Bedford County Family Farm Tour August 17, 2013 10 AM – 3 PM
Mark your calendars for Saturday, August 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and plan on joining us for the 2013 Bedford County Family Farm Tour, a free family-oriented event. In celebration of Bedford’s diverse agriculture, this year’s tour will highlight Hickory Hill Vineyards and Winery (http://www.smlwine.com).
At the farm, you can see, learn about and experience this farm including vineyard and winery tours.And, Extension Master Gardeners will present mini-seminars and children’s activities Extension Master Gardeners will present mini-seminars and children’s activities
The Tour is free and will be family-oriented, so come out, enjoy the scenery and learn about Bedford’s important agriculture industry. For more information, call the Bedford Extension Office at 540-586-7675 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you are a person with a disability and desire assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate, contact the Bedford Extension office (540-586-7675) at least 5 working days prior to the event.
Agriculture in Bedford
Did you know that Bedford County ranks #4 statewide in Beef Cows? We have over 27,000 beef cows!
Farming in Bedford is very diverse. Most farmland is devoted to pasture, hay and beef cows. However, we have several dairies and orchards. Agriculture interests on the rise include horses, wine grapes and plant nurseries. A common theme of these new enterprises are farming activities that can be done on smaller tracts of land and/or an attempt to capture more of the consumer dollar.
Agriculture is an important industry in Bedford County. According to the 2007 U.S. Agriculture Census, agriculture is responsible for 23 million dollars of farm product sales annually. Among Virginia counties, Bedford County ranks 4th in beef cattle, 3rd in hay and forage production, 4th in horses, 13th in goats, 10th in milk cows and 14th in orchards. In 2007, there were 1,428 farms, encompassing 212,237 acres.
Agriculture pays its way – a recently completed study found that agriculture only requires 25 cents in services for every dollar it pays in taxes, while residential development requires $1.07 in services for every dollar of taxes it pays.
Farming has always been a challenging occupation, physically and financially. This has been accelerated by factors such as increasing urbanization, rising input costs versus static or declining output prices, advancing age of the average farmer, etc. A sobering statistic is the fact that in 2007 nearly 50% of farms in Bedford were owned or operated by individuals over the age of 60. In recent years, droughts have added an additional burden on our farmers. We have experienced a decline in some types of agriculture, especially dairy farming and row crops. However, some new agriculture enterprises have appeared on the scene. Examples include greenhouses, wine grapes, wineries, direct marketing of farm products, and agri-tourism. A common theme of these new enterprises are farming activities that can be done on smaller tracts of land and/or an attempt to capture more of the consumer dollar. From 2002 to 2007, Bedford saw growth in farm products being sold directly to consumers ($327,000 in 2002 to $565,000 in 2007). These enterprises fill a niche and will not replace more traditional types of agriculture. They do however offer some unique opportunities and can become an important component of our diversified agricultural industry.
There are many challenges facing agriculture in Bedford County. However, agriculture has always been an evolving industry. With continued adoption of innovative technologies, an emphasis on programs and policies to encourage younger people to enter or remain in farming and a balanced approach to growth and development, Bedford can maintain a viable agriculture base that provides significant economic, aesthetic and environmental benefits to our community.
To learn more about agriculture in Bedford, find local food and other farm products for sale as well as the efforts of the Bedford County Agriculture Economic Development Advisory Board, please visit Bedford’s agriculture web site,http://www.bedfordeconomicdevelopment.com/agriculture/