Western Tidewater agriculture news for 2011

Published 10:29 am Wednesday, December 28, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: The year 2011 was a busy year for Western Tidewater farmers. Cedar View Farms in Drewryville was named Virginia’s top peanut producer for 2010, heavy rains in June brought relief to crops and nearly 200 attended the 6th annual Young Farmers Summer Expos in Southampton County. The following is a month-by-month rundown of agriculture news in Western Tidewater in 2011.



Feb. 23—A fourth-generation Drewryville farm was named Virginia’s top peanut producer for 2010. Cedar View Farms, operated by brothers Jeffery, Mark and Chris Pope, raised 4,824 pounds of peanuts per acre.



March 16—Ben Kitchen of Courtland was chosen for America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, which gives farmers the chance to win $2,500 for local nonprofit organizations. Kitchen chose the Franklin-Southampton Area United Way.



April 6—Sedley farmer David Edwards asked the Southampton County Board of Supervisors to repeal the machinery and tools tax, which is $2.40 per $100. Edwards stated that he believes it’s an unfair tax.

April 13—The Munford family from Zuni won third place in the 8,500 mod-turbo class at the Interstate Truck and Tractor Pullers Association Event.

April 16—A tornado ruined the irrigation system at Royal Oaks Farm in Drewryville, where Jeffrey Pope and his brothers farm peanuts. Damage was estimated at $100,000.

April 20—The Virginia Cooperative Agriculture Extension Service advertises for a new agent after the retirement of another one in March 2009.

Virginia Peanut Growers Association Director Dell Cotton predicted that peanut plantings will decrease notably in both Southampton and Isle of Wight. A poor year in 2010 and high prices for cotton are cited as factors.

April 27—Dominion Power will give the wood ash from its converted wood-fueled county power plant to farmers at no cost. Wood ash can be substituted for lime, which will save farmers a few million over the next 30 years.



May 4—The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services indicated help may be available to farmers who had damage to livestock or poultry because of severe April weather.

May 11—Mollie Blythe of Franklin received the Outstanding Ambassador Award for 2010-2011 from Virginia Tech. This honor recognizes an ambassador for her leadership and service to agriculture and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

May 18—The Virginia Department of Agriculture reported that wheat production was expected to total 17.1 million bushels for the year. Sedley farmer Gary Cross said he believed there were “more harvestable acres in the county this year.”

May 25—Belmont Peanuts of Southampton President Patsy Marks announced that the business would participate in the Summer Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C., for the third consecutive time.



June 8—Some 298 farmers, who are Colonial Farm Credit customers in Southampton and Isle of Wight counties, will share $447,323 refunded by the agriculture cooperative.

June 15—Recent rain of one-half to two inches in Southampton brought needed relief to farmers’ crops.

June 22—Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers began nominating eligible candidates to serve on local Farm Service Agency county committees.



July 6—Capron peanut farmer Michael Marks was appointed by the governor to the Virginia Peanut Board. This groups administers funds for promotion, education and research related to Virginia peanuts.

July 20—Chris Drake of Newsoms is named as a new agent for the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office in Southampton.

July 27—Close to 200 people were expected to attend the 6th annual Young Farmers Summer Expos at month’s end. This is the first time such an event has been held in this region of Virginia.



Aug. 17—Windsor farmer William Edwards was named to the Virginia Pork Industry Board by the governor. The group plans and holds education, promotion and research projects relating to the pork industry.

Aug. 24—Southampton County’s Virginia Cooperative Extension agent Chris Drake predicted a potentially good cotton crop this season.

Aug. 31—Hurricane Irene’s 12 inches of rain and wind gusts of up to 59 mph did roughly $6.7 million in agricultural damage to Western Tidewater. Extension agent Chris Drake estimated that wind damaged 15 percent of the acreage in Southampton.



Sept. 7—Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore and state Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, visited farms in Southampton, Sussex and Surry counties that experienced damage from Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27. The corn at Paul Rogers’ farm in Southampton was damaged due to high the winds.

Sept. 28—Extensive moisture from Hurricane Irene and subsequent rainfall depressed the pumpkin crop in southeastern portion of Virginia, most notably Southampton and Isle of Wight counties.



Oct. 5—Commonwealth Cotton Gin opened its Windsor facility for the first time since 2006. This was in preparation for a “slightly above average” cotton harvest of 117,000 acres.

Oct. 7—The late Clifford A. Cutchins was one of eight Virginia Tech alumni inducted into the Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame. Cutchins did hog and dairy farming in Franklin.

Oct. 12—A group from Senegal visited the Virginia Tech’s Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Suffolk and a few farms in Southampton. They were part of the Senegalese University system’s three-week visit for advanced training in their respective fields.



Nov. 2—Increased rainfall in August is credited with helping the peanut yields. Capron farmer Bob Marks has 150 acres producing more than 4,000 pounds per acre.

Nov. 30—The Virginia Farm Bureau gave one of its two Members’ Choice awards to The Tidewater News.



Dec. 7—Western Tidewater farmers experience an above average yield with this year’s soybean crop, said Southampton County Agriculture Extension Agent Chris Drake.

Dec. 14—Southampton County Extension Agent Neil Clark received statewide recognition for participating in the 2010 Pesticide Container Recycling Program. The award notes Clark’s record at increasing the number of recycled containers dramatically.

Southampton cotton and peanut producer Marvin L. Everett Jr. of Capron was elected to a third term on the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation board of directors.