Virginia Tech to co-host Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade on March 7-8

BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 11, 2016 – The Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics will co-host the 8th annual Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Tradeon March 7-8 at the Hilton Richmond Downtown Hotel.

The two-day conference, entitled “The New Virginia Economy: Expanding Agricultural Opportunities Worldwide,” is also hosted by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, and the Virginia Port Authority.

The event will bring together producers, agribusinesses, entrepreneurs, exporters, foreign ambassadors, embassy ministers, land-grant university leadership, state and federal government officials, and others to discuss challenges and opportunities for global exports. Moderated panel discussions and private meetings regarding the international trade of agricultural goods will be held as well.

“This year’s conference will focus on our ongoing efforts helping existing businesses expand, attracting new businesses to the commonwealth, and assisting businesses as they promote and sell more of their outstanding products in the global marketplace.” McAuliffe said

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Sustainable farmer, advocate receive conservation award from Virginia Cooperative Extension

Mark Schonbeck (left) and C.J. Isbell (right) were recognized by Virginia Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service for their commitment to sustainability and soil health.

Mark Schonbeck (left) and C.J. Isbell (right) were recognized by Virginia Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service for their commitment to sustainability and soil health.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 8, 2016 – Virginia Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service recently presented Mark Schonbeck and C.J. Isbell with the Soil Health and Water Quality Award for their contributions to conservation in the state of Virginia.

The award was created in partnership between Extension, USDA-NRCS, and the Virginia Soil Health Coalition, and is sponsored by Houff Feed and Fertilizer. The award commemorates former Houff salesman, Carl G. Luebben, who was known for his prolific soil health research, papers, and mentorship of conservation professionals.

Schonbeck and Isbell received their plaques from Duane McAllister of Houff Feed and Fertilizer and Dan Luebben, son of the award’s namesake, at the Virginia Farm-to-Table Conference in Weyers Cave, Virginia.

The senior Luebben, who passed away in October of last year, previously served on the Virginia Farm Bureau Board, the Shenandoah Resource Conservation and Development Council, and the Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District.

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4-H Day at the State Capitol provides a real-life civics lesson for members

4-H'ers stand on the steps of the Virginia State Capitol

Several hundred 4-H’ers travel to Richmond to participate in the 4-H Day at the State Capitol each year.

More than 1,000 4-H members and volunteers will visit Richmond on Tuesday, Feb. 16, to meet their legislators and learn about Virginia’s legislative branch of government for the annual 4-H Day at the State Capitol.

Virginia 4-H sponsors the annual trip to Richmond for 4-H’ers across the commonwealth to learn about the legislative process and to express their gratitude to state delegates and senators who support the 4-H youth development programs.

“4-H Day at the State Capitol is a unique opportunity for 4-H’ers to get a first-hand look at how the legislative process works and see our elected representatives in action,” said Cathy Sutphin, associate director of 4-H Youth Development with Virginia Cooperative Extension. “This trip is also an opportunity for lawmakers to put faces to the programming that the funding provides for youth all over the commonwealth.”

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Virginia Cooperative Extension co-hosts the 2016 South Atlantic Hops Conference

Beer brewers, hop growers, and everybody in between is invited to attend the 2016 South Atlantic Hops Conference to be held March 4-5 in Richmond, Virginia, at the Clarion Hotel Richmond Central.

hop yard

Hops are gaining popularity as a niche market crop that could be cultivated to support the burgeoning craft beer industry in the commonwealth.

This year’s expanded conference is a collaboration of faculty from Virginia Tech, North Carolina State University, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia State University, and grower members of Old Dominion Hops Cooperative.

The event is a prime opportunity for beginner and experienced hop growers alike to learn and network. Associated industry stakeholders are also encouraged to attend. Registration and tickets for the event can be found on the conference’s website.

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Helping communities become more sustainable and economically secure

Ten years ago, an endowment was created to help communities across the commonwealth and beyond be more sustainable and resilient through partnerships with Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and local community members.

Since its inception in 2004, the endowment, which has grown to more than $2 million, has provided income to fund numerous projects that foster partnerships and spur creative research at the granular level. It has also provided seed money for an array of projects with wide-ranging impacts.

“A gift like this can get lots of different projects started,” said Rick Rudd, head of the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Professor of Excellence in Community Viability, a position funded by the endowment. “We are helping people leverage resources.”