Educational and Awareness Programming

WAG Breakout session

Educational and awareness programming are key to the ACRES initiative. These programs engage citizens in order to provide accessible and meaningful opportunities in agriculture and natural resources. The following is a comprehensive list of available opportunities as well as the direct service provider.

· Beef and Equine Discussion Groups
Producer groups meet monthly for a discussion of topics of their choosing.  VCE Agents facilitate their meetings and provide participating producers with research-based information as needed.  

· Soil Tests
Virginia Tech’s soil laboratory offers testing for macro and micronutrients, soil organic matter, and soluble salts.  The basic soil test (macro and micronutrients) is provided to commercial producers free-of-charge.  Soil testing is critical for on-farm nutrient management, as it allows producers to maximize yields without damaging the environment through excess applications of fertilizers.  

· Weed, Pest, and Disease Identification
Labs at Virginia Tech assist in the accurate identification of weeds, pests, and diseases.  This information is critical for determining appropriate control measures.  

· Pesticide Recommendations
Once a weed, pest, or disease has been identified, Extension Agents with a Category 10 Commercial Pesticide Certification can give control recommendations.  

· Private Pesticide Applicator Recertification
Private pesticide applicators who apply restricted use pesticides on crop land that they own or rent must be certified and renew their certification every two years.  Extension Agents offer recertification courses and can proctor exams.  
· Pesticide Recycling Program
Conducted in conjunction with VDACS, this is a free service that provides a convenient and environmentally friendly way to dispose of properly rinsed plastic pesticide containers.

· Pond Workshops
These pond-side programs generally cover water quality, weeds, weed management, fish population management and alternate uses of farm ponds.

· Women in Agriculture Conference
This event will provide female farmers, landowners, and agriculture enthusiasts with opportunities to network with peers, hone technical skills, and discuss solutions to the unique challenges they face.

· On-farm Variety Trials
On-farm variety trials allow producers to observe the performance of various varieties of a crop and engage collaboratively in the creation of research-based information.
· Educational resources are available through Public Utilities and the Virginia Department of Health as it pertains to well and septic systems.

· Public School Courses
Goochland County Public School System offers Agriscience to students in 8th grade. The following courses are available to students starting in 9th grade.

· Fish and Wildlife management, 1 section
· Introduction to Animal Systems,2 sections
· Applied Agricultural Concepts, 1 section