Virginia Farmer Mentor Network

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Through the Virginia Farmer Mentoring Program, experienced farmers work with other farmers to increase implementation of practices that improve soil health and increase production. This peer-to-peer program facilitates relationships between farmers to share knowledge on soil health and best practices.

 

The program is led by multiple organizations across the state to serve different types of production and different geographies. Find out more about the different sub-programs and how to get involved below. 

Chesapeake Bay Farmer Mentoring

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The Virginia Forage and Grassland Council (VFGC) leads farmer-to-farmer mentoring among graziers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Check out the video below on the VFGC mentoring program and find out more on their website.

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The Virginia No-Till Alliance (VANTAGE) leads mentoring among crop producers in the Shenandoah Valley. 

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The  Virginia Tech Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center leads mentoring among crop producers in the Eastern Shore region. 

Who Can Join?

  • Are you a beginner farmer wanting to learn more about soil health practices?

  • Are you wanting to increase the health and productivity of your farm's soils?

  • Is your farm located within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed?

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To find out  more, contact Becky Szarzynski at beckyszar@yahoo.com or (540)461-0969

Integrated Conservation Agronomy Farmer Mentoring

Led by Virginia Tech and Virginia Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Integrated Conservation Agronomy (ICA) Farmer Mentoring program provides a setting for informal conversations between farmers with flexibility in communication frequency, duration, and method. Involvement typically includes a combination of:

  • In-person farm visits

  • Phone calls

  • Emails and texts

  • Attending events and trainings together

Mentors work to help address issues and answer questions farmer clients have related to:

  • Soil health

  • Rotational grazing

  • Cover crops

  • Nutrient management

  • Pest and weed management

  • Economics of conservation

  • And more!

For more information, contact Lydia Fitzgerald at lydia.fitzgerald@usda.gov or (540)414-4089.