Virginia Ag Expo and alumni gathering held in the Northern Neck

Alumni and friends gather annually for a dinner before the Ag Expo.

Alumni and friends gather annually for a dinner before the Ag Expo.

The Northern Neck of Virginia is a rich and fertile landscape that is home to wineries and farms. This summer, alumni, stakeholders, Extension agents, farmers, and others got to experience both at the Virginia Ag Expo and at the annual pre-expo Alumni Organization gathering.

More than 70 alumni and friends of the college gathered Aug. 6 at Good Luck Cellars, a winery in Kilmarnock, Virginia, for an evening of camaraderie and wine tasting. The owners, Paul and Katie Krop, were especially glad to be hosting the event because they sought out many experts from the college to help them get their wine production started. After a catered dinner, graduate student Cain Hickey, who is working with viticulture Professor Tony Wolf at the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center, spoke about the meteoric rise of grape and wine production in the commonwealth in recent years.

Virginia Ag Expo — the largest outdoor agricultural exhibit in the state — was held the following day at Bleak House Farm in Lottsburg, Virginia, which has been owned by the Downing family for generations. The event was a tremendous success and was attended by more than 1,800 people. Visitors toured the farm where Extension specialists and agents gave field presentations, met exhibitors showcasing the latest equipment and agricultural tools, and got a peek at the Downings’ collection of antique tractors.

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