VSU and Carver to create incubator farm for small farmers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  July 19, 2018 

Contact: Michelle Olgers, Marketing & Communications Dept., 804-524-6964, molgers@vsu.edu

VSU Small Farm Outreach Program Creates Incubator Farm and Demonstration Site in Culpeper County, Va

The Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP) at Virginia State University (VSU) has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the George Washington Carver Agriculture Research Center (GWCARC) in Culpeper County, Virginia, to create an incubator farm and demonstration site. 

The incubator farm and demonstration site comprises two acres of land and one hoop house to grow an assortment of vegetable crops. Workshops, meetings and training sessions for farmers will be held onsite at the GWCARC. The SFOP will provide fertilizer, seeds, hand and power gardening tools, personnel to provide training and technical assistance, and financial assistance. 

“Working together with the George Washington Carver Agricultural Research Center is an excellent opportunity for VSU’s Small Farm Outreach Program to offer a broad range of educational workshops, hands-on trainings and field demonstrations to the Culpeper area,” said SFOP Director William Crutchfield. “At this newly established incubator farm, visitors can learn firsthand about agricultural management practices they can use or adapt for their own farm enterprises.” 

“The agreement supports our shared agriculture education programs for small and new farmers,” said Senior Extension Agent Carl C. Stafford. “GWCARC seeks to develop new knowledge and opportunities for agriculture in this region through partnerships with institutions of higher education, cooperating producers and local government.”

SFOP Hispanic Outreach Agent Leonel Castillo said, “We’re excited to begin working with farmers from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels. As we build connections with the local farming community, we’ll be able to deliver information, education and training on farm operations such irrigation, fertilization, crop selection and rotation, soil management, equipment use and maintenance and more.”

The agreement between the SFOP and GWCARC is made possible thanks to the USDA Beginning Farmer, Rancher and Veteran grant that the SFOP received to assist individuals with limited resources who are interested in starting a small farming operation.

GWCARC is housed in The Carver Center located at 9432 James Madison Hwy, Rapidan, VA. The Carver Center is home of the former George Washington Carver Regional High School, which was built in 1948 and served as the regional high school for African American students. GWCARC is organized and operated exclusively for charitable research and education benefits in agriculture. For more information, visit the GWCARC website.

The Small Farm Outreach Program, which is part of Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University, aims to encourage and assist limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and military veteran farmers and ranchers to own, maintain and operate farms and ranches independently, to participate in agricultural programs and improve their overall farm management skills. The SFOP provides outreach and assistance activities in production management, financial management, marketing, available USDA farm programs and other areas to increase farm profitability and promote sustainability. Currently, the program provides educational programming in approximately 64 Virginia counties, which have the highest concentrations of limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers in the state. For more information, visit The SFOP website.

Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/ affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

–30–

PHOTOS: Download high-resolution photos from Smugmug.