Politicians get on-the-farm lessons during ag tour

Lynchburg area politicians acquired some on-the-farm knowledge May 13 during a tour of three Bedford County farms, hosted by the Bedford County Farm Bureau Young Farmers Committee.

newspaper“It’s just amazing what I’ve learned in our tour today,” commented Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Fredericksburg, in a Facebook Live post during the tour.

“We’re here at a feedlot where they raise heifers,” Reeves continued. “We’re learning how the farmers here are rotating their crops to get the most nutrients inside the ground without having to till the land.”

He added that they also learned about water management and feeding practices that help them get the best rate of return on the cattle they raise.

“We learned a lot about EPA restrictions in regards to their manure, based on their cow population,” Reeves added.

Del. Scott Garrett, R-Lynchburg, who originally suggested the tours, posted photos from the farms.

“At one farm we showcased agriculture best management practices to protect soil and water and natural resources,” explained W.P. Johnson, president of the Bedford County Farm Bureau. “At the next farm we highlighted farm transition and farmland preservation issues, as well as talked about the dairy industry since we were visiting a dairy farm. At the third farm we focused on challenges facing beginning farmers such as access to markets and diversification.”

Other legislators and policymakers on the tour included Del. Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke, and Andrew Dooley and Curry Martin of the Bedford County Board of Supervisors. Virginia Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Megan Seibel joined the group later in the evening.

The tour provided an opportunity to speak directly with the men and women who help shape Virginia’s environmental regulations and agriculture and business policies, said Amy Johnson, chairman of the Bedford Young Farmers Committee.

“Throughout the day we encouraged open communication and open questions,” Johnson said. “Legislators were free to ask our farmers questions, and they gave honest answers.

“At the end they said they learned a lot about agriculture and the impact that state policies have on farms, as well as the amount of care that we take in our operations, protecting the land and our animals. They all want to see this event again and visit different farms.”

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