You have to have a lot of stretch in your waistband.” There are more opportunities to succeed or fail in agriculture, so planning and proper management is important, Kohl said. “You can’t plan on being average. If you do, you’ll be out of business in five years. You have to see a widening gap of farm profitability. The better get better, and the worse fall behind.” Kohl said farmers need to be proactive and remember what he called the “HUT Principle”: A lot of people hear; few understand; and even fewer take action. “You have to take action. You may fail, but you may not. A key element is to not duplicate your mistakes.” What’s driving agriculture now, he said, are emerging nations, including Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa, South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey. “They depend on our food, fiber and fuel, and that’s what drives prices.” U.S. farmers are currently in the largest supercycle ever seen, Kohl said. “It has lasted two-and-a-half times longer than any other supercycle, and the wild world of economics is driving it.” Emerging nations; ethanol and biofuels; oil, gas and minerals; and Mother Nature are some of the factors, he said. “The Federal Reserve has helped by keeping the value of the dollar low, and interest rates are still low.” Kohl predicted that the United States will dismount from the current supercycle within the next five years. The U.S. economy, he said, has to get back on track. “Other countries are worried about the United States. If we go over the ‘fiscal cliff ’ it will put us back in a recession. We need clarity. We don’t want our foreign investors worried.” Kohl used debt after World War II as a comparison to the United States’ current situation. The difference in the nation’s debt after World War II was that 88 percent of it was held in bonds by Americans, he said, whereas 41 percent of today’s debt is foreign-financed. “The U.S. economy is the best house in a bad neighborhood on the global scene,” Kohl said. But the housing market is starting to turn around, he noted, and there are reasons to be optimistic about agriculture. By 2050 the world will need 100 percent more food, fiber and fuel, and 70 percent of that will come from technology and sustainable agriculture, Kohl said. “There also is a place for all agriculture, because one size does not fit all.”

january 2013



Governor salutes Farm Bureau’s efforts in passage of Virginia property rights amendment Gov. Bob McDonnell raised a glass of Virginia sparkling cider and toasted the efforts of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation to pass a constitutional amendment to protect private property rights. “It’s cider month, so it’s only appropriate to make a toast to great cider makers in Virginia and to you for putting your heart and soul into enshrining private property rights in the [state] constitution,” Gov. Bob McDonnell McDonnell told convention participants on Nov. 27. “I want to salute you for the significant work you’ve done on passage of the amendment. I don’t think it would have happened without the efforts of the Farm Bureau.” Question 1 on the Nov. 6 Virginia ballot passed by 75 percent. The amendment requires all government and private condemning authorities to ensure that any eminent domain takings are for public purposes rather than private gain. It also requires that property owners be paid fair market value for their land; limits takings to land necessary for public purposes; and requires compensation to landowners for lost business and access. McDonnell also praised Farm Bureau for entering a partnership to present the State Fair of Virginia after the previous owners declared bankruptcy. “You did in eight weeks what no one else thought was possible and put on a State Fair. It was really a terrific effort on your part.”

Farmers urged to share information with consumers about what they do Farmers historically have stayed out of the national conversation about food, but a national movement is trying to change that. Farmers learned on Nov. 27 that the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance wants farmers to talk about what they do and share their stories with consumers. “This is a long-term movement that will probably be an ongoing conversation for the rest of our lives,” said Erika Poppelreiter, a USFRA representative and Kansas farmer. Poppelreiter led one of the educational workshops at the convention. USFRA was formed to facilitate and initiate national conversations among farmers and consumers. VFBF is among the alliance’s 75 member organizations, which represent a variety of commodity producers. USFRA enlisted the help of a research group to find out whether farmers’ current messages resonate with consumers. The research found that what farmers say about their industry is ineffective. For example, Poppelreiter said, the message that most farms are family-owned and family-operated doesn’t resonate with


Virginia Farm Bureau News

consumers. “What they heard is that farms are beholden to big processors. “Audiences like farmers, but they don’t like what farmers do,” Poppelreiter said. “They’re concerned about hormones, pesticides and biotechnology; it’s personal, because it’s about their food.” When farmers acknowledge consumers’ concerns and talk about how they are addressing them, that resonates well with their customers. People want to know how farmers are reducing their pesticide use or using GPS technology to apply fertilizer more precisely. “Conversations can change opinions and enlighten consumers,” Poppelreiter added. “Look for opportunities to start a conversation everywhere you go.”

Young Farmers honor Botetourt County couple The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Committee honored Andy and Dr. Megan Seibel of Botetourt County Nov. 28 with its 2012 Warren Beach Award for their long-standing support of the VFBF Young Farmers Program. The Seibels, who are members of Roanoke County Farm Bureau, manage their family’s beef cattle, hay and commercial wine grape operation in Botetourt. Megan Seibel is director of the Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results program at Virginia Tech and a member of the steering committee for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Grant and serves various roles within Farm Bureau, the Virginia Vineyards Association and the Virginia Agribusiness Council. Andy Seibel is the Virginia FFA Specialist. He began his career as an agricultural education teacher in the late 1980s and has served as an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech, teaching agricultural mechanics to graduate students pursing teaching certificates in agriculture. As a part of his mission to create strong mentorships, he has helped state FFA officers become more connected with the VFBF Young Farmers Program. Dr. Megan Seibel and Andy Seibel


Pittsylvania County farmer and state veterinarian honored

Wythe County farm couple claims Achievement Award

Retired VFBF board member Joseph H. Williams of Pittsylvania County and State Veterinarian Dr. Richard Wilkes were recognized Nov. 28 with Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Distinguished Service Awards. A member of Farm Bureau since 1971, Williams raised 400 acres of tobacco in Pittsylvania County for decades before starting a vineyard and winery with his family. Williams also served on the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Rural Joseph H. Williams Revitalization Commission and is a past president and board member of the Pittsylvania County Farm Bureau. As state veterinarian since 2005, Wilkes has been a spokesman for animal agriculture at a time when animal activist groups have sought to redefine how farm livestock is treated. He was a key player in the passage of a bill in the 2011 Virginia General Assembly to define standards of care for agricultural animals to ensure that their proper care be defined by science. He also has been instrumental in leading the development of the Virginia State Animal Response Team for emergency situations. The Virginia Department of Agriculture Dr. Richard Wilkes and Consumer Services’ Office of Veterinary Services administers laws and regulations that apply to health requirements for livestock and poultry. Wilkes has been a leader in putting in place plans to stop the spread of disease through commerce—both in and out of state.

Nate and April Aker of Wythe County have been named winners of the 2012 Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Achievement Award. The Akers live and work on their family’s thirdgeneration dairy farm. In addition, they raise beef cattle and grow vegetables to diversify the operation. The Achievement Award recognizes young farmers Nate Aker who are successful in production agriculture and provide leadership on and off the farm. Nate Aker serves on the Wythe County Farm Bureau board of directors. The Akers will receive up to 200 hours’ use of a Kubota M-series tractor from Kubota Tractor Corp.; a new Stihl chain saw from Mid-Atlantic Stihl; $500 from Virginia’s Farm Credit associations; and $500 from Chesterfield County Farm Bureau. They also will receive travel packages to the 2013 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn., and the 2013 VFBF Young Farmers Winter Expo in Harrisonburg. They will compete for the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award in January in Nashville.

County Farm Bureaus recognized for excellence Farm Bureaus in the counties of Prince George, Chesterfield, Pittsylvania and Montgomery were recognized Nov. 28 with Best in State Awards for their work in education the public and promoting agriculture and Farm Bureau. Prince George County Farm Bureau, led by President W.D. Kreider, won in the category for membership acquisition. Chesterfield County Farm Bureau, led by President Howard Nester Jr., won in the member involvement and retention category. Pittsylvania County Farm Bureau, led by President Jay Calhoun, captured honors for agriculture promotion or education. Montgomery County Farm Bureau, led by President Bruce Stanger, was recognized for its governmental relations program.

Farm Credit marketing specialist wins Discussion Meet Justin Cruise, a marketing specialist for Farm Credit of the Virginias and a part-time farmer in Westmoreland County, took top honors Nov. 27 in Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Young Farmers Discussion Meet. The Discussion Meet is a committee-style discussion on a predetermined agricultural topic. Participants are judged on their ability to build consensus and work toward solutions. Cruise was awarded a John Deere Gator utility vehicle, courtesy Justin Cruise of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. He will compete on the national level in January at the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet.

january 2013


Protect yourself against rollover with ROPS, seat belts FOR MORE THAN 15 YEARS, Virginia Farm Bureau has worked to promote the use of rollover protection structures and seat belts on tractors. To keep up with rising costs, Farm Bureau has changed its popular ROPS incentive for 2013, so now might be the time to consider installing a rollover protective structure on an older-model tractor. The ROPS incentive now offers $400 to members who add a ROPS and seat belt. “We decided that the ROPS was where we needed to invest with our members, so we eliminated the canopy incentive and refocused our efforts back onto the ROPS and seat belt,” said Jimmy Maass, Farm Bureau’s safety manager. Participants must be Farm Bureau members and own the tractors being retrofitted, and the ROPS must meet all safety standards. “There should be a small placard on the ROPS that says it was tested and meets safety standards,” Maass said. “If that information is not on the ROPS, it may not work properly in a rollover event, and because of that Farm Bureau will not offer the incentive.” For members who are having difficulty finding a ROPS, Maass suggested checking out the Cost-Effective Rollover Protection Structures, or CROPS, System. Last year the Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health provided free CROPS to 25 farm tractor owners. “The hope was that this project would help make CROPS available for other farm tractor models in the future and would be more cost-effective for farmers and more widely available,” Maass said. “Our goal is to help farmers stay safe while operating their tractors, and the best way to do that is to make sure each one has a ROPS and seat belt installed.” He emphasized the importance of wearing a seat belt. “The seat belt is part of the ROPS. If you are not wearing a seat belt, the ROPS may not protect you if you experience a rollover.” 22

Virginia Farm Bureau News

If your tractor is old enough to not have a factory-installed rollover protective structure and seat belt, Virginia Farm Bureau’s ROPS incentive program could help keep you and your employees safe.

There are a limited number of incentives for 2013. Application forms are available through county Farm Bureau offices. Farmers interested in learning more

about CROPS can visit topics/aginjury/crops or contact the Farm Bureau Safety staff at 804-290-1376 or

Be careful, and stay in compliance; agriculture is among most dangerous jobs Agriculture is one of the most important industries in the nation and also one of the most hazardous. About 1.82 million full-time workers were employed in production agriculture in the United States in 2010. Fatal injuries create a burden on the agricultural sector. In 2010, 476 farmers and farm workers died from a workrelated injury for a fatality rate of 26.1 deaths per 100,000 workers. Most agriculture-related accidents involve machinery. Here are some basic tips to foster safety on your farm:

• Replace guards on farm equipment immediately following maintenance or when the guards become damaged.

• Install rollover protection structures, protective enclosures or frames on farm tractors that are without those safety devices. Any tractor built after Oct. 25, 1976, must have a ROPS if employees are operating the machinery.

For information on state regulations and more visit the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry Web site at doli. or call 800-321-6742. You will be asked to key in your ZIP Code to receive the phone number for the Department of Labor and Industry office near you.

• Inspect equipment routinely, and make repairs and adjustments before further use.

• Follow instructions on safety data sheets and labels that come with chemical products, and communicate that information to all employees. • Remember that unventilated grain silos and manure pits can contain methane gas, carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. Be sure to have plenty of ventilation, and test the air before entering a silo or manure pit.

Magazine’s first six decades archived online Through a partnership with the Library of Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation has been able to make back issues of its flagship publication, Virginia Farm Bureau News, available online as part of the Virginia Newspaper Project. Issues of Farm Bureau News from February 1941 through January 2000 are available at no cost with all images and full-text search capability at and a link on the front of the VFBF website at “We had nearly every issue saved at our home office in Goochland County,” said Greg Hicks, VFBF vice president of communications. “We were proud of that, but it just wasn’t the best solution for preserving or sharing Virginia’s farm news publication of record. “When we approached the Library of Virginia’s staff to see what other options we might have, we found that they too possessed nearly all of the issues. But nowhere in the state was there one complete set.” The two institutions compared inventories to fill in the gaps, and the library staff began the process of microfilming each one. Errol S. Somay, director of the Virginia Newspaper Project, explained that, while microfilming might seem like outdated technology, preservation microfilming offers two important and desirable advantages. “It provides a stable preservation medium that can be archived for hundreds of years, and it serves as the perfect cost-effective foundation for digital transfer.” Hicks said a plan will be made to preserve and share issues of Farm Bureau News published after February 2000, when the publication was upgraded from newspaper to magazine format. “That’s next, but at the moment we are extremely pleased to be able to share the majority of the Farm Bureau News issues with our members and the interested public. It’s been in Virginia farm homes for generations, and I’m sure we have members who will be interested in looking up articles and events of historical significance to their families and their farms. “Interestingly, a member of our editorial staff was looking at the issue that was published the month she was born in 1965 and ran across a photo of a current state board member who was in high school at the time and had won an FFA forestry award.” Recent issues of Farm Bureau News and Cultivate magazine, which is mailed to members who do not farm, can be viewed online at Current-month issues also can be viewed via a link in the “News & Video” section of

Issues of Virginia Farm Bureau News from February 1941 through January 2000 have been made available online by the Library of Virginia as part of the Virginia Newspaper Project.

Y To browse archived issues 1. Go to, either directly or via a link on the front page of 2. On the right side of the screen, under “Browse the Collection,” click on the link to “Browse by title.” 3. In the list of newspaper titles, click on “Virginia Farm Bureau News.” 4. Select a specific issue from the table in which they are organized by year. 5. Right-clicking on a specific newspaper page will give you the option of creating and saving a .pdf of that page, or of viewing only the text from that page.

january 2013


Agriculture Literacy Week will feature Kelly’s Big Day—and more AGRICULTURE IN THE CLASSROOM

Volunteers from throughout Virginia’s agricultural community will mark the third annual Agriculture Literacy Week March 17-23. The Agriculture in the Classroom program is encouraging them to visit elementary schools, preschools and day care facilities in their respective communities and read agriculturerelated books to children. In the past two years, those visits also have been an opportunity for farmers to talk with children about what they do, and to answer questions. Lots of questions. “They typically are not shy about that at all,� said Virginia Farm Bureau President Wayne F. Pryor, who read to children in Halifax County last year. “That’s fine. We want them to have that opportunity to ask, because that’s one way they learn things.� This year volunteers have access to the new Farmer Ben book, Kelly’s Big Day, written by Tammy Maxey, AITC’s senior education program coordinator. The book is dedicated to

the memory of Helen M. Neese of Shenandoah County, and its publication was sponsored in part by the Shenandoah County Farm Bureau. Neese, who died in 2011, was instrumental in getting AITC established in Virginia. “The program has been able to accomplish so much since then,� Maxey said, “and one reason it has is that Helen was determined to make it viable. She was a lifelong farmer, and she saw the tremendous value in introducing children to agriculture as early as possible.� Last year’s Agriculture Literacy Week volunteers included members of more than 70 county Farm Bureaus. They not only read books to children but also did agriculture-related crafts with them and brought examples of local crops—and, in some instances, livestock—to schools. “The volunteers have definitely gotten creative with their visits,� Maxey said. “They’ve made this much more than talking to children. They’re sharing with them.�

AITC SUPPORTERS In addition to many individuals who contributed, these organizations made contributions to the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom between Aug. 21 and Dec. 10, 2012.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Augusta County Farm Bureau Bon Secours Health System Buckingham County Farm Bureau Cargill Inc. Caroline County Farm Bureau Charles City-James City-New Kent-York County Farm Bureau Culpeper County Farm Bureau Elis Olsson Memorial Foundation Farm Credit of the Virginias Frederick County Farm Bureau Houff Foundation King William County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Orange County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Owens & Minor Pioneer HiBred Southern States Titmus Foundation Virginia Beef Industry Council VFBF Southwest District Women’s Program VFBF Women’s Program Virginia Horse Industry Board Virginia Small Grains Board Whole Foods Grocery


Virginia Farm Bureau News

Some call it agriculture. For us, it’s a way of life.

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Members can save at Farm Bureau warehouse open house on Feb. 22 In need of parts for your car, truck or farm machinery? Farm Bureau members can save 10 percent on purchases from the Virginia Farm Bureau Service Corp. Products Division at its Feb. 22 open house. Since 1965, the Products Division has provided farmers with a variety of supplies, through Farm Bureau-certified local dealers and the Farm Bureau warehouse in Henrico County. The open house will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the warehouse at 1541 Mary St. in Sandston. Refreshments will be available. 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, chisel teeth, roller chains and cutting parts for hay equipment and combines. 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.

Farm Bureau discontinues safety seat program Effective Nov. 30, 2012, Virginia Farm Bureau has discontinued its Child Saver safety seat program. The program, created in 1989 to offer members child restraint seats on a cost-share basis, provided members with 35,750 seats over the past 23 years. “Our costs have increased to the point that our prices are no longer competitive, and the number of orders placed by our members has dropped dramatically over the past few years,” said Jimmy Maass, Farm Bureau safety manager. “Child safety still remains a top priority for Farm Bureau Safety, and we will transition to more of an emphasis on child safety seat installation.” Farm Bureau has certified child safety seat technicians who are available to perform individual seat checks at the organization’s headquarters in Goochland County and at seat check events at county Farm Bureau offices across the state. For more information or to schedule a seat check near you, contact Farm Bureau Safety at 804-290-1376 or safety@

Census countdown begins for U.S. farmers American farmers and ranchers have begun taking part in the U.S. Census of Agriculture, which is conducted every five years. Completed 2012 Census of Agriculture forms are due to the U.S. Department of Agriculture by Feb. 4. The USDA mailed the forms in late December to collect data for the 2012 calendar year. Federal law requires all agricultural producers to participate in the census and requires the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service to keep all individual information confidential. Producers can return their forms by mail or participate in the census online via a secure website at “The census remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation,” said Renee Picanso, director of the NASS Census and Survey Division. “It’s a critical tool that gives farmers a voice to influence decisions that will shape the future of their communities, industry and operations.” In 2007, U.S. farmers reported more than 2 million farms on more than 922 million acres—nearly a 4 percent increase in the number of U.S. farms from 2002 census. The new farms tended to have more diversified production, fewer acres, lower sales and younger operators who also had off-farm income. The 2012 census will ask farmers for the first time about Internet usage, land use and crops used for renewable energy.

The 2007 Census of Agriculture reported more than 2 million U.S. farms and ranches—nearly 4 percent more than were reported in 2002.

january 2013


Good for You!

Edible SOYBEAN is full of flavor and nutrition By Kathy Dixon PATRICIA STANSBURY said that if she were stranded on a desert island and could have only one food, it would be edamame. “Because it tastes good and has lots of nutritional value,” said Stansbury, an edamame grower and owner of Epic Gardens LLC in Chesterfield County. She’s referring to the edible soybean that’s bred to be eaten as a vegetable. In Japanese, edamame means “beans on a branch.” The soybeans could be called pods of nutrition, because they are high in fiber, low in fat, high in protein and vitamins C and A and contain 4 percent of the daily recommendation for calcium. A cup of beans in the pod or a half-cup of shelled beans contains only 120 calories. The 9 grams of fiber it contains is about the same amount you’d find in 4 slices of whole-wheat bread or 4 cups of steamed zucchini. It contains 10 percent of the daily value for iron, which is about as much as a 4-ounce roasted chicken breast—a high amount for plant food. Studies show that soy protein lowers blood cholesterol, which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease. And soy isoflavones, which are antioxidants, decrease artery damage because they protect the cells of the arteries from oxidation. Oh, and did we mention that edamame tastes good? Stansbury said that when she offers samples of edamame at farmers’ markets, “people really like it, especially children. They like squeezing it out of the pod.” She started growing the protein source around six years ago after she had tried it at a party. “I ate some and really liked it, and everybody at the party really liked it too,” she said. She started growing it the following summer and has worked with researchers at Virginia State University on growing and marketing different varieties as part of their soybean breeding program. She sells the soybeans to area grocery stores and restaurants and at farmers’ markets.


Virginia Farm Bureau News

“I’m finding that retailers are looking for it now, because consumers are asking for it,” she said. Stansbury also sells edamame seeds to other growers to increase the state’s supply. Edamame can be served in a variety of ways. “Most edamame is eaten straight from the pod as a hearty, healthy snack and it’s great finger food,” Stansbury said. Simply boil or steam them unshelled for 5 to 10 minutes, and then sprinkle them with sea salt. Then squeeze the beans from the pods into your mouth. Or you can shell them and add them to salads, soups and stir fries. The following recipe from Epic Gardens can be served hot or cold; as a side dish; or over rice as a main dish.

Edamame Medley INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh edamame, cooked and shelled* 2 cups fresh sweet corn, steamed briefly and cut off cob OR 2 cups frozen corn kernels 1 sweet red pepper, chopped into small pieces 3 tablespoons of good quality vinaigrettestyle salad dressing fresh parsley, chopped, saving a sprig or two for garnish DIRECTIONS Toss together all ingredients until coated. Taste and correct seasoning. Garnish with fresh herbs and edible flowers if available.

*To cook edamame, bring water to boil in a pot, with or without a steamer basket. Wash and sort fresh edamame pods, sprinkle lightly with salt and cook for 7 or so minutes, then plunge into cold water. Drain and shell the beans (The pods can be composted). You can use frozen edamame as well; just follow the package instructions. Watch for Virginia-grown edamame in your market late next summer.

The translation from Japanese for edamame is “beans on a branch.”

Good for You!

Green Edamame Salad with Asian-style Dressing INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 2 teaspoons soy sauce 1 garlic clove, minced 1" piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon) 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil 3 cup peanut oil 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 2 cups cooked, shelled edamame 2 scallions, chopped fine (about 2 tablespoons) DIRECTIONS In a small bowl, whisk together vinegars, soy sauce, garlic, ginger root and sesame oil. Add peanut oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified. Season dressing with salt and pepper. In a small, dry skillet, toast sesame seeds over moderate heat, stirring until fragrant and golden. Transfer to a small bowl. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, or in a steamer over boiling water, cook beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer beans to a colander, and rinse under cold water. Drain beans well. In a large bowl, combine beans, scallions, sesame seeds and dressing, and toss well. Let stand to blend flavors.

Source: Epic Gardens, adapted from Epicurious magazine

january 2013


Heart of the Home

Edamame makes a veggie burger unique While not your typical burger, this edamame and white bean burger is healthy, high in fiber, low in fat and tastes good. “It’s foolproof and features Virginia edamame. And it’s delicious,” said food writer Kendra Bailey Morris. Egg whites and steel-cut oats help hold the burgers together, but refrigerating them for at least 30 minutes ensures that the patties don’t fall apart when they are pan-fried.


1 cup frozen, shelled edamame 1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained, thoroughly rinsed and dried ¼ cup minced onion 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic ¾ cup steel-cut, quick-cooking oats ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano 2 egg whites 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, for pan-frying For serving: whole-grain hamburger buns, sliced tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese and tzatziki sauce

kathy dixon

Greek-Style Edamame and White Bean Burgers with Feta and Tzatziki Sauce DIRECTIONS Cook the edamame in boiling water for 1 minute, then drain well. In a food processor, pulse drained edamame and cannellini, onion, garlic, oats, salt, pepper, basil and oregano until blended but not pureed, stopping periodically to scrape down the canister sides. Then add the egg whites, and continue pulsing until well-blended. Wet your hands with water and form the mixture into individual patties, placing finished patties on a sheet pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. In a skillet, heat the olive oil mediumhigh, and cook burgers until they are wellbrowned on each side and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. Drain burgers on paper towels. To serve, lightly grill or toast the hamburger buns. Then layer on each bun: sliced red onions, burger, feta cheese, a dollop of tzatziki sauce and a tomato slice.

Kendra Bailey Morris appears each month on Real Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau’s monthly television program, courtesy of Virginia Grown, a program of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Morris is an author and culinary instructor whose work appears in Better Homes and Gardens, Food Republic, Virginia Living, Chile Pepper and other publications and is a former food columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Her blog is at 28

Virginia Farm Bureau News

TZATZIKI INGREDIENTS ½ a medium-sized cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely minced (about a ½ cup) 1 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt ¼ teaspoon freshly minced garlic 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice teaspoon cumin ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper, to taste DIRECTIONS Grate the cucumber and drain well, pressing out as much liquid as you can. Then mix it with remaining ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

To find the station nearest you that airs Real Virginia, or to view the show online, visit

Help people find your winter and spring farm products, with Farm Bureau Fresh If you are a Virginia farmer who direct-markets meats, eggs, greenhouse- or high tunnelgrown produce or wool or other fibers, there’s a Farm Bureau member benefit that can make it easier for potential customers to find you. Farm Bureau Fresh, based on the Virginia Farm Bureau website at marketplace, lets members place free, searchable listings of up to 45 words. Farm Bureau began promoting Farm Bureau Fresh in July to anyone with an interest in local foods and other farm products. Consumers can use Farm Bureau Fresh to search for products in any of 11 categories, or use a ZIP code to locate all producers in a specific area who sell to the public. In addition to addresses, phone numbers and farm websites, they’ll be able to

access a map and Google travel directions to your farm, stand or other venue. Products currently are being listed in the following categories:

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

agritourism; aquaculture; bees and honey; Christmas trees; CSAs; eggs; fiber; flowers; fruit; meat; mushrooms; pick-your-own; pumpkins; and vegetables.

FARM BUREAU FRESH Farm Bureau Fresh listings are available exclusively to Farm Bureau producer members in Virginia, and you can list your products in as many applicable categories as you like.

Farm-fresh produce, eggs and meats are among the products consumers can find with Farm Bureau Fresh.

January's Real Virginia shows how to find local foods

Watch this!

To view Real Virginia, visit

Winter is the time to sign up for next year’s growing season with a community-supported agriculture operation, and in the January episode of Real Virginia we’ll show how it’s easier than ever to find local foods. Plus, it’s been 24 years since the Virginia’s Finest program launched as a way to help Virginia farm products stand out from the crowd. We’ll also share a recipe for using edamame in a vegetarian burger, and tips on how to store your valuable garden plants over the winter. Real Virginia airs nationwide at 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month on RFD-TV, as well as on 41 cable systems and five broadcast stations in Virginia. It’s also available online at Check local cable listings, or visit for a list of participating stations. january 2013



2013 magazine classified ad schedule and policies Members of Virginia Farm Bureau will receive one free 15-word classified ad per membership per year in Virginia Farm Bureau News, which is mailed to producer members, or in Cultivate, which is mailed to associate 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 the January 2013 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 Cultivate (mailed to associate members only); • May Farm Bureau News (mailed to producer members only); • July Cultivate (mailed to associate members only); and • August Farm Bureau News (mailed to producer members only).

Watch this!member number Finding your

To view When placing your ad, be sure to include your Farm Bureau member number, which can be found above your name on the mailing label Real Virginia, visit of copy of Virginia Farm Bureau News. All member numbers will be verified.


Virginia Farm Bureau News


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.

Step 2 Indicate the issues in which you want your ad to run.


• 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.

Step 5 Mail your ad (and payment) to: Virginia Farm Bureau News / Cultivate Classifieds P.O. Box 27552 Richmond, VA 23261-7552

Step 3

Or place it via the Virginia Farm Bureau website at

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


Step 4 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 and cancellations must be received (not mailed) by the following deadlines: Issue Deadline Mailed to producer members May April 4 August June 28 Mailed to associate members April March 1 July May 31

We are not responsible for typographical errors or errors due to illegible handwriting (No refunds available). Classified ads carried in Virginia Farm Bureau News and Cultivate 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.: _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Category in which ad should run (select only one): ❑ Crops

COUNTY: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

❑ Farm Equipment

ADDRESS: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

❑ Hay/Straw

CITY: ______________________________________________________ STATE: ________________________________ ZIP: ___________________

❑ Livestock

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

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

❑ 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: ❑ April (mailed to associate members) ❑ May (mailed to producer members)

❑ July (mailed to associate members) ❑ August (mailed to producer members)

❑ Payment enclosed: $_______________ ❑ This is my one free 15-word ad for 2013

* Ad placement available for these issues only

january 2013


Thanks for coming out! VIRGINIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION is proud to have helped present the 2012 State Fair of Virginia and to help preserve this important tradition. We thank the Virginia farm families and farm, forestry and horticultural organizations that stepped up to ensure that agriculture remained a focus of the fair. We also want to thank everyone who visited the State Fair this year. We look forward to next year’s fair being even more exciting, and to welcoming you back for years to come!


January 2013 FBN