Farm Bureau to help honor ag entrepreneur in Va. Women’s Monument

newspaperThe state’s largest agricultural organization has made a significant donation to honor an ag entrepreneur in the Virginia Women’s Monument.

Leaders from Virginia Farm Bureau Federation presented a donation of $100,000 to the Virginia Capitol Foundation on Feb. 25 to support installation of a statue of Laura Copenhaver of Smyth County. About one-fifth of the donation came from county Farm Bureaus.

The monument, titled Voices from the Garden, is being installed in stages at Capitol Square and is the first of its kind nationwide. It recognizes a wide range of women’s achievements with a dozen life-size bronze statues in a landscaped plaza. It will be dedicated in October.

Copenhaver, who died in 1940 at age 72, was an early member of the Farm Bureau Federation and served as its director of information. A proponent of cooperative marketing strategies, she coordinated the production of textiles out of her home, Rosemont, and hired women to craft home goods using local wool. Rosemont’s textiles, were sold through a mail-order catalog and attracted customers throughout the U.S. and in Asia, Europe and South America. After Copenhaver’s death, the business was incorporated as Laura Copenhaver Industries. It operated until 2012.

VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor said Copenhaver’s legacy, and her service to both Southwest Virginia and to Farm Bureau, are considerable, though not necessarily recognized statewide. “We’re extremely pleased to help share her story and help create this lasting tribute.”

The names of Copenhaver’s mother and daughter are included on a glass wall at the monument that currently honors more than 230 Virginia women for their accomplishments. Information about the monument is available at womensmonumentcom.virginia.gov.

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