Over the course of the summer 2014, interviews were conducted with identified applicants on three days at Virginia State University, Virginia Tech, and the Farm Credit of the Virginias office in Staunton. Members of the VALOR Advisory Council and a representative of the inaugural class served as the selection committee.
Fourteen individuals have been offered fellowship positions in Class II and represent a diverse group of those supporting agricultural industry.
It is with excitement that the following individuals are announced:
- Marilyn Adams of Purcellville, Virginia; branch manager with Farm Credit of the Virginias
- Lauren Arbogast of Harrisonburg, Virginia; Extension program coordinator, community viability
- Melvin Atkinson of Windsor, Virginia; director of Airfield 4-H Center with Virginia Cooperative Extension
- Kevin Beamer of Hillsville, Virginia; CEO of Virginia Produce Company
- Shelley Barlow of Suffolk, Virginia; vice president of Cotton Plains Farm
- Timothy Durham of Callaway, Virginia; assistant professor of agronomy and agricultural science program coordinator at Ferrum College
- M. James Faison of Richmond, Virginia; president of Milton’s Local Harvest
- Basil Gooden of Henrico, Virginia; director of Virginia Rural Development with USDA
- Jennifer Leech of Lexington, Virginia; dairy farmer with Ingleside Dairy Farm
- Albert Reid of Petersburg, Virginia; 4-H specialist and aquaculture agent at Virginia State University
- Adam Shiflett of Harrisonburg, Virginia; lending team leader with Farm Credit of the Virginias
- Josh Stephens of Quicksburg, Virginia; general manager with Southern States Cooperative
- Joe Wilkerson of South Boston, Virginia; owner of Southside Nursery and Landscape
- Cliff Williamson of Culpeper, Virginia; animal export consultant with TK Exports
“The group of fellows selected for the second VALOR class is a very exciting and talented group. They represent a diverse perspective about agriculture, how it is defined, and how it is relevant and essential. Leadership development with these men and women in this context will be rewarding for everyone and I look forward to what they have to offer each other and the program as we network and travel,” Director Megan Seibel said.
VALOR Class II fellows will convene in Blacksburg Sept. 5-7 for the first of 12 seminars over two years, which will include meetings around the Commonwealth, in Richmond and Washington D.C., a regional location, and an international session, the location of which will be determined by the fellows themselves.