IN THE BOOKS
The 60th Anniversary of the Trinity Church Hunt Country Stable Tour is in the books. More than $55,000 was raised for the Upperville church’s Outreach Programs.
Photo © by Vicky Moon
Visitors at Chilly Bleak Farm saw the foals and yearlings and the little visitors gravitated to the three resident Lurcher hounds. Photo © Vicky Moon
Photo © by Vicky Moon
As trainer Snowden Clarke led a jumping demonstration at Orange Hill Farm during the Stable Tour, they gathered along the fence to hang on his every word.
AG HOT SPOT
Virginia farmers earned $4 billion from the sale of all agriculture products in 2017, and half of that income was generated in the state’s top 10 ag counties, according to recently released findings from the 2017 Census of Agriculture.
“If California has Silicon Valley for tech companies, Virginia has the Shenandoah Valley for agriculture,” said Tony Banks, commodity marketing specialist for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. Poultry is Virginia’s top farm commodity, generating $1.35 billion in 2017. “The poultry industry has been concentrated in the Shenandoah Valley for decades,” Banks said.
The top five farm commodities were poultry and eggs, with $1.35 billion in sales; cattle and calves, $679 million; grains and oilseeds, $509 million; milk, $335 million; and nursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod, $328 million.
Rounding out the top 10 Virginia farm commodities were other crops and hay, valued at $155 million; vegetables, melons, potatoes and sweet potatoes, $111.3 million; tobacco, $107.6 million; hogs and pigs, $96 million; and aquaculture, $90 million.
There were 13 volunteers at the Fauquier Education Farm on Meetz Road in Warrenton over Memorial Day to help feed those in need. They planted 2 1/2 long rows of sweet potatoes, about 1,200 plants, in just under two hours.
The delicate scent of honeysuckle in the air is a pleasing sign of summer’s approach. However, this perennial flowering vine also packs a powerful punch when it comes to knocking out the larvae of mosquitoes, including Aedes aegypti, the species that spreads yellow fever.
In laboratory studies by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists, essential oils in Italian honeysuckle killed 100 percent of the larvae, which hatch from eggs deposited in sources of water by adult female mosquitoes after they’ve taken a blood meal—such as from you.
Among serious medical problems mosquitoes can spread are yellow fever, Zika, dengue fever, and malaria—the last of which is linked to 219 million reported cases and 435,000 deaths worldwide in 2017. Adding to that threat is the potential for some mosquito populations to develop resistance to the insecticides used against them.
The number of dairy farms in Virginia continues to rapidly decline. But some remaining farmers are finding ways to either lower costs or increase their dairy cows’ production.
In the summer of 2017, there were about 650 Grade-A dairy farms in the state. Now there are fewer than 500. Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, noted that while the number of dairies fluctuates, “the trend is a net loss.” Despite the downturn, there are Virginia dairy operators who are expanding their herds’ size or working to increase efficiencies on their farms.