Webinar for Beginning Farmers and Ag Entrepreneurs

“Politicians love small businesses; they also love farmers.  As a result, farmers and entrepreneurs in Ag-based businesses enjoy a bigger suite of government assistance programs than just about any other group.  However, there is also a lot of confusion about what really is available:  reasonable loans to beginning farmers (yes), grants to raise alpacas (no).  To help sort all this out, Stephen Versen, a Project Manager in the Agriculture and Forestry Development Services unit at VDACS (Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services), will be discussing some of the most useful state and federal programs and answering your questions about accessing them.  Major topics to be discussed are USDA loan and grant programs, as well as assistance available through the Commonwealth of Virginia, including:  the Virginia Grown/Virginia’s Finest programs and the new Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID).

To participate in this webinar please call Cumberland Extension Agent David Smith at 804-492-4390

Check out the project website at www.vabeginningfarmer.org for recordings of past webinars and to see what other exciting initiatives are being developed!

Secrets of Soil Unlocked

A website was recently made available by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service for landowners, teachers, students and farmers.  The resources on the site are designed to help the visitor understand the basics and benefits of soil health – and to learn about Soil Health Management Systems from farmers who are using those systems.  Click here to visit the website http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/soils/health/

New Email Address

Please make a note of our new email address:

District Manager- Deanna Fehrer: dfehrer@piedmontswcd.org

Communications – Robin Buckalew: rbuckalew@piedmontswcd.org

BMP & Ed Program Assistant -Amanda Braham: abraham@piedmontswcd.org

Senior TMDL Conservation Specialist – Charlie Wootton: two addresses cwootton@piedmontswcd.org

Charles.Wootton@va.nacdnet.net

BMP Conservation Technician  – Kevin Dunn: two addresses

kdunn@piedmontswcd.org

kevin.dunn@va.nacdnet.net

HOW ARE WE DOING?

The Piedmont SWCD is part of a conservation partnership that provides resources, education and leadership on the wise use of soil and water resources.  They accomplish this through a wide variety of programs, including the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Program, Equipment Rental Program, Watershed Dam Structure Maintenance, and an Environmental Education Program.  Every four years the Piedmont SWCD develops a Strategic Plan to help guide their operations and generate goals and objectives.  Please take this opportunity to let us know how you think we are going and how you think we can best assist you by taking the following Stakeholder Survey.  Click here to access Stakeholder Survey II.  THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT!

Piedmont SWCD District of the Month

The Piedmont SWCD was chosen District of the Month by Baxter Comics creator Gary Fetters.  Click here District of the Month to link to Fetter’s website to read about the Piedmont SWCD’s use of comic strips in their mission to spread the conservation message.

Your Input needed

Every four years the Piedmont SWCD develops a strategic plan to help guide their operations and generate goals and objectives.  Please take this opportunity to let the Piedmont SWCD know how they are doing and how you think they can best assist you with the wise use of natural resources.

To access the survey, hover over the menu above and open About, and then open the drop down box Strategic Plan and Annual Plan of Work box.  There you will find a link to the  Stakeholder Survey.  Or, just click here to access Stakeholder Survey. Thank you for participating!

Piedmont SWCD Exhibit Recognized

Piedmont SWCD Education Exhibit

A young attendee at the Virginia Association of Conservation Districts Annual Meeting on December 5-6 at the Roanoke Hotel in Roanoke, Virginia enjoyed assembling the puzzle  part of the Piedmont SWCD’s Eduction Exhibit.  The puzzle, when assembled, shows Gary Fetter’s comic strip on watersheds (see blog below for close-up of strip).  “What is Your Watershed Address” was the theme of the Education Exhibit, and the Association awarded the Piedmont SWCD a gift certificate recognizing the exhibit.

Where does your water shed?

Watersheds colorex

This cartoon is one of two purchased from cartoonist Gary Fetters.  (Click on the cartoon above to zoom in and read the dialogue).  A conservation cartoon is only one of many different ways that the Piedmont SWCD reaches out to a varied audience with their conservation message.  The District also produces a bi-monthly radio spot aired on WFLO in Farmville during the noon hour, sends out newsletters seasonally, and hosts educational farm tours and trainings.

Kingfisher lands at Family Farm Day

The Birdreduced

The giant Kingfisher evidently didn’t faze the young lady examining the soil tunnel at the Family Farm Day held September 8 at the SPAREC in Blackstone.

New Employee Amanda Braham

The Piedmont District is happy to announce that Amanda Braham is the new Program Support Technician.  Amanda is working part-time and is especially looking forward to her involvement with the youth outreach program.  She is a 2012 graduate from Southside Community College is Business Administration.  Welcome aboard Amanda!

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