Tidewater News honored for agriculture coverage

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NORFOLK—The Virginia Farm Bureau on Tuesday presented one of its two Members’ Choice awards to The Tidewater News during the organization’s annual convention in Norfolk.

Wayne Pryor, president of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, presents Tony Clark, general manager of The Tidewater News, with a 2011 Members' Choice Award for the most comprehensive agricultural coverage in Virginia. -- Dale Liesch | Tidewater News

The other went to the Bull Run Observer in Manassas.

Farm Bureau members base the Members’ Choice Awards, which began in 2010, on nominations, although the winners are selected with the same judging criteria used for the other categories.

During the presentation, it was noted that Gwen Albers, managing editor, wrote about a fourth-generation farm family fighting an eminent domain issue that stood to divide their farm, the area’s top peanut producer and what made that farm stand out, cotton facts and the nutritional value of peanuts.

Her work “took two of the area’s staple crops, peanuts and cotton, and gave the readers up-to-date information about each. These articles were so educational, but also very entertaining,” the judges wrote.

In addition, Albers provided extensive coverage to the farm damage wrought by Hurricane Irene, as well as the impact of beneficial rains on the peanut crop.

“Improving our agriculture and agribusiness coverage has been an area of emphasis for our newsroom under Gwen’s leadership, and it is gratifying to receive this recognition of her efforts,” said Steve Stewart, publisher for The Tidewater News. “We are aware of agriculture’s importance in our readership area and pledge to continue to provide coverage that reflects that importance.”

The 2011 awards marked the Rappahannock Record’s seventh consecutive win in the non-daily newspaper category and the Culpeper Times’ second consecutive award. They were co-winners in 2010 as well.

“I’m always awed by the creativity and depth of information our media representatives put forth,” said VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor. “We are fortunate to have journalists who understand the importance of our industry and who are interpreting the issues and reporting them.”

With more than 150,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to protecting Virginia’s farms and ensuring a safe, fresh and locally grown food supply.