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Virginia 4-H judging team earns second consecutive Eastern National 4-H Roundup Championship

Virginia 4-H horse judging

The Eastern National 2018 team, pictured left to right: Taryn Cowles, Ruth Martin, Laurel Pollock, Sydney Hudson, Charlotte Manvell, Emily Wright, Katie Define, Emily Dougherty, Nikki Novak, Claire Edwards, Caroline Perkins, Sarah Foster, and Kate Hudson. Not pictured, Meghan Peterson.

For the second year in a row, the Virginia 4-H horse judging team won the 2018 Eastern National 4-H Roundup Championship. The hippology team earned the reserve championship.

The Eastern Nationals competition was held Nov. 2-4, 2018, in Louisville, Kentucky, at the state’s exposition center during the North American International Livestock Exposition.

“It was just as exciting to win again this year,” said Leona Ransdell, 4-H horse program and youth equine Extension program associate with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Animal and Poultry Science. “We had an extremely talented group going in, and I knew they had the ability to do it. I’m proud of how they represented their state at this prestigious event. Of the five judging contests we participated in, our team members won champion or reserve champion in three events – an impressive feat!”

Congratulations to the following Virginia 4-H team members for their placements:

Horse judging
Team: Caroline Perkins, Katie Define, Nikki Novak, Emily Dougherty

Nikki Novak – 1st Individual
Emily Dougherty – 6th Individual
Virginia – 1st Team

Emily Dougherty – 3rd Individual
Nikki – 4th Individual
Katie Define – 6th Individual
Caroline Perkins – 9th Individual
Virginia – 1st Team

Nikki Novak   – 1st Individual
Caroline Perkins – 3rd Individual
Emily Dougherty – 7th Individual
Katie Define – 9th Individual
Virginia – 1st Team

Nikki Novak – 1st Individual
Emily Dougherty – 2nd Individual
Katie Define – 5th Individual
Virginia – 1st Team Overall

Team: Charlotte Manvell, Emily Wright, Ruth Martin, Laurel Pollock

Written phase
Charlotte Manvell – 2nd Individual
Virginia – 2nd Team

Judging phase
Ruth Martin – 5th Individual
Virginia – 4th Team

Charlotte Manvell – 3rd Individual
Virginia – 2nd Team

Team problem
Virginia – 1st Team

Individual overall
Charlotte Manvell – 2nd Overall

Team overall
Virginia – 2nd Overall

Individual presentation
Sydney Hudson – 4th

The Virginia 4-H horse bowl team, consisting of Claire Edwards, Kate Hudson, Meghan Peterson, Sarah Foster, and public speaking competitor Taryn Cowles, also deserves congratulations for its selection to compete in the national competition, which included teams from 26 states. In addition, Charlotte Manvell (Orange County) spoke as the guest youth to approximately 750 attendees during a breakfast ceremony. Full results and photos are available at

“All of our teams worked very hard with weekly studies and practices leading up to these contests,” said Sandy Arnold, 4-H program and youth equine Extension associate with the college’s Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences. “They went in very prepared, and I am proud to see that their hard work paid off with these great wins!”

Last fall, the horse judging and hippology teams competed at the All American Quarter Horse Congress hippology contest in Columbus, Ohio. Of 17 teams competing from all over the nation (combining breed associations, FFA teams, and other 4-H teams), the Virginia hippology team earned third place overall, and the horse judging team won fifth overall.

Over the summer, the state 4-H educational teams had great success at the Southern Regional competition. The hippology teams placed third and sixth overall, competing against 16 teams, and the horse bowl team placed eighth overall out of 18 teams. The two horse judging teams won second and fourth place overall against 16 teams. The communications contestants earned two first places, a second, a fifth, and a 10th.

The 4-H horse program depends on the financial support of donors. Donations may be made at the Virginia Tech Foundation giving page: Please designate donations to the VA 4-H horse program.


Online course for Virginia forest landowners begins May 15

people standing in woods

Course participants may attend an optional field trip. Retired forester Charlie Huppuch (left) explains concepts of active forest management to participants.

Virginia forest landowners looking to gain an understanding of how to keep their woods healthy and productive can do so in the comfort of their own home.

Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment are offering an online course to help private landowners become better stewards of their land.

The 12-week Online Woodland Options for Landowners course, which runs from May 15 to Aug. 4, teaches basic management principles and techniques for both novice and veteran private forest landowners. Materials provided include four reference books and access to an online a tree identification tutorial.

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Virginia Tech Beef Cattle Health Conference set for Jan. 28

Last year’s Beef Cattle Health Conference set an attendance record with more than 300 cattle producers and students participating in lectures and demonstrations.

Last year’s Beef Cattle Health Conference set an attendance record with more than 300 cattle producers and students participating in lectures and demonstrations.

The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and Farm Credit are hosting the Virginia Tech Beef Cattle Health Conference on Jan. 28 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Designed to give beef cattle producers an opportunity to learn strategies to improve the health of their herds, the conference will take place in the auditorium at Virginia Tech’s Litton-Reaves Hall, located at 175 West Campus Drive.

The conference will open with presentations from three faculty members in the veterinary college’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences.

John Currin, clinical associate professor of production management medicine, will speak about the Veterinary Feed Directive, a new Food and Drug Administration approval process for the use of antibiotics in animal feed. Sierra Guynn, clinical assistant professor, will give presentations on pinkeye and fly control.

Following a morning break, the conference will feature special guest Andrew Griffith, assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of Tennessee, who will discuss the economic outlook for the beef cattle industry. Morgan Paulette, an agriculture and natural resources Extension agent for Pulaski County, will then give an update on the New River Valley’s Virginia Quality Assured program.

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Brandon Monk named Virginia FFA executive director

Brandon Monk

Brandon H. Monk

Brandon H. Monk has been named executive director of Virginia FFA.

The high school agricultural educator, who hails from Frederick County, Virginia, enters his new role as executive director with experience in Virginia FFA program development and working with the National FFA organization as a conference facilitator.

“FFA is primed for growth in Virginia,” Monk said. “Now, more than ever, our industry leaders, government officials, and secondary education administrators are looking for hands-on opportunities to engage students in practical skills that translate into career success. FFA and agricultural education programs have been providing that platform for years. I am looking forward to doing our part as an association to share the story of youth in agriculture as we grow leaders.”

The National FFA Organization is committed to the individual student and provides a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.

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2016 Virginia Farm to Table Conference to be held Dec. 6-8 in Weyers Cave

The 2016 Virginia Farm to Table Conference — a three-day event focused on local and regional food and agriculture, practical applications for soil health and farm profitability, and other food system topics — will be held from Dec. 6-8.

The fifth annual conference will be held at Blue Ridge Community College’s Plecker Workforce Development Center in Weyers Cave, Virginia. The event brings together community partners and engaging speakers who have broad experience and knowledge of food, farming, and the environment to talk about the farm-to-table movement and how you can get involved.

“The Virginia Farm to Table Conference continues to have something for everyone attracted to issues surrounding food, farms, health, and communities,” said Kathy Holm, USDA-NRCS assistant state conservationist for field operations. “We will have thought-provoking speakers, stimulating panel discussions, networking opportunities, and wonderful locally sourced food available.”

Early-bird registration pricing is available until Nov. 30, and rates will increase significantly after that.

More details and registration are available at the conference website.

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