Vdacs Commissioner Samdy Adams On Va Agriculture

Vdacs Commissioner Samdy Adams On Va Agriculture


>>THE VIRGINIA HORSE INDUSTRY BOARD AND THE VIRGINIA CHRISTMAS TREE GROWER’S ASSOCIATION ARE PROUD SPONSORS OF “VIRGINIA FARMING.”>>THIS PROGRAM IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE VIRGINIA FARM BUREAU. LARGE OR SMALL, VIRGINIA FARMERS WORK YEAR ROUND TO HELP PUT FOOD ON YOUR TABLE, AND FARM BUREAU WORKS YEAR ROUND TO HELP FARMERS AND ALL VIRGINIANS. FARMING — IT’S ALL GOOD. TO LEARN MORE, GO TO VAFARMBUREAU.ORG. [CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY WVPT] AMY: HI, EVERYBODY. WELCOME TO VIRGINIA FARMING. I’M AMY ROSCHER. THIS WEEK WE TRAVEL TO RICHMOND WHERE WE TALK TO VDACS COMMISSIONER SANDY ADAMS. THEN CHRIS MULLINS SHARES TIPS ON GROWING BLACKBERRIES, FROM THE GROUND UP. WE’LL ALSO HAVE THE AG CALENDAR, AND A MINUTE IN THE FIELD VIDEO. ALL THIS, PLUS THE AG NEWS OF THE WEEK ON THIS EDITION OF “VIRGINIA FARMING.” AMY: THE STRAIN OF AVIAN INFLUENZA THAT HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED ON THE WEST COAST IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS, HAS RECENTLY BEEN DETECTED IN THE MIDWEST, RAISING CONCERN THAT THE DISEASE WILL SPREAD TO POULTRY ON THE EAST COAST. NOW, POULTRY OPERATORS ARE URGED TO CONTINUE STRICT BIOSECURITY MEASURES, SUCH AS DISINFECTING FOOTWEAR, VEHICLE TIRES, EQUIPMENT, AND ANYTHING ELSE THAT ENTERS AND EXITS POULTRY HOUSES. ALL POULTRY OWNERS, BOTH COMMERCIAL AND BACKYARD FLOCK OWNERS, ARE ADVISED TO PREVENT EXPOSURE OF POULTRY TO WILD WATERFOWL FROM FLY-OVERS OR FECAL CONTAMINATION OF PONDS AND STREAMS, AS THE DISEASE APPEARS TO BE SPREAD BY WILD WATERFOWL. THIS PARTICULAR STRAIN OF INFLUENZA DOES NOT AFFECT PEOPLE. THE USDA IS SETTING UP A PARTNERSHIP TO HELP SCHOOLS COOPERATE WITH EACH OTHER TO CREATE HEALTHY MEALS FOR STUDENTS. THE USDA’S BOB ELLISON HAS MORE. BOB ELLISON: MARCH IS NATIONAL NUTRITION MONTH AND AGRICULTURE SECRETARY TOM VILSACK WAS AT WOODVILLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, PROMOTING THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTHIER DIETS FOR CHILDREN. SECRETARY VILSACK: IF WE DON’T ADDRESS THIS ISSUE COMPREHENSIVELY, THEN THESE YOUNGSTERS WILL BE FACED WITH A LONG TERM SERIES OF CHRONIC DISEASES AND ILLNESSES THAT THEY WILL TAKE INTO ADULT LIFE. BOB ELLISON: AND THAT’S WHY VILSACK SAID THE HEALTHY HUNGER FREE KIDS ACT IS SO IMPORTANT. IT REFORMS THE SCHOOL MEALS PROGRAMS BY IMPROVING THE CRITICAL NUTRITION AND HUNGER SAFETY NET FOR MILLIONS OF CHILDREN. SECRETARY VILSACK: AND WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF IMPLEMENTING IT, WHICH IS IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF THE MEALS THAT THESE YOUNGSTERS ARE SERVED. BUT WE NEED TO DO MORE. BOB ELLISON: VILSACK ANNOUNCED THE EXPANSION OF THE TEAM UP FOR SUCCESS TRAINING INITIATIVE. SECRETARY VILSACK: THIS IS A PROGRAM THAT ESSENTIALLY TAKES SCHOOLS THAT HAVE SUCCEEDED IN INSTITUTING THESE NEW STANDARDS AND MENTORING THE SCHOOLS THAT ARE STRUGGLING, PAIRING A SUCCEEDING SCHOOL DISTRICT WITH A STRUGGLING SCHOOL DISTRICT. BOB ELLISON: THROUGH THE INITIATIVE, USDA’S FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE WILL WORK WITH SCHOOLS TO IDENTIFY CHALLENGES AND PROVIDE RESOURCES TO PROMOTE A HEALTHIER SCHOOL DAY. IN WASHINGTON, FOR THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, I’M BOB ELLISON. AMY: THANKS, BOB. ROUTE 11 POTATO CHIPS ARE NO STRANGERS TO OUR SHOW. YOU MAY HAVE SEEN THE SPECIAL EPISODE THAT FEATURES THE COMPANY, AND IT’S ONE WE’RE SURE TO AIR AGAIN. WELL, LAST WEEK GOVERNOR MCAULIFFE ANNOUNCED THAT ROUTE 11 POTATO CHIPS WILL EXPAND ITS EXISTING POTATO CHIP PRODUCTION FACILITY IN SHENANDOAH COUNTY. THE COMPANY WILL INVEST MORE THAN $1.2 MILLION AND CREATE 13 JOBS IN MOUNT JACKSON, WHILE SOURCING NEARLY HALF OF ITS NEW POTATO AND SWEET POTATO PURCHASES FROM VIRGINIA AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS. THE COMMONWEALTH IS PARTNERING WITH SHENANDOAH COUNTY AND ROUTE 11 ON THIS PROJECT THROUGH THE GOVERNOR’S AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY INDUSTRIES DEVELOPMENT FUND. ONE PERSON WHO WAS PRESENT FOR THE RT. 11 PRESENTATION WAS SANDY ADAMS. ADAMS IS OUR VDACS COMMISSIONER, AND SHE’S NO STRANGER TO THE AGENCY. TODAY, WE’LL LEARN MORE ABOUT COMMISSIONER ADAMS AND TALK ABOUT THE STATE OF VIRGINIA AGRICULTURE. THAT’S STRAIGHT AHEAD, ON “AG INSIGHTS.” AMY: TODAY, WE’RE IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, AND WE’RE VISITING THE OFFICES OF THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES, AND I’M MEETING WITH COMMISSIONER SANDY ADAMS. COMMISSIONER ADAMS, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING WITH US TODAY. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: IT’S MY PLEASURE, AMY. AMY: SO, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I’VE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTERVIEW YOU. WHEN DID YOU TAKE THE ROLE OF COMMISSIONER? COMMISSIONER ADAMS: I OFFICIALLY WAS APPOINTED BY GOVERNOR MCAULIFFE IN JUNE OF LAST YEAR, SO, GOSH, TIME IS FLYING. AMY: ALMOST A YEAR. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: ALMOST A YEAR, BUT I WAS ALSO ACTING AS ACTING COMMISSIONER SINCE MATT LOHR LEFT IN DECEMBER. AMY: RIGHT. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: YEAH. AMY: SO, GIVE US A LITTLE BIT OF BACKGROUND ABOUT YOURSELF. I DON’T KNOW IF EVERYONE’S VERY FAMILIAR WITH YOU. SOME OF THE ROLES YOU’VE HAD LEADING UP TO THIS. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: OK, WELL, I’VE BEEN IN THE DEPARTMENT ITSELF FOR ABOUT 18 YEARS NOW. I CAME IN IN 1996 AS THE FINANCE DIRECTOR, STAYED IN THAT ROLE FOR ABOUT THREE YEARS, AND THEN HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO APPLY FOR THE DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES AND THAT’S THE ROLE I WAS IN FOR 10 YEARS WHICH REALLY GAVE ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN THE AGENCY, I GUESS, INSIDE-OUT, BECAUSE I WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR BUDGET AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS, I GUESS TWO OF THE LARGER THINGS. YOU REALLY HAVE TO LEARN THE AGENCY AND WHAT IT’S ABOUT WHEN YOU’RE DEALING WITH THOSE TWO ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT SERVICES. AMY: WOW. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: FROM THERE, I GUESS I WAS JUST IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME, I LIKE TO SAY. WHEN NOW SECRETARY HAYMORE LEFT THE COMMISSIONER POST AT ABOUT THE SAME TIME THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER AT THAT TIME RETIRED, SO THERE WAS NOT A COMMISSIONER AND THERE WAS NOT A DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, SO SECRETARY HAYMORE ASKED ME TO FILL IN FOR A FEW MONTHS UNTIL THEY APPOINTED MATT LOHR AS COMMISSIONER, SO I GOT TO SERVE AS ACTING COMMISSIONER, I GUESS FOR ABOUT FIVE MONTHS AT THAT POINT AS WELL. AND THEN ABOUT THE SAME TIME THAT MATT LOHR WAS APPOINTED COMMISSIONER FIVE YEARS AGO, I APPLIED FOR THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER POST AND WAS SELECTED FOR THAT AND THEN HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH MATT AS COMMISSIONER AND SERVE AS DEPUTY. AMY: SO, YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED WITH VDACS FOR YEARS? COMMISSIONER ADAMS: I HAVE. AMY: I MEAN, YOU REALLY HAVE A LOT OF — COMMISSIONER ADAMS: I HAVE A LOT OF STATE EXPERIENCE AMY: YOU REALLY DO, ABSOLUTELY. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: AND A LOT OF AGRICULTURE EXPERIENCE. AMY: WELL, AGRICULTURE EXPERIENCE LEADS ME TO MY NEXT QUESTION. DO YOU HAVE ANY PERSONAL BACKGROUND IN AGRICULTURE? COMMISSIONER ADAMS: I DON’T. AND THAT WAS ONE OF THE REASONS I DIDN’T REALLY PUT MY NAME IN THE HAT FOR A WHILE AS A POTENTIAL CANDIDATE FOR COMMISSIONER, BECAUSE I WAS ALWAYS AFRAID AND KIND OF THOUGHT, WELL, THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY PROBABLY WANTS SOMEONE WHO GREW UP ON A FARM AND FARMED. THE LONGER TIME WENT ON, I CAME TO THE REALIZATION THAT MOST FARMERS PROBABLY DON’T WANT TO BE IN RICHMOND. [LAUGHTER] AND I HAD BEEN IN THE AGENCY LONG ENOUGH THAT I FELT LIKE I HAD REALLY LEARNED VIRGINIA AGRICULTURE. AND, YOU KNOW, I THINK OUR GOAL AS THE AGENCY IS TO SUPPORT THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY. NOT TO GROW CROPS BUT TO SUPPORT THE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE AND SO I FELT AFTER THINKING THROUGH FOR A FEW MONTHS, I THOUGHT I HAD THAT EXPERIENCE. AMY: OH, I THINK SO, TOO. I MEAN, AS LONG AS YOU’VE BEEN HERE AND THE PEOPLE YOU’VE WORKED WITH, THEY’VE ALL HAD AGRICULTURE EXPERIENCE SO I’M SURE YOU LEARNED FROM THEM AS WELL, SO I DON’T THINK YOU HAVE TO BE MILKING COWS OR PLANTING CORN TO HAVE THAT EXPERIENCE TO DO WHAT YOU’RE DOING. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: NO, I MEAN, I THINK YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, YOU KNOW, WE’RE SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE. WE ALSO IN THE AGENCY HAVE A LOT OF REGULATORY ROLES, SO WE’RE PROVIDING A LOT OF CONSUMER PROTECTION, YOU KNOW, IN OUR WEIGHTS AND MEASURES PROGRAM WHERE WE INSPECT MEASUREMENT DEVICES IN THE AGENCY, GASOLINE PUMPS, AND ALSO FOOD SAFETY AND PROVIDE A LOT OF FOOD SAFETY WITH OUR FOOD SAFETY INSPECTION SO IT IS — WE SUPPORT THE MARKETING OF VIRGINIA AG PRODUCTS, BUT THEN WE PROVIDE A CONSUMER PROTECTION ROLE AS WELL. AMY: IT’S A BIG JOB. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: IT’S A DIVERSIFIED JOB. WE HAVE A DIVERSIFIED AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY AND THEN THE AGENCY IS — I TRY TO TELL EVERYONE, I THINK WE’RE THE MOST DIVERSE AGENCY WHEN YOU LOOK THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF THINGS THAT WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR, NOT THE LARGEST THE MOST DIVERSE. BY FAR, BUT MAYBE THE MOST DIVERSE. AMY: RIGHT, LOT OF TENTACLES OUT THERE. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: FOR SURE. AMY: WELL, YOU JUST — YOU RECENTLY ATTENDED THE AGRICULTURE TRADE CONFERENCE. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: I JUST GOT BACK FROM THAT. THAT’S CORRECT. AMY: AND I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD SHARE WITH US SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THAT CONFERENCE. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: OH, SURE. WELL, THE BIG HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY WAS GOVERNOR MCAULIFFE ANNOUNCING THAT VIRGINIA HAD ONCE AGAIN BROKEN THE EXPORT RECORD FOR VIRGINIA. I BELIEVE IT WAS $3.35 — I BELIEVE, YEAH $3.35 BILLION WORTH OF EXPORTS LAST YEAR, WHICH IS ABOUT A 14% INCREASE FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR. AMY: WHICH WAS AN INCREASE FROM THE YEAR BEFORE. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: YEAH. I THINK SINCE 2010, IT’S BEEN AN OVERALL INCREASE. GOVERNOR MCAULIFFE KEEPS SAYING HE WANTS US TO BE THE NUMBER ONE EXPORTER OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS ON THE EAST COAST. AMY: HE’S A BIG GUNNER FOR THAT, AND I THINK THAT IS GREAT. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: HE IS A BIG CHEERLEADER FOR AGRICULTURE, AND WE SURPASSED NORTH CAROLINA THIS YEAR, SO WE’RE NUMBER TWO. AMY: WOW. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: SO, I THINK WE’RE TELLING GEORGIA WATCH OUT. AMY: THAT’S RIGHT. WE’RE GOING TO STEP INTO THAT NUMBER ONE SPOT BEFORE TOO LONG. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: RIGHT. WHAT I ALSO LEARNED WAS, IN ADDITION TO SURPASSING THE RECORD AND HAVING RECORD NUMBER OF EXPORTS, IT WAS ALSO A YEAR WHEN THE PRICES FOR CORN AND SOYBEANS WERE DOWN, SO IF COMMODITY PRICES HAD BEEN HIGHER THERE’S ROOM FOR GROWTH. THERE’S DEFINITELY ROOM FOR GROWTH. AMY: THAT’S TRUE. ABSOLUTELY. I WANTED TO TALK TO YOU A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HEMP. WE WERE TALKING ABOUT DIVERSITY AND SEVERAL WEEKS AGO WE TALKED TO THE FOUNDER OF THE VIRGINIA INDUSTRIAL HEMP COALITION. AND IT MADE ME REALIZE THE POTENTIAL THAT’S THERE FOR, ESPECIALLY — I KEEP THINKING ABOUT OUR SOUTHWESTERN FARMERS WHO ARE NOT GROWING AND SELLING TOBACCO LIKE THEY DID YEARS AND YEARS AGO. THIS GIVES THEM SOMETHING TO GROW, SOMETHING THAT THEY CAN ACTUALLY MAKE MONEY ON AGAIN. AND ARE THERE ANY OTHER CROPS THAT ARE ON THE HORIZON THAT WE’RE SEEING THAT MIGHT HELP US DIVERSIFY EVEN FURTHER? COMMISSIONER ADAMS: I DON’T KNOW IF — OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD I CAN’T THINK OF ANOTHER CROP THAT’S ON THE HORIZON I THINK INDUSTRIAL HEMP IS DEFINITELY THE BIG ONE RIGHT NOW. THIS YEAR WE’RE JUST GOING TO BE LOOKING AT, ACTUALLY WHAT THEY — THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PASSED AND WHAT’S IN THE FARM BILL GIVES US THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO RESEARCH FOR INDUSTRIAL HEMP AND WE’LL BE WORKING WITH THE UNIVERSITIES THAT ARE INTERESTED. OF COURSE, I THINK VIRGINIA — I KNOW VIRGINIA TECH, PROBABLY VIRGINIA STATE HAVE AN INTEREST IN DOING RESEARCH FOR INDUSTRIAL HEMP. AMY: SO, FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE AS COMMISSIONER, WHAT DO YOU THINK ONE OF OUR BIGGEST HURDLES IS THAT WE NEED TO GET OVER IN AGRICULTURE TO HELP US CONTINUE TO GROW? COMMISSIONER ADAMS: I THINK THE BIGGEST HURDLE RIGHT NOW IS THE PERCEPTION OR I GUESS I SHOULD SAY MISCONCEPTION ON AGRICULTURE. I THINK WE’VE GOTTEN AWAY, A LOT OF THE URBAN AREAS HAVE, WE’VE GOTTEN SO FAR AWAY NOW FROM, LIKE MYSELF PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T GROW UP ON A FARM AND WEREN’T THAT CLOSE TO AGRICULTURE, ALTHOUGH MY MOTHER DID GROW UP ON A FARM SO I HAVE SOME CONNECTION THERE, BUT PEOPLE JUST DON’T KNOW WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES FROM AND THEY HAVE PERCEPTIONS OF WHAT AGRICULTURE IS. AND UNFORTUNATELY, I THINK, SOMETIMES WE HEAR PEOPLE SAY PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE AND FACTORY FARM ALMOST IN THE SAME SENTENCE AND I’VE HAD THE GREAT OPPORTUNITY IN MY JOB TO GO OUT AND VISIT SO MANY DIFFERENT FARMS, CROP, YOU KNOW, FARMS THAT ARE GROWING CROPS, I’VE BEEN IN POULTRY HOUSES, I’VE BEEN TO DAIRY FARMS, AND I HAVEN’T SEEN ANYTHING THAT LOOKS LIKE A FACTORY. ALL THE LIVESTOCK ARE SO WELL TAKEN CARE OF. I MEAN, THEY LOOK LIKE THEY’RE LIVING THE HAPPY LIFE TO ME. AMY: ABSOLUTELY. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: AND EVEN THOUGH THERE’S A LOT OF PRODUCTION GOING ON OUT THERE, YOU KNOW, IT IS WHAT YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU THOUGHT OF A TRADITIONAL FARM, AT LEAST WHEN I WAS GROWING UP. SO, I THINK WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO EDUCATE THE FARMERS, WHEN I SAY WE, THE AGENCY CAN HELP IN THAT RESPECT, AND WE TRY THROUGH OUR WEBSITE AND SOME OTHER MEANS BUT I THINK THE AG INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE IN VIRGINIA JUST NEEDS TO DO A BETTER JOB OF NOT SELLING THEMSELVES FROM THE AMOUNT OF PRODUCTS THAT THEY SELL BUT SELLING THEMSELVES FROM HERE IS WHERE YOUR FOOD COMES FROM AND IT’S A GOOD PLACE. AMY: AND THE QUALITY OF FOOD THAT WE’RE GROWING AND PRODUCING HERE IN THE COMMONWEALTH. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: EXACTLY. AMY: ANOTHER ISSUE I SEE US HAVING IN VIRGINIA AGRICULTURE, AND AS A NATION AS A WHOLE HONESTLY, IS THE AGE OF OUR FARMERS IS AROUND 60. AND I DON’T SEE WHERE WE HAVE A LOT OF YOUNG FOLKS BEING INTERESTED IN FILLING THOSE FARMER’S SHOES. HOW DO WE FIX THAT PROBLEM? HOW DO WE GET THOSE YOUNG FOLK BACK INTO AG? COMMISSIONER ADAMS: WELL, YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. I THINK THE AVERAGE AGE OF THE FARMER HERE IN VIRGINIA NOW IS ALMOST 60, 59 ½ YEARS OLD, AND IT SEEMS TO BE CREEPING UP A LITTLE BIT. I THINK THAT THE THING THAT’S POSITIVE RIGHT NOW IS AG EDUCATION AND FOOD- RELATED — FOOD, I GUESS, NUTRITION CLASSES, MORE AND MORE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE ENTERING THOSE CLASSES NOW. THE NUMBERS ARE UP AT VIRGINIA STATE AND VIRGINIA TECH, KIDS — YOUNG, I GUESS ADULTS THAT WANT TO GET INTO AGRICULTURE AND SO THAT’S A POSITIVE THING. WE ALSO HERE AT THE AGENCY HAVE WORKED WITH FARM BUREAU ON A FARMLINK PROGRAM SO THERE’S A CAPABILITY NOW. IT’S — WE HAVEN’T GOTTEN TO THE PERFECT MATCH YET, BUT IF YOU’RE AN OLDER FARMER AND YOU DON’T HAVE ANYONE IN YOUR FAMILY THAT WANTS TO TAKE ON THE FAMILY FARM AND CONTINUE THAT, THEN YOU CAN PUT YOUR NAME OUT THERE ON A LIST OF FARMS THAT ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE. BECAUSE I’VE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK TO A FEW FARMERS WHO’VE SAID, YOU KNOW, MY KIDS AREN’T INTERESTED IN COMING BACK TO THE FARM OR I DON’T HAVE ANY CHILDREN THAT, YOU KNOW, CAN COME BACK TO THE FARM BUT YET I DON’T WANT MY FARM TO END WITH ME. SO, THEY CAN PUT THEIR NAME, I GUESS, ON A SO-CALLED IN FARMLINK AND THEN YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN GOING INTO FARMING CAN ALSO PUT THEIR NAMES INTO FARMLINK. AMY: SO, IT CONNECTS THE TWO? COMMISSIONER ADAMS: AND IT WILL CONNECT AND WE HAVE — VIRGINIA TECH DOES SOME CLASSES FOR US. OUR OFFICE OF FARMLAND PRESERVATION WORKS WITH THEM AND ALSO DOES SOME CLASSES AND EDUCATION ON — IF YOU WANTED TO GET INTO FARMING, HERE’S SOME WAYS YOU CAN DO IT. AND I THINK, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE WANT TO GET BACK TO THE FARM NOW. YOU HEAR PEOPLE THAT SAY I WANT TO KNOW WHERE MY FOOD COMES FROM BUT I WANT GROW MY OWN FOOD AND I WANT TO GROW IT FOR MY NEIGHBORS. AND THE INTERESTING THING I’VE FOUND WITH A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL SAY, WELL, I WANT TO GET INTO FARMING, HOW CAN I DO THAT? AND SO I’LL TELL THEM ABOUT THE FARMLINK PROGRAM AND TO CALL OUR OFFICE OF FARMLAND PRESERVATION AND I’LL SAY, WELL, WHAT KIND OF FARMING DO YOU WANT TO GET INTO? AND THEY’LL GO WELL I DON’T KNOW, I’M THINKING MAYBE THIS OR I’M THINKING MAYBE THAT. AMY: RIGHT. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: YOU NEED TO MAKE THAT DECISION FIRST. AMY: EXACTLY, BUT WHAT A GREAT PROGRAM TO — WE GET BACK TO THE SUPPLY AND DEMAND, YOU KNOW, YOU’VE GOT TWO PEOPLE WHO NEED THINGS AND YOU’RE CONNECTING THOSE TWO AND THAT’S A REALLY GREAT PROGRAM. AND I ALSO THINK ANOTHER PROGRAM THAT YOU ALL ARE INVOLVED WITH IS AG IN THE CLASS. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: YES, WE ARE. AMY: AND I THINK THAT PROGRAM HAS REALLY DONE SOME MAGNIFICENT THINGS. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: IT HAS. AND WE’VE GOT AG LITERACY WEEK, AND SO WE HAVE ABOUT 50 PEOPLE IN THE AGENCY AND SECRETARIAT THAT WILL BE OUT READING TO SCHOOLS AND HOPING TO EDUCATE THE CHILDREN AT THE SECOND AND THIRD GRADE LEVEL AND YOUNGER ABOUT AGRICULTURE AND GET THAT INTEREST INVOLVED. AMY: AND YOU KNOW, I ALWAYS SAY THAT’S THE EASY PART, BECAUSE KIDS ARE NATURALLY CURIOUS, THEY WANT TO KNOW, THEY LOVE TO PET THE ANIMALS. THEY LOVE TO GET DIRTY, GET THEIR HANDS IN THE GARDEN BUT I THINK EDUCATING ADULTS IS JUST AS NECESSARY, AND I THINK SOMETIMES THAT’S A LITTLE HARDER BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT USED TO HEARING, OH, WAIT, YOU KNOW, THAT MILK DOESN’T COME OFF THE SHELF AT THE GROCERY STORE. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: THAT’S RIGHT. AMY: YEAH. WELL, AS COMMISSIONER, DO YOU HAVE ANY GOALS SET IN PLACE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO ACHIEVE DURING YOUR TIME IN OFFICE? COMMISSIONER ADAMS: WELL, OF COURSE OUR MISSION IS TO PROMOTE THE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF VIRGINIA AGRICULTURE, AND WE SUPPORT — SECRETARY HAYMORE IS FOR AND FOREMOST ON TRADE AND DOMESTICALLY TO SELLING OUR PRODUCTS SO MY GOAL IS JUST TO SUPPORT THAT EFFORT AND ONE OF THE BEST BENEFITS OF WORKING AT THIS AGENCY IS THE GREAT STAFF THAT WE HAVE. SO, MY GOAL IS JUST TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CONTINUE TO HAVE THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN PLACE TO SUPPORT THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY AND TO PROVIDE CONSUMER PROTECTION TO OUR CITIZENS. WE LIKE TO BRAG A LITTLE BIT, WE’RE OFTEN KNOWN AS THE BEST MANAGED AGENCY IN STATE GOVERNMENT. AMY: WOW. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: I’M NOT SURE THAT EVERY AGENCY WOULD AGREE WITH THIS BUT WE HAVE HEARD THAT AND SO I WANT TO KEEP — AMY: THAT’S A NICE FEATHER IN YOUR HAT. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: YEAH, IF WE’RE NOT NUMBER ONE, WE WANT TO STAY UP AT THE TOP, TO BE THE BEST MANAGED STATE AGENCY, BUT WE WANT TO DO THAT BY SUPPORTING OUR CITIZENS AND SUPPORTING OUR FARMERS, AND ONE OF MY GOALS IN DOING THAT IS TO INCREASE OUR TECHNOLOGY A LITTLE BIT. WE’VE HAD A ROUGH TIME BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE A LOT OF STAFFING IN TECHNOLOGY. WE HAVE GREAT STAFF BUT NOT A LOT OF THEM. WE’VE ACTUALLY JUST STARTED A PROJECT TO REVAMP OUR WEBSITE BECAUSE OF THE DIVERSITY OF THE AGENCY FOR ONE THING, AND WE HAVE SO MUCH INFORMATION OUT THERE, BUT IT’S NOT ALWAYS THE EASIEST TO FIND IT. SO, WE’RE WORKING ON A PROJECT NOW THAT WE JUST KICKED OFF IN RECENT WEEKS TO REVAMP OUR WEBSITE AND WE’RE ALSO WORKING ON WAYS THAT IF PEOPLE HAVE TO DO A REGISTRATION THROUGH US FOR A LICENSE OR AN INSPECTOR’S LICENSE OR TO REGISTER A PRODUCT, WE’RE WORKING ON FINDING A WAY FOR THEM TO DO THAT ELECTRONICALLY WITH THE LEAST AMOUNT — WITH THE BEST EASE FOR THEM AND THE LEAST AMOUNT OF TROUBLE. AMY: AND THERE REALLY IS, I MEAN, FROM FOOD FESTIVALS AND ANY TYPE OF THING YOU NEED TO REGISTER FOR OR — IT’S JUST WONDERFUL. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: OR IF YOU WANT TO BUY A PRODUCT DIRECTLY FROM THE FARM, IT’S OUT THERE, IF YOU WANT TO BUY A VIRGINIA FINEST SPECIALTY FOOD, IT’S THERE. YOU GO TO VIRGINIAGROWN.COM, WHICH YOU CAN GET OFF FROM OUR WEBSITE, AND YOU CAN GO SEE WHERE THE PICK YOUR OWN FARMS ARE. SO, YEAH, IT’S A WEALTH OF INFORMATION, BUT WE WANT TO MAKE IT EASIER TO FIND THE INFORMATION ONCE YOU GET THERE. AMY: RIGHT, AND THAT WEBSITE IS VDACS.VIRGINIA.GOV. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: CORRECT AND VIRGINIA IS SPELLED OUT. AMY: OK, WELL, WE CERTAINLY APPRECIATE ALL THAT YOU’RE DOING FOR VIRGINIA AGRICULTURE AND CONTINUE TO DO THE GOOD WORK. COMMISSIONER ADAMS: WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, AMY. AMY: WE’LL BE RIGHT BACK. AMY: IT’S TIME TO START THINKING ABOUT WHAT TO PLANT IN YOUR GARDEN. TODAY, CHRIS MULLINS HAS TIPS ON PLANTING AND GROWING BLACKBERRIES, FROM THE GROUND UP — UP. CHRIS: HI. TODAY WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT BLACKBERRIES. AS YOU CAN SEE BESIDE ME HERE WE’VE GOT SOME BEAUTIFUL PLANTS FULL OF FRUIT, READY TO GO AND ALL THIS FRUIT SHOWS YOU THAT THESE PLANTS CAN BE A GREAT ADDITION TO THE HOME GARDEN. THEY’RE VERY PRODUCTIVE. A HOME GARDENER COULD PROBABLY GET 10 TO 20 POUNDS FOR EACH PLANT OVER THE GROWING SEASON. SO, THEY’RE A VERY NICE PLANT, NOT TOO MUCH DISEASE AND INSECT PROBLEMS. THEY’RE PERENNIAL CROPS, SO THEY’RE GOING TO BE HERE FOR A LONG TIME FOR YOU IN THE GARDEN. ONE THING YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THOUGH IF YOU’RE GOING TO PLANT BLACKBERRIES IS SITE SELECTION. AND ONE OF THE THINGS YOU NEED IS A SITE THAT’S GOT FULL SUN. AND YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT, AS THESE PLANTS GET BIGGER, HAVING PLENTY OF ROOM. YOU DON’T WANT TO PUT THEM TOO CLOSE. YOU CAN SEE THESE ROWS ARE ABOUT TEN FEET APART AND SPACING WITHIN THE ROW IS ABOUT FOUR TO FIVE FEET BETWEEN EACH PLANT. SO, PLENTY OF SPACE AND FULL SUN, AND THAT’S A GOOD SITE FOR BLACKBERRIES. NOW LET’S GO AT HOW WE MIGHT START PLANTING THESE PLANTS. WELL, AS YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT PLANTING, ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS YOU NEED ARE PLANTS. AND YOU CAN BUY BARE ROOTED PLANTS THAT CAN BE PUT IN THE GROUND IN A LOT VIRGINIA IN MARCH AND POTTED PLANTS WITH THE ROOT BALL ATTACHED COULD BE PUT IN AFTER THE LAST FROST. THEY CAN BE PUT IN THE GROUND THAT’S GOT A PH OF ABOUT 6-5 TO 7. SANDY SOIL IS VERY GOOD, HEAVIER SOILS, IF YOU CAN MEND IT WITH SOME ORGANIC MATTER, WILL DO VERY WELL FOR BLACKBERRIES. BLACKBERRY PLANTS CAN REQUIRE A LOT OF WATER THROUGHOUT THE SEASON, AND THIS IS ONE WAY TO IRRIGATE OR PROVIDE WATER IS THROUGH THIS DRIP IRRIGATION LINE. WATER COMES DOWN HERE AND DRIPS OUT RIGHT AT THE BASE OF THE PLANT. BUT THEY MIGHT REQUIRE AS MUCH AS ONE INCH A WEEK DURING THE GROWING SEASON, AND ANOTHER THING THAT HELPS KEEP THAT MOISTURE IN IS MULCH. THE MULCH THAT YOU SEE HERE IS A HARDWOOD MULCH, AND IT CAN BE APPLIED TO THE SURFACE HERE. IT’LL OF COURSE KEEP WEEDS DOWN AND MORE PROBABLY IMPORTANTLY IT WILL KEEP THAT SOIL MOISTURE IN THE GROUND. A COUPLE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BLACKBERRIES. SOME HAVE THORNS ON THE STEM. THORNE WAS VARIETIES — THORN LESS TYPES CAN BE GOOD FOR HOME FARMERS. SOME PRODUCE MID-SUMMER, SOME LATE SUMMER. YOU COULD HAVE A LONG RANGE OF HARVEST THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE SUMMER. NOW, ONE THING THAT BLACKBERRIES NEED ARE GOING TO BE A TRELLIS SYSTEM. THESE PLANTS GROW UP, BUT THEY WILL FALL OVER SO THEY NEED TO BE TRELLISED UP ON WIRES. WHAT YOU SEE HERE IS A TRELLIS SYSTEM, THAT’S CALLED A V TRELLIS SYSTEM AND IT HAS WIRES, ABOUT 6 WIRES, HIGH INTENSE — HIGH TENSILE WIRE. AND THEY ARE GOING TO BE HOLDING UP THE CANES, AS THEY GO UP, THE CANES ARE TIED TO THESE WIRES AND IT JUST SUPPORTS THEM, KEEPS THEM FROM FALLING DOWN, GIVES YOU A LOT OF AIR MOVEMENT THROUGH THERE SO YOU WILL HAVE LESS DISEASE PROBLEMS. THIS IS SOMETHING YOU CAN BUILD THE FIRST SEASON. IT CAN BE AN IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR BLACKBERRY PRODUCTION AREA IN YOUR GARDEN. AFTER YOU HAVE DONE ALL THIS WORK, ONE THING THAT YOU GET TO ENJOY ARE THE FRUITS OF YOUR LABOR. THESE BEAUTIFUL, LARGE SIZED BLACKBERRIES, SWEET AND JUICY, READY-TO-EAT FOR YOU AND YOUR NEIGHBORS. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BLACKBERRY PRODUCTION, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL COUNTY EXTENSION OFFICE. FROM FROM THE GROUND UP, I’M CHRIS MULLINS, WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME. AMY: TAKING A LOOK AT THE AG CALENDAR, THE TASTE OF SPRING FESTIVAL WILL BE HELD APRIL 11 AT THE TIDES INN IN IRVINGTON. CELEBRATE ALL THINGS SPRING WITH VIRGINIA CRAFT BEERS, HARD CIDERS, WINES, AND REGIONAL FARE FROM AREA RESTAURANTS AND FOOD VENDORS. MORE EVENTS ARE HAPPENING IN THE DAYS PRIOR, SO BE SURE TO VISIT TIDESINN.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION. THAT DOES IT FOR OUR SHOW. THANKS FOR WATCHING AND HAVE A GREAT WEEK. I’M AMY ROSCHER FOR “VIRGINIA FARMING.” YOU BY THE VIRGINIA FARM BUREAU. FROM APPLES TO ZUCCHINI, VIRGINIA FARMERS WORK YEAR ROUND — WORK HARD TO PUT FOOD ON YOUR TABLE AND FARM BUREAU WORKS YEAR ROUND TO HELP FARMERS AND ALL VIRGINIANS. FARMING — IT’S ALL GOOD. TO LEARN MORE, GO TO VAFARMBUREAU.ORG. [CAPTIONING PERFORMED BY THE NATIONAL CAPTIONING INSTITUTE, WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS CAPTION CONTENT AND ACCURACY. VISIT NCICAP.ORG]>>CHECK OUT “VIRGINIA FARMING” ON FACEBOOK. IT’S A GREAT WAY TO STAY CONNECTED. YOU MIGHT EVEN FIND SOME HUMOR THERE. YOU WILL FIND LINKS TO EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS ALL AROUND THE COMMONWEALTH THAT ARE OF INTEREST TO FARMERS AND CONSUMERS ALIKE. CONNECT WITH US AND SHARE YOUR STORIES AND PHOTOS WITH THE “VIRGINIA FARMING” COMMUNITY. KEEP UP-TO-DATE ON ALL THINGS AGRICULTURE. “VIRGINIA FARMING” ON FACEBOOK.>>WE ALL WANT HEALTHY RIVERS AND STREAMS, BUT WE CAN’T DO THAT WITHOUT HELP FROM VIRGINIA’S LANDOWNERS. RESORTS MANAGEMENT PLAN — RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLANS ARE PART OF A PROGRAM THAT HELPS FARMERS GET CREDIT FOR CLEANING UP OUR WATER. ONCE YOU HAVE AN RMP YOU ARE EXEMPT FROM OTHER — NEW LEGISLATIONS FOR NINE YEARS. CONTACT THE DEPARTMENT TO LEARN MORE.>>THIS MESSAGE SPONSORED BY VIRGINIA’S AGRICULTURE COMMUNITY.

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