Agriculture

Increasing demand for locally grown food is creating new markets for small farmers.  But boutique growers face challenges that factory farmers don't. And for them, a little help can make a big difference.

Take, for example, a farm in Floyd County that won a cool prize in a competition designed to help niche agriculture-based companies grow. 

Southwest Virginia is known for its wood industry.  But in many places, sawmills have closed. Local logs are now shipped internationally to be processed. And that means places like Floyd County are looking for innovative ways to market their natural resources and their creative flair.  

Like many rural southwestern Virginia counties, Floyd ‘s main industry is agriculture. It’s also home to a mix of creative people who grow or make specialty items for sale.

Now the county is getting behind them with an initiative to help its boutique farmers actually make a living at it.  Adam Fisher won a thousand dollar prize for technical support for his wild food harvesting business called Burgeoning Farms.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

 

 

There’s no shortage of challenges to life as a farmer: long hours, unpredictable weather, small profit margins. But a new group in central Virginia wants to make sure access to capital isn’t one of those challenges.

Pamela D'Angelo

Big poultry on the DelMarVa Peninsula began by accident when  homemaker Cecile Steele was shipped 500 chicks to raise instead of the 50 she ordered. She kept them, made a profit and ordered a thousand the next year. And so, an industry was born and has been growing ever since.

But the hundreds of thousands of tons of manure produced each year so close to the Chesapeake Bay worries residents of Virginia's Eastern Shore.

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