Monthly Archives: June 2016

The VBFRC Farm Transfer Training and Coalition Meeting


On May 16th and 17th, the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition (VBFRC) held two meetings at the Virginia Farm Bureau building near Richmond, VA. Farmers, service providers, and Coalition members gathered from all across the state to participate in a farm transfer training event and discuss the progress and future work of the Coalition.


The first meeting was a Farm Transfer Strategy and Networking Training planned by the land transfer action team formed at the Coalition meeting in October. We were pleased to have several individuals with experience in the area of land transfer join us for the training. Kathy Ruhf of Land For Good, a nationally recognized leader in farm entry, succession, and tenure, was the main speaker for the event. Kathy shared an overview of succession planning, how service providers in Virginia can increase their awareness of the intricacies involved when discussing farm succession, and how to make those conversations easier. Two attorneys, Andrew Branan (The Branan Law Firm, PLLC) and Mark Botkin (BotkinRose PLC), also shared some of their experiences in farm succession and discussed what farmers should do to develop a succession plan before talking to an attorney. Lastly, a panel of Virginia Cooperative Extension specialists, including Peter Callan, Gordon Groover, and Adam Downing, discussed their roles in extension as they relate to land access and what resources they have to offer for others to use. During the training, attendees took time to discuss what they are working on in the area of farm transfer and what resources they use to address the issue.


The second meeting was the VBFRC Statewide Gathering. These meetings are a way for Coalition members to hear about what is happening within the Coalition and make plans for future work. In the morning, attendees split into groups to discuss important topics relevant to reaching our objectives. These topics included: farmer mentoring, farmer-led innovation, health-based and assistive technology support for farmers, underserved farmer audiences, and understanding the needs of young farmers. In the afternoon, the action teams formed at our October Coalition meeting met to introduce new members to the work, set goals for the coming months, and identify what resources would be needed to move forward.

Both the Farm Transfer Strategy and Networking Training and the VBFRC Statewide Gathering were huge successes. As a result of the training, several service providers across Virginia have a better understanding of the many pieces involved in the discussion of farm transfer and are more prepared to have such a discussion with farmers and ranchers across Virginia. The VBFRC Statewide Gathering allowed for feedback to be provided on where and how the Coalition should focus its efforts and offered up a space for our action teams to continue with the work they are doing in their respective areas.

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Conversation with Herbert Brown, Sr. and Herb Brown, Jr., Browntown Farms (Warfield, VA)

In the summer of 2015, the Virginia Farmer and Rancher Coalition team spoke with Herbert Brown, Sr. and Herb Brown, Jr. about their farm, Browntown Farms. This conversation covered how the farm got started, how labor is managed, and expansion plans for the future. Browntown Farms is located in Warfield, VA.

Browntown Farms has been in Warfield since 1908. The farm started raising sweet potatoes and collard greens and expanded over time. People are happy with the produce grown on the farm and often visit Browntown Farms to buy the produce. Herb will be taking over the farm and plans to continue this growth, expanding both the farm and the market opportunities by becoming an agritourism location. To hear more about the marketing and expansion of Browntown Farms, watch the video below.

Herbert grew up growing tobacco and raising a large garden. The farm was expanded to introduce different produce varieties after attending farm workshops and seminars. In addition, advice from other experienced farmers in the community aided the growth and development of the farm. To hear more about the development of the farm and Browntown Farm’s advice for new farmers, watch the video below.

Browntown Farms has several employees that are picked up and dropped off each day by the farm owners. Hired labor is vital to the success of the farm, and Herbert and Herb have had to develop their management skills to keep labor organized and efficient on the farm. To hear more about how labor is managed and motivated on Browntown Farms, watch the video below.


Interviewed by: Theresa Nartea, Virginia State University

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Farm items for sale in Timberville, VA

A farm located in Timberville, VA has items for sale. Owned for 40 years. Well cared for but unused for many recent years. Needs to go before mid-June.

  • 1949 Farmall Cub tractor, fast hitch, comes with belly bower, 2 sickle bars, planter, plow, rear lug carrier – all for $2,500
  • Wheelhorse garden mower, older model Raider 12 six speed – $400
  • Lots of very dry lumber, some 2 by 6 or 8″, much of it 16 ft long – Make offer
  • Wagon wheels with wagon front box attached. Old antique, heavy and solid, in excellent condition. Never been out of the barn – $400
  • 1969 Ford F100 long bed pickup truck, powerful 360 engine, only 98,850 original miles, well cared for and still runs great, barn stored so almost no rust. Would be terrific to restore as collectible show piece. – $4,600

Please email or call 307-760-7359.

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