Agriculture

Capital briefs

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Governor vetoes redistricting bills Gov. Terry McAuliffe last week vetoed six redistricting bills, saying they would weaken citizens’ trust in government. Speaking on 1140AM WRVA, McAuliffe questioned the constitutionality of the bills, which sought to adjust the lines for about 20 legislative districts in seven counties. The six vetoed bills are: SB 1237, affecting...
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Late cold brings livestock losses

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March 12
Jim Manwaring of Red Oak Ranch checks his herd three times per day, making sure each new calf can stand and nurse and is bonded with its mother.

Recent record-breaking cold in the region made life harder for local farm animals and the men and women who raise them, even spelling disaster for the most vulnerable — newborn calves and lambs and aged animals already weakened by high winds and snow that just wouldn’t go away.
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Sperryville column for March 5

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March 5
Belle Meade School students at work in the farm’s vegetable patch last summer.

Belle Meade celebrates In the upcoming weeks, there’s much ado at Belle Meade School. Painted in hues of bright blue and yellow, the school and main house (and B&B) and cottages are a familiar landmark for drivers along beautiful F.T. Valley Road. The property also encompasses a thriving farm, a place where cattle and...
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Rural America: It’s complicated

By Brian Depew There are two closely held, widely believed narratives about rural America. The national media narrative, with roots in the 1980s farm crisis, is fatalistic. Rural places are dying. It lives on at the Brookings Institute and the New York Times, fueled by demographics that show decades of population decline across much...
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Magic white-carpet ride

By Molly M. Peterson

Restored habitat brings fields of dreams to Sperryville

Fletcher cut back his cattle operation, then converted this section of marginal pastureland to quail habitat. The wooded riparian buffer strip provides woody escape cover between this field and the field border and crop ground on the other side. This is how you arrange quail cover.

It is a fact that the underlying cause of the plight of the bobwhite is habitat loss and habitat fragmentation. A recent Sperryville example proves the “if you build it, they will come” philosophy can work to help recover this once-familiar Prince of Gamebirds to sustainable population levels.
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Above and below

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Jan. 29
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Evening view

Photo by Molly M. Peterson

Copper Fox Distillery expands to Williamsburg

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announces the Williamsburg distillery project; Copper Fox's Rick Wasmund is at left.

Rick Wasmund’s Copper Fox Distillery, opened in 2004 in Sperryville’s River District, will build its second malting, production, aging and tasting facility in the city of Williamsburg, Va.
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Rest period

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Table it

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Jan. 1
By Ben Franske via Wikimedia Commons

With holidays bringing people with disparate views together for meals, columnist Liza Field sees food as the great connector — person to person, people to planet.
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Coverage expanded for fruit, vegetable and specialty crop growers

Greater protection is now available from the USDA’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for specialty crops.
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Gift-Rapp’d for Christmas  

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Clean water awards to Lessards, Willises

Bay Friendly Farm Award recipients Rick and Dorothy Lessard are flanked by CSWCD board chair Lynn Graves (left) and Rappahannock directors Evelyn Kerr and Monira Rifaat (right).

Rappahannock farm owners Rick and Dorothy Lessard and Stephen and Annette Willis received awards for conservation stewardship at the annual Clean Water Farm Awards dinner in Culpeper Nov. 6.
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Telling stories of her ancestors’ stand against Civil War savagery  

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Nov. 20, 2014
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Kirsten Eve Beachy tells the stories of Brethren and Mennonite women in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War.
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Jed’s Eye View: Carrots and lettuce and beef, oh my!

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Nov. 20, 2014

Rappahannock public school students enjoy locally produced food during Local Food Week at RCPS cafeterias.
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Orchard outlook

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Nov. 13, 2014
By Cathie Shiff

Hurt: Private sector jobs are Job No. 1

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Oct. 23, 2014
Rep. Robert Hurt (R-5th)

Jobs: That’s the No. 1 issue Republican Rep. Robert Hurt says he is hearing about from constituents across Virginia’s vast North Carolina-to-Northern Virginia 5th District. A Q&A with the congressman who is campaigning for a third term.
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When a farm turns factory, what’s a town to do?

A Pennsylvania law designed to protect farms from nuisance complaints has also allowed concentrated animal feeding operations — factory farms — to escape local land use controls, writes Tim Rowland.
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VDOF seedling sales online Oct. 14

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Sept. 25, 2014

Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) officials report that demand for loblolly pine seedlings is very high this season, and the agency anticipates selling out early.
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New online tool brings farmers and chefs closer

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Sept. 11, 2014

In an effort to strengthen the agricultural economy and get more local food into area restaurants, the Piedmont Environmental Council has created and launched Farmer-Chef Express, an interactive website that connects local food buyers and sellers.
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Photos: Table-to-farm talk

Piedmont Environmental Council

Letter: Farm Tour needs your help

A new Rappahannock County Farm Tour & Festival committee has reduced the cost of the Sept. 27-28 event by more than half, while expanding venues to more than 30. Fiscally, we run a tight ship, but we need money to attract more visitors, to spend their money at local restaurants, shops and lodging establishments,...
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Photos: Farm show success

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Photo: Cooperative cleanup

Photo by E. Raymond Boc

Please keep off this grass

Spread the word: Kentucky 31 tall fescue, one of the dominant pasture grasses in the U.S. is an invasive, fungus-infected grass that does more harm than good, writes Robert Whitescarver.
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Study: Government fails to report three-quarters of farm injuries

Farm work has always been one of the most dangerous jobs in America — as the government has reported, academics have researched and those doing the work well know. But new research suggests for the first time that it’s a much more dramatic problem than the federal government recognizes.
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Letter: Planting the 2014 Farm Tour seeds

By
May 8, 2014
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Now that the snow has melted, the lambs and calves are on the ground, orchards are blooming and grape vines are budding — meaning it’s time to begin planning the 2014 Rappahannock County Farm Tour & Festival. Scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 27-28, all county farms, orchards, wineries, country stores and related businesses...
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Taking the scenic root 

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April 3, 2014
Joneve Murphy is leaving her job at the Inn to travel abroad for a year volunteering on various farms.

In just a few months, soon-to-be former Inn at Little Washington farmer Joneve Murphy will be leaving Rappahannock County — as well as her job at the Inn at Little Washington — to travel around the world, volunteering on farms across Europe, Asia and South America.
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Letter: Get your farmer and farm bill facts straight

Regarding Walter Nicklin’s editorial (“Of farms and fiscal policy,” Jan. 30) and his rather confusing and misguided criticism of both Congressman Robert Hurt and the recent Farm Bill: He discussed the “lavish subsidies” contained in the bill, ignoring the fact that the bill eliminates direct payments made to agricultural producers and consolidates a number...
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When to conserve your Rappahannock land: now

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If you own more than 100 acres in Rappahannock County and don’t plan to develop, now is the time for a conservation easement. The financial benefits of land conservation will never be better.
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Photos: It’s a (frozen) jungle out there

Photo by Shawn Walters

Census provides snapshot of agriculture in U.S. and Virginia

Virginia’s farms saw a dramatic increase in both the market value of production and the average value of products sold per farm, according to the preliminary results of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2012 Census of Agriculture.
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Cattle inventory down 5 percent in Virginia

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recently announced that cattle and calves inventory totaled 1.53 million head on Jan. 1 — down 5 percent from last year’s inventory of 1.61 million.
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The visible benefits of farm and forest

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Jan. 30, 2014
Molly M. Peterson, Photographer

Rappahannock County’s implementation of land-use taxation — the now-entrenched but often misunderstood process Virginia legislators came up with in the early ’70s for preserving agricultural land, forests and open space throughout the state — has had its consequences.
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Rappahannock landowners protect 825+ acres in 2013

Rappahannock farmer Chris Parrish placed another 100 acres of his Thornton River Farm into easement in 2013.

Last year was another successful one for conservation in Rappahannock, as four properties totaling 826 acres were protected by conservation easements in 2013. More than 31,250 acres are now in easement in Rappahannock.
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Editorial: Of farms and fiscal policy

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Jan. 30, 2014
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We’re so busy focusing on the amount of taxes that We the People have to pay that we often forget their purpose is more than simply to generate government revenue. Taxes also influence people’s behavior, and, in Rappahannock’s case, encourage farming. If only it were that easy in Big Washington!
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Tree seedlings selling fast; order yours before they’re gone

Every year, the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) grows and sells more than 24 million tree seedlings — and many of the more than 40 species sell out before the harvest season ends on April 30.
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Rapp granted $11K more for farmland preservation

Rappahannock County was among the eight jurisdictions statewide that Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced this week would receive fiscal-year 2014 farmland preservation grants.
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Gone/green

By
Jan. 16, 2014

Europe is converting coal-burning power plants to burn wood pellets, leading to the cutting of U.S. east coast hardwood forests, an unintended consequence of what was supposed to be a good green idea.
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