From the category archives:

Farm Economics

A new list from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation has identified 87 non-native invasive plant species in Virginia www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/documents/nh-invasive-plant-list-2014.pdf.   These invasive plants affect everyone, from the government, to the farmer, to the homeowner.  The United States has seen a $34 billion yearly economic loss due to these invasive plants.   They have a negative effect on natural areas, parks, forest land, farms, yards, as well as wildlife habitat and our ecosystem.  

According to an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch, the DCR, “… used a risk-assessment protocol to determine an invasiveness rank for each species listed. If they are discovered in Virginia, the goal for these species is eradication to prevent their establishment and spread. People who spot these in Virginia should notify DCR.” 

The plants on this list can be aggressive in your yard or nearby natural areas, and unfortunately, can actually replace plants that are native to Virginia.  These invasive plants tend to grow quickly, copiously produce seed, germinate and colonize, and are difficult and costly to remove and/or control.  Kudzu is an invasive plant that has taken over many natural areas of land in Virginia.

Whether you’re a farmer, landscaper, or homeowner, this list will help you identify the list of non-native invasive plants to keep away from your land.

For more information, please visit:

Virginia Invasive Species Working Group: www.vainvasivespecies.org

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation – Natural Heritage Program: www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/invspinfo.shtml

National Invasive Species Awareness Week:  www.nisaw.org

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You might be surprised to learn that farms are spending more on fertilizer and pesticides than fuel.  The USDA Economic Research Service and the Agricultural Resource Management Survey found that the highest energy expenses come from indirect energy sources such as fertilizers and pesticides.  The agricultural farm’s share of indirect expenses is about 17.1%.  Whereas, direct energy’s share of expenses, such as fuel and electricity, is about 8.5%. This data is throughout all farm sizes in U.S. farm businesses.

When looking at all farm sizes, the survey found that small farm businesses highest production expense comes from about 12% of direct energy expenditure.   Medium-sized farm businesses highest energy expense is around 22% of indirect energy expenditure.  The large farm businesses have a higher labor expense which thereby reduces the total energy based expenses. 

The chart below is found in the September 2014 Amber Waves data feature, “Agricultural Energy Use and the Proposed Clean Power Plan.”

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Women Farmers

by Gayle October 9, 2014

In 1978 , five percent of the U.S. Farms were operated solely by women. Today that number is 13.7%  according to the USDA. These numbers do not include husband and wife combined management teams.  What are these women farming?  Below is a chart from the USDA 2012 Farm Census that shows the breakdown.  

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Pastures Streams and Trees Advice

by Staff September 29, 2014

The Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services (VDACS) sponsors a lot of interesting workshops and seminars.  Some workshops  aim for an audience of new or potential farmers while other target the existing experienced farmers in the state.  On 11-8-14 they have a seminar scheduled that should attract farmers in all stages of farm experience. [...]

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What’s That Steak Worth

by Staff September 16, 2014

It’s a pinch, for sure.  We shouldn’t need to consider a second mortgage in order to buy a beef roast.  But the prices just keep climbing.  According to the U.S. Dep’t of Agriculture, we are all experiencing high prices of beef and other meats at the supermarket.  And it’s a direct result of the ongoing [...]

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Virginia Farmland Values

by Staff September 15, 2014

According to the National Agriculture Statistics Service, statewide Virginia’s agricultural farmland increased slightly in price over the past year.  They report that there has been a 0..2% increase in cropland values per acre from 2013 to 2014.   That translates to $10 per acre to now  $4460/acre.  That is slightly higher than the value of pastureland which remains at $3930/acre.   [...]

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