2018 Model State Program Report

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $55,555.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2021
Grant Recipient: Virginia Polytech Institute
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
State Coordinator:
Eric Bendfeldt
Virginia Cooperative Extension


  • Agronomic: barley, clovers, grass (misc. annual), grass (misc. perennial), rye, vetches, wheat
  • Fruits: berries (blueberries), berries (brambles)
  • Vegetables: cabbages, cauliflower, cucurbits, greens (leafy), greens (lettuces), peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes
  • Additional Plants: trees
  • Animals: bees, bovine, poultry, sheep
  • Animal Products: dairy, eggs, fiber, fur, leather, honey
  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms, syrup


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, grazing management, grazing - rotational
  • Crop Production: agroforestry, conservation tillage, cover crops, crop rotation, forest farming, high tunnels or hoop houses, no-till, season extension types and construction, silvopasture
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, workshop
  • Energy: solar energy
  • Farm Business Management: business planning, farm-to-institution, farm-to-restaurant, marketing management, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, carbon sequestration
  • Pest Management: integrated pest management, mulches - general, prevention
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: composting, organic matter, soil microbiology, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, food hubs, local and regional food systems, social capital, sustainability measures, values-based supply chains


    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 through Virginia Cooperative Extension, along with organizational and community, 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, grassland agriculture, and overall market diversification for meat, milk, vegetable and fruit producers. There continues to be a strong consumer interest in how food is produced and where food comes from and making more durable transparent connections with farmers. Additionally, there is more interest in community-focused food systems that encourage local and regional 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 community, economic and ecological components of sustainability throughout the food and agricultural system. We continue to provide the most current and best scientific information and research so that producers and citizens can meet their individual and community objectives for sustainability and resilience.

    Project objectives:

    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 (i.e., NRCS, FSA, SWCD, Farm Credit) existing training programs to reach the following:

    • at least one hundred 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 with existing annual conferences and/or field meetings to reach at least 400 persons including farmer, 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 underserved limited resource farmers, landowners and community leaders, including African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, women, and persons who have limited access to land, labor, and capital regarding sustainable agriculture practices and Southern Region SARE programs and resources.

    4) Continually assess how equity, justice, and fairness are integrated into programming as foundational principles for economic, environmental, and social sustainability.

    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.