Eugene Bowman’s family has owned a dairy farm in Franklin County, Virginia, for four generations, and Bowman wants to make sure that when he hands it over to his sons, the land is healthy for generations to come.
“It needs to be as good or better than when I got it,” he said.
So when his local Virginia Cooperative Extension agent told him about a research project Virginia Tech is undertaking to mitigate fertilizer runoff, Bowman jumped at the chance.
He is now working with Jactone Ogejo, an associate professor of biological systems engineering on a project to create the most fashionable thing to hit farms since Carhartts — designer manure.
Communities in the Northern Neck knew they had a problem. Young people were leaving because of a lack of jobs, the current workforce needed additional education, and there were few opportunities for those who wanted to stay in the area.
Furniture-maker Andrew Pitts is a member of the Northern Neck Artisan Trail.
Four years ago these communities took steps to improve the situation by participating in the Stronger Economies Together program, which has allowed them to build a blueprint for regional economic success.
Today, the Northern Neck is putting its plan into action by engaging partners and leveraging the strengths of this diverse region. Communities have come together to form the Northern Neck Artisan Trail, which highlights the creative talents, foods, and agricultural products of the region, and to participate in the emerging Virginia Oyster Trail. The new trail offers visitors a way to enjoy Virginia’s seven different oyster regions, as well as to experience the unique culture of watermen in the Chesapeake Bay.
The region has received grant support from the USDA and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to create the Northern Neck Loan Fund to help emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses gain access to capital. The USDA recognized the Northern Neck Economic Development Plan for its commitment to strengthening the area’s economies and identified it as a model plan for the program.
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BLACKSBURG, Va., May 1, 2015 – More than 150 major rivers and streams flow into the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia’s most well-known estuary. This historically significant body of water has also provided livelihoods for fishermen, recreation for locals and visitors that flock to the region, and of course has been a vital water source for residents for hundreds of years.
The environmental woes of recent decades, however, have made the bay more memorable for the major challenges that have been foisted upon its delicate ecosystem.
Virginia Tech researchers in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have been working on several fronts to develop novel strategies to preserve the Chesapeake Bay while also implementing ways to balance population growth with sustainable uses of the bay, including as a water, food, and recreation resource.
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