Monthly Archives: June 2013

Manual of the State Land Evaluation Advisory Council

Published by the State Land Evaluation Advisory Council
In 1971, the Virginia General Assembly enacted a law permitting localities to adopt a program of special assessments for agricultural, horticultural, forest and open space lands (Sections 58.1-3229 through 58.1-3244 of the Code of Virginia). While the purpose language originally outlined in Section 58.1-3229 has since been removed, as established at that time, the purpose of the program was stated as the following: Continue reading

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Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia’s Use Value Assessment Program

By Frances S. Dowd, Research Assistant, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, Franklin A. Bruce Jr., and Gordon E. Groover

Virginia law allows for localities adopting a program of special assessments for agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and/or open space lands for their land to be taxed based on the value of the land in one of these four uses (use value) instead of its market value. This document provides answers to questions frequently asked by landowners, taxpayers, state and local governments, and nongovernmental agencies about how the use value assessment program is established by localities and administered. Detailed explanations and current use values can be found by accessing the website

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The Perceived Need and Potential for Agritourism Operations in Virginia: Benefits and Challenges

By Chris Lucha[1], Gustavo Ferreira[2], and Gordon Groover[3]

Over the past decade, there has been a consistent decline in agricultural operations, creating concerns about the long-term viability for many rural communities.  As seen in table 1, the number of farms, total acreage of those farms, and total crop land has been on the decline since 1997.  In addition, the average principal operator age has steadily increased, meaning that the knowledge and resources base of current owners and managers are not being passed on to the next generation.  According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service (VDACS), agriculture is the largest industry in Virginia and the economic impact of agriculture on Virginia’s economic growth or decline will be felt to a greater extent in rural Virginia.  Production agriculture accounts for almost $2.9 billion in total output and provides jobs to nearly 60,000 Virginia farm workers.  This is primarily value of farm output and does not include the value-added products that results in $26 billion of total economic activity (VDACS).

Table 1

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Transferring Management Responsibilities to “Next” Generation

By Peter Callan (, Extension Agent, Farm Business Management, Northern District

The decision to transfer the management of a family farm should be the culmination of many years of discussion between the older and younger generations. Does the family talk about the future of the farm? If a child expresses interest in operating and owning the farm; is the child’s enthusiasm nurtured as they grow-up on the farm? Continue reading

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The Management Calendar

By Gordon Groover, Extension Economist, Farm Management, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

Listed below are the items that should be considered for inclusion on the farm business managers’ calendar for spring and summer of 2013: Continue reading

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Senate and House Agriculture Committees Pass Alternative 2013 Farm Bills

Jim Pease, Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics

Although the 2012 Farm Bill died on the vine because of House opposition, it appears that the political calculus in Washington has changed in 2013, and a new 5-year Farm Bill may be enacted this summer. The House Committee on Agriculture passed H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013, on May 16 by a mainly bi-partisan vote of 36-10, and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry passed S. 954, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, on May 14 by an even more bi-partisan vote of 15-5. Both committee Chairs and Ranking Members supported their respective legislation. Prospects now appear good for consideration on the House and Senate Floors, although passage by either chamber does not guarantee a compromise bill will emerge in Conference Committee. Continue reading

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An Introductory Look at Rail and Commercial Grain Facilities in Virginia

By Peter Caffarelli,[1] Dr. Gustavo Ferreira,[2] Dr. Gordon Groover,[3] and Dr.Grain Harvest Kathryn Boys[4]

The article, “How Grain is Transported in the United States” (April-May 2013 issue of Farm Business Management Update), explained the trends and basic information pertaining to grain transportation in the U.S. This article will focus on Virginia’s rail system, how grain is transported, and locations of Virginia’s grain major handling facilities relative to the rail network. Continue reading

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College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Dinner July 31,213

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2013 Virginia Ag Expo

The 2013 Virginia Ag Expo will be hosted by Land of Promise Farm operated by Don Horsley in Virginia Beach, Virginia on August 1, 2013 starting at 7:30 AM. Continue reading

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2012 NASS Cropland and Pastureland Rental Rates

Guidance on the current land rental/lease rates for farmland in Virginia is one of the most frequent calls many agents and specialists receive over the years. Annually USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) released cash rental rates for irrigated and non-irrigated cropland and pastureland for Virginia counties and cities. The report titled 2012 NASS Cropland and Pastureland Rental Rates authored by Lex Bruce and Gordon Groover can be found at

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