SVA17-001 Model State Program

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $55,511.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2020
Grant Recipient: Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
State Coordinators:
Dr. Eric S. Bendfeldt
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Christopher Mullins
Virginia State University


  • Agronomic: barley, clovers, corn, grass (misc. annual), hay, radish (oilseed, daikon, forage), rye
  • Fruits: apples, berries (brambles), melons, peaches
  • Vegetables: broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, cucurbits, greens (leafy), greens (lettuces), peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes
  • Additional Plants: ginger, herbs
  • Animals: bovine, poultry
  • Animal Products: dairy, eggs, meat


  • Animal Production: grazing management
  • Crop Production: agroforestry, conservation tillage, cover crops, cropping systems, crop rotation, food processing facilities/community kitchens, greenhouses, high tunnels or hoop houses, multiple cropping, no-till, nutrient management, pollinator habitat, season extension, silvopasture, water management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, networking, technical assistance, workshop, youth education
  • Energy: renewable energy, solar energy
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, business planning, cooperatives, farm-to-institution, farm-to-restaurant, marketing management, value added, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, carbon sequestration, soil stabilization
  • Pest Management: integrated pest management
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture, permaculture
  • Soil Management: composting, earthworms, organic matter, soil analysis, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, food hubs, local and regional food systems, social capital, sustainability measures, values-based supply chains

    Proposal abstract:

    The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech and the School of Agriculture at Virginia State University are strongly committed to the SARE Professional Development Program. Virginia Tech and Virginia State University continue to host and sponsor professional development workshops and programs each year. These workshops and programs help build interest and strengthen the implementation of sustainable methods and practices across Virginia, especially in the areas of ecological soil management, cover cropping, community food systems, and overall market diversification for meat, milk, vegetable and fruit producers. There continues to be strong consumer interest in how food is produced and where food comes from. Additionally, there is more interest in community, local and regional food systems that encourage more community-focused farm-to-market connections, which can strengthen and foster sustainable agriculture efforts. Virginia Cooperative Extension, through our SARE initiatives, organizational partnerships and professional development program, seeks to serve all of agriculture and fully integrate sustainable farming practices that emphasize the social, economic and environmental components of sustainability throughout the food system. We will continue to provide the most current and best scientific information and research so that producers and citizens can make the best choices which suit their individual and community objectives.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1) Annually conduct training regarding sustainable agricultural practices and Southern Region SARE programs on a statewide basis and in conjunction with other planned agent and partnering agencies'(NRCS,FSA, SWCD, Farm Credit) existing training programs to reach the following: .
    • at least one hundred Agriculture Extension Agents (VCE)
    • Twenty Farm Service Agency (FSA) personnel and Farm Credit system personnel
    • Fifty Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Soil and Water Conservation
    District personnel

    2) Annually conduct train-the-trainer training on a statewide basis and in conjunction within existing annual conferences and/or field meetings to reach at least 300 persons including farmer, military veterans, landowners, farming associations, state government agency personnel, county government personnel, non-government organizations (NGO's) and community based organizations (CBOs).

    3) Annually conduct training with at least 75 socially disadvantaged farmers, landowners and community leaders, including military veterans, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, women and persons who have limited resources of land, labor and capital regarding sustainable agriculture practices and Southern Region SARE programs.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.