2019 Model State Program- Virginia Polytech Institute

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $22,222.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2022
Grant Recipient: Virginia
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
State Coordinators:
Dr. Eric S. Bendfeldt
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Christopher Mullins
Virginia State University


  • Agronomic: clovers, corn, grass (misc. annual), grass (misc. perennial), hay, potatoes, wheat
  • Fruits: apples, berries (blueberries), berries (brambles), berries (cranberries), berries (other), berries (strawberries)
  • Vegetables: asparagus, beans, broccoli, cucurbits, greens (leafy), greens (lettuces), onions, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes
  • Animals: bovine, equine, goats, poultry, sheep
  • Animal Products: dairy, eggs, meat


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, feed/forage, grazing management, grazing - multispecies, grazing - rotational, preventive practices
  • Crop Production: agroforestry, conservation tillage, cover crops, cropping systems, crop rotation, forest farming, greenhouses, high tunnels or hoop houses, no-till, nutrient cycling, nutrient management, pollinator habitat, pollinator health, shade cloth
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, workshop
  • Energy: energy conservation/efficiency, renewable energy, solar energy
  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, cooperatives, farm-to-institution, farmers' markets/farm stands, feasibility study, marketing management, value added, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: drift/runoff buffers, riparian buffers, soil stabilization
  • Pest Management: biological control, competition, compost extracts, cultural control, smother crops, weather monitoring, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems, transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: composting, organic matter, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil quality/health, toxic status mitigation
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, food hubs, infrastructure analysis, local and regional food systems, quality of life, social capital, social networks, 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, grassland agriculture, 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 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 will 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 from proposal:

    1) Annually conduct trainings 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 within 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 65 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. Virginia SARE will work closely with VSU’s Small Farm Outreach Program to conduct and achieve these objectives.

    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.