Category Archives: Articles

AgCache: When Geocaching meets the Ag Sector

Fostering rural and agricultural tourism: exploring the potential of geocaching,

Read the new agcache publication by Kathryn A. Boys, Katherine DuBreuil White, and Gordon Groover.

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Value and implications of corn stover removal from Virginia fields

Gordon Groover, Extension Economist.

Read the full corn stover publication.


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2017 Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade





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The Great Debate: Harvesting vs. Grazing Forage

Contributed by Carl Stafford, Senior Extension Agent, Animal Science, Culpeper County

Wintering cost is one of the biggest expenses in producing beef cattle. John Howe, Spotsylvania Extension Agent, explained the difference in the cost of a pound of dry matter from pasture vs. that from harvested feed. He found that the equipment harvested feed can run 3 to 4 times the cost of that harvested by cattle.  Gordon Groover supports Howe in his article, “What I Know about Forage Economics,” Virginia Forager, Fall 2016, page 7.  He finds that each ton of hay could have more than $200 per ton equipment depreciation before “out-of-pocket” expenses are added.

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Managing Debt in Lean Years

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

As a former dairyman and agricultural lender, I have sat on both sides of the table when a producer is faced with low milk prices and/or drought conditions. This has been the story during the spring and summer of 2016 with depressed milk and grain prices.  Many producers have been unable to pay their farm’s operating expenses and loan payments on a timely basis. Speaking from experience, this should not deter producers from communicating with their lenders.  Agricultural lenders understand that agriculture is a cyclical business. They realize that current milk and grain prices are below the breakeven costs for many producers. It is during these times that communication between lender and producer is most critical.

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What I Know about Forage Economics?

Gordon Groover Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

First, the key assumption behind this article is that the farm business in managed to make a profit. A second assumption is that the environment farm business managers face is not constant, or to quote Heraclitus, (535 BCE), “The only constant is change.” That is, as prices and technology change then management strategies, enterprises, and capital investments must change for the farm to remain profitable.  For example, few cow-calf producers harvest and feed corn silage to their beef cow herd as opposed to what was a common practice 40-50 years ago. Corn silage was and is still a high quality feed for ruminants, yet the capital investment to plant, harvest, transport, store, and feed has increased the total costs of corn silage. On a relative costs basis and with the help of round bale technology the cost of making hay was less than corn silage, leading to wholesale Continue reading

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Farm Financial Risk Management Publications for Beginning Farmers are now Available

There are many factors to consider before you start a new farm enterprise. Financial management is an important component in the start-up and decision-making process for beginning farmers. The purpose of this resource is to introduce you to the farm financial system and risk management for beginning farmers.  The topics covered in this resource are not all-inclusive, but after reading these papers, you should be prepared to move forward in planning for your farm.

Authors: Kim Morgan, Assistant Professor, Ag and Applied Economics, VA Tech;
Peter Callan, Extension Agent, Farm Business Management, Culpeper County;
Allyssa Mark, Graduate Research Assistant, Ag and Applied Economics, VA Tech;
Kim Niewolny, Associate Professor; Ag, Leadership, and Community Education, VA Tech;
Theresa Nartea, Assistant Professor, Virginia State University;
Kelli Scott, Extension Agent, Montgomery County;
Jim Hilleary, Extension Agent, Loudoun County

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The Management Calendar

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

Farm business managers should consider putting the following activities on their management calendar this winter. Continue reading

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2016 Virginia Market Maker News, Update #1: Virginia Market Maker: A Year in Review.

Kim Morgan (, Assistant Professor, Agricultural & Applied Economics (540) 231-3132

MarketMaker, a web-based portal that serves as a virtual marketplace for producers, distributors, and sellers, and buyers of agricultural products, seeks to provide farm-to-fork access to participants in the food supply chain. Currently, alternative online lists and portals are offered that contribute to connecting people and businesses involved in the production, distribution, storage and sales of local food,   and resources produced by Virginia farms and agribusinesses. This purpose of this article is to highlight the unique characteristics of MarketMaker that offer added value to registered businesses and consumers who seek to use the portal as a marketing strategy to improve overall profitability of their operation.

Local Market

Local Market

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Save the Date – 2016 Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade


Information about the Conference can be found at

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