Northern Piedmont Beginning Farmer Program Classes

There is an orientation session on February 1st to lay out the goals of the program and introduce you to the partners involved. The classes start on February 8th.

Also, this year we are very pleased to announce that there are scholarships available to anyone who might find the class fees a burden. These scholarships are made possible through the generosity of one of our former students. For more information please contact Jim Hankins,

Beginning Farmer Workshop Series

Lousia County Extension Office – January 26, February 15, March 16, and May TBA

A Beginning Farmer Workshop Series that will be held in and around Louisa County meeting monthly beginning in January. The cost is $10 per person per workshop.  You must register at least one week before each workshop (for workshops with less than 10 participants one week out we reserve the right to cancel.) PS- You don’t have to be a “beginning farmer” to register- many of these workshops are very applicable to anyone who farms! Please contact Sarah Sharpe, to register.

-Farm Financials Part 1- January 26, 6 pm – 8:30 pm at the Louisa County Extension Office (The two part series will cover managing financial risk, farm budgeting, financial statements, and more)
-Farm Financials Part 2- February 15, 6 pm – 8:30 pm at the Louisa County Extension Office
-An Overview of NRCS, FSA, and Soil and Water Incentive Programs- March 16, 6 pm – 8 pm at the Louisa County Extension Office
-High Tunnel Production and Farm Walk- April 25, 5 pm­7pm, Hill Farm, Louisa County (address will be given to those who register)
-Goat Production- May (Date and Time TBA)
-What can I do with my forested lands?- August (Date and Time TBA)

Cover Crop Management for the Southeast – Webinar

USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service – February 14, 2:00 pm Eastern time – 60 minutes
Soils across the Southeast are typically degraded with low organic matter contents and susceptible to erosion. High temperatures and high rainfall amounts contribute to this degradation, which is exacerbated with conventional tillage. High residue cover crops combined with conservation tillage can offset these negative effects and subsequently increase productivity and improve soil health. However, growers adopting these systems are not accustomed to the management required to maximize the benefits. This webinar will describe aspects that growers should consider to manage a cover crop for maximum biomass production and relate the associated soil and crop benefits to cover crop management.

Presented by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – Science and Technology, National Technology Support Centers

Kip Balkcom, Ph.D., Research Agronomist and Lead Scientist, Conservation Systems Research Unit, National Soil Dynamics Laboratory, USDA Agricultural Research Service.
Join, CEUs, Learn More

Northern Piedmont Small Farms Conference

There will be a Northern Piedmont Small Farms Conference in Greene on February 18, 2017.

Come join us in Greene County for the Northern Piedmont Small Farms Conference on February 18!  There will be a variety of speakers and sessions covering everything from soil health, goat and cattle production, hops, marketing your business, niche crop production, equipment needs for small farms, and more!  Please submit your registration form and $25 per person registration fee no later than February 10.

We will have multiple sessions throughout the day on topics such as soil health, marketing opportunities, livestock and vegetable production, equipment needs for small farmers, hops, and more.

Registration is due no later than February 10.  More information on that program as well as registration information can also be found here:

Bionutrient Food Production 2-day Workshop

Richmond, VA February 18th and 19th

The local Virginia Chapter of the Bionutrient Food Association will be hosting Dan Kittredge for a Bionutrient Food Production 2-day Workshop! It will be taking place in Richmond February 18th and 19th at a cool place called Create Space. Dan Kittredge will be dropping knowledge to the max, so don’t miss it if you haven’t attended one of these workshops yet!

This two-day workshop is designed to teach the basic principles & practices of biological farming for higher quality crops — for better taste, pest & disease resilience, and shelf life, plus higher levels of nutrients beneficial to human health.

You will learn:

✓ Interpreting soil tests

✓ Mineral balancing and amendments

✓ Strategies for soil health improvement

✓ Biological seed inoculation

✓ Conductivity, refractometers and brix

✓ In-season crop monitoring and feeding with nutrient drenches & foliar sprays

Check out more details and register online here:

Winter Workshop Series at Vintage Virginia Apples

Pruning Workshop with Tom Burford
Saturday, 2/18/17, 9-12

Careful pruning ensures a more bountiful harvest. Find out how much to prune, where to make the pruning cuts, and when it should be done.  This class is structured to take orchardists from the planting of the nursery tree, through the early years of training and pruning, into lifetime maintenance, rejuvenation, and even bringing old or feral trees back into production.  We’ll go over basic pruning cuts and strategies, do’s and don’ts, and tool selection and maintenance, all peppered with anecdotes from lifetime practitioners.  Weather allowing, there will be a foray into the orchard for live demos.  Tom Burford and the Vintage Virginia Apples staff instruct.

Planning & Planting the Home Orchard, with Rich Marini
Saturday, 2/25/17, 9-4

Join Rich Marini, Penn State University pomologist, and the team at Vintage Virginia Apples and Albemarle CiderWorks for a day-long course on planning and planting your own orchard.  Topics to be discussed include site selection and preparation, varietal and rootstock selection, the physical planting of the trees including notes on high density planting, and care over the life of the tree.

Grafting Workshop with Tom Burford
Saturday, 3/4/17

Since apples do not reproduce true from seed, propagation depends on grafting the desired variety onto a reliable rootstock.   Expert hands-on instruction by Tom Burford and the Vintage Virginia Apples staff will introduce you to the fine art of grafting.  Each participant will graft two trees from a choice of scionwood from the Vintage Virginia Apples collection to take home with them.  A copy of The Fruit Grafter’s Handbook is included in the price of the workshop. Extra rootstock will be available for sale after this workshop.

Sign up at

Farm Management Institute – Join us for the 2017 Farm Management Institutes

This year’s content and lecture will be relevant to those who are lifelong learners, including young farmers,
potential young farmers, parents, FFA students and those continuing or expanding their farming operations.
Dr. Dave Kohl and Dr. Alex White will provide insight, materials and techniques to enhance your growth and success in agriculture.
Matt Lohr, Knowledge Center Director, will join Dr. Kohl and Dr. White to provide participants with tools and methods to become an advocate for agriculture.

Dates and Locations
Tuesday, February 28th, 2017
Stoneridge Event Center
7373 Comfort Inn Drive, Warrenton, VA
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Reserve your seat by February 13th!

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017
Holiday Inn Tanglewood-Roanoke
4468 Starkey Boulevard, Roanoke, VA
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Reserve your seat by February 20th!

Monday, April 3rd, 2017
Jacksons Mill
160 WVU Jacksons Mill, Weston, WV
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Reserve your seat by March 20th!

• Learn the latest market news and trends from both a global and domestic economic outlook
• Gain insight on effective succession planning for the next generation
• Become an advocate for agriculture and learn how to effectively share your story

For more information about the Farm Management Institute or to reserve your seat, please call
540-434-5385 ext. 5616

There is NO cost to attend!

Virginia State University Small Farm Outreach Program Events

February- June, 2017 – see list of events below, click on links to the one you are interested in

Farm Income Tax Planning and Preparation

February 7 • VSU Randolph Farm Pavilion, Petersburg

February 16 • Wedgewood Golf Center, Halifax

February 23 • Public Works Bulding, Orange

March 2 • Rappahannock Community College, Warsaw

USDA NRCS County Strikeforce Workshop Seriesinformation on NRCS programs and conservation practices

February 15 • Brunswick County

March 20 • Surry County

April 11 • Halifax County

May 17 • Greensville County

June 21 • Charlotte County

Agribusiness Production and Financial Management Course

February 16-17 • Emporia Extension Office

March 9-10 • Keysville Community College

March 23-24 • Fauquier Extension Office

April 20-21 • Eastern Shore Community College

Small Ruminant Management

February 14 • Callao Volunteer Fire Department

Beginning Farmer Whole Farm Planning

February 7 • Southside Community College, Alberta

February 21 • Paul D. Camp Community College

USDA Programs Information Session

February 22 • Paul D. Camp Community College

Cover Crops Demonstration

February 23 • Franklin Center, Rocky Mount