Hundreds of farmers from across the state will converge on a family farm in the Blackwater section of Virginia Beach on Aug. 1 for the annual Virginia Ag Expo.
Agriculture is one of the three economic bedrocks of Virginia Beach, along with the military and tourism. Last year, farming in Virginia Beach generated $124 million in economic impact, with scores of farms, large and small, growing soybeans, corn, wheat, fruit and vegetables and raising livestock. Local produce is a staple at the Virginia Beach Farmers Market, one of the largest and most popular farmers markets in Hampton Roads, at Princess Anne Road and Dam Neck Road.
During the Ag Expo, more than 140 exhibitors and sponsors will showcase the latest equipment, technology, goods and services at Land of Promise Farms, 3169 Land of Promise Road. The farm is owned and operated by the Horsley family of Virginia Beach. In 2011, Don Horsley was named Virginia Farmer of the Year.
The expo also will feature a demonstration garden by the Virginia Beach Master Gardeners, illustrating the use of plasticulture, a commercial fruit and vegetable production system that reduces weeds and improves water and fertilizer efficiency. The garden contains a wide variety of heirloom fruit and vegetable varieties, as well as summer annual flowers. The Master Gardener Program is open to the public and consists of nearly 260 volunteers. In September, 30 new citizen volunteers will begin their training to become Master Gardeners. The group celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012.
In addition, the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Science will host a special dinner and program the night before the expo, on July 31, at the Military Aviation Museum, 1341 Princess Anne Road in Pungo. Matt Lohr, state commissioner of agriculture and consumer affairs, will be guest speaker. For more information on the dinner, contact Jamie Lucero at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 231-9666.
The expo is co-sponsored by the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Grain Producers Association and the Virginia Soybean Association. For more information, visit www.virginiagrains.com or contact David Trimmer, director of the Virginia Beach Agriculture Department, at 385-8576 or email@example.com.
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