From the category archives:

Virginia Crops

Bats!

by Staff on November 3, 2014

When you think of bats, images come to mind of a crazy animal that attacks you at night. The truth is, bats are a forgotten animal that helps everyone, especially farmers. They come out at night, working while we sleep. They eat a tremendous amount of bugs, ranging from mosquitoes, to moths and beetles. They can consume 100- 600 bugs per hour! They also help pollinate flowers and spread seeds that allow new plants to grow. Bats are very important to farmers. They help protect crops from these bugs that could destroy a farmer’s crop. And since bats are eating these pesky bugs, it saves chemicals that farmers would have to use to protect their crops.
Sadly, bats are on the decline due to a new disease, the White Nose Syndrome. It’s responsible for killing over 6 million bats in just 6 years alone.
Wondering how to attract bats to your farm or land? There are several different things you can do.
No-Till Soil1. Keep your farm natural, allowing wetlands and ponds to stay. They attract insets and will attract bats because it provides insects that bats need to eat.
2. Build a bat house. Bat Conservation International provides instructions on how to construct a bat house depending on where you live.
3. Leave your old wooden barn. It provides the perfect habitat and chances are they are already living in the crevices.
4. Leave old hollow trees alone. Don’t cut them down. Bats often use them as their home.
Education is the biggest tool in protecting bats. To find out more, contact your
local department of natural resources.

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Virginia FarmCentral Virginia is home to some of the most beautiful farms. They can range from a 30 acre apple orchard, to over 300 acres of a cattle farm. Eating organic is becoming a very popular health trend, not only because of the benefits to our environment, but also the many health benefits to our bodies.

What exactly is organic? Organic farms prohibits the uses pesticides and chemicals on their crops and will not use hormones and antibiotics in their animals.

Going organic isn’t an overnight process. It requires a lot of research, information and then deciding if going organic is best for you and your farm. The first step is to get certified but don’t think the process ends there. The USDA had developed many guidelines and programs to make sure the farms stay organic. This means strict rules, inspections and testing, looking into complaints and taking action if the farm is in violation. Interested in making the change? The
VDACS   (Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) can provide more information.

The United States of Agriculture also provides a tremendous amount of information on programs and services.

Did you know that Dave Matthews purchased a local farm outside Charlottesville, VA in 2002 and began building a certified organic farm? He even put the 1261 acres farm under a protective land conservation easement to protect it against development in the future.

Eating organic means less pesticides in the food, thus less in your body. Many farmers are choosing to go organic, therefore having healthier farms and consumers.

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Virginia Pumpkin Growers

by Staff October 10, 2014

This is great news for Virginia.  CNN has reported that sales of pumpkins nationally has risen 34% just in the past 5 years.  Not coincidentally this is the same time frame since Starbucks introduced its pumpkin spice latte plus other pumpkin drinks and pastries. A professor at Virginia Tech’s Agricultural  school says that the southwest portion of VA went from zero acres [...]

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Virginia’s 2014 Apple Crop

by Staff October 2, 2014

We may be heavy but don’t call us fat.  Can you guess what in Virginia weighs 180 million pounds?  If you answered ‘Virginia’s 2014 apple crop‘… you’d get a gold star. It’s been a great year for Virginia’s famed apples.  Because our Central Virginia area sits primarily east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, our orchards benefit [...]

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Organic Farming 101 in Virginia

by Staff October 1, 2014

The US Dep’t of Agriculture has published a very convenient site for farmers who’re looking for resources and advice for successful organic farming.  The link will take you to other really helpful information about how to become Certified Organic (did you know that you could get reimbursed for some of your certification costs?) … as well as [...]

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Edible Landscapes in Virginia

by Staff September 22, 2014

For those who want to integrate themselves into the Virginia agricultural landscape, one fine way to accomplish that is by selecting plants, trees, flowers, and bushes that thrive in our climate … and are also edible.   It’s fun, it’s efficient, it makes sense. But often folks aren’t exactly sure which plants are edible or which plants [...]

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