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Taking time out to celebrate agriculture

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The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reminds us this week that you don't have to live or work on a farm to celebrate Virginia Agriculture Week which is being celebrated March 16 – 22. As a release from the organization stated: "Every Virginian can and should get on the bandwagon. You eat here, don’t you? Then you have a reason to join the celebration."

Bedford County certainly has plenty to tout from its agriculture roots. Among the recent efforts is that Bedford County will take the lead in developing Virginia’s first community college level agriculture curriculum, that as a result of the $75,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.

The grant was awarded to Bedford County due to the leadership of the Agricultural Economic Development Advisory Board (Ag Board) and was the result of a joint effort between the Board and the Bedford Center of Central Virginia Community College.

Bedford County has a long and proud history in agriculture.

Here are some suggestions from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) for "fun, easy and inexpensive ways to applaud the contributions of the agriculture industry:"

— Prepare a delicious meal using products that have earned the right to be called Virginia’s Finest, a designation which is based on industry standards and approved by VDACS. This is the cream of Virginia’s agricultural crop, with choices ranging from luscious seafood and smoked ham to gourmet desserts and fresh-from-the-fields vegetables and fruits.

— Give flowers to someone special. Horticulture is a big part of the agriculture industry in Virginia, and what says Happy Ag Day better than roses, a plant or a new shrub for the front yard?

— Order a Virginia wine when you go out to dinner during Ag Week, or serve it when you have friends over. With so many Virginia wineries producing premium wines, you can make an excellent selection for any meal or occasion.

— Call or write for your free copy of the 2008 Virginia Grown Guide to Pick-Your-Own and Select-Your-Own Farm Products, which tells you when and where you can find the freshest and best Virginia produce, herbs, plants, honey, meats, seafood and more. Write VG Guide, VDACS, P. O. Box 1163, Richmond, Virginia 23218, e-mail vagrown@vdacs.virginia.gov or see the Guide online at www.virginiagrown.com.

— Plant some seeds. Because of the work of VDACS’ seed analysts, you know that the seeds you buy are true to variety and will germinate.

— Go horseback riding. The equine industry is an important part of Virginia agriculture, and many stable owners offer lessons on horsemanship and equitation.

— Visit one of Virginia’s many food festivals held throughout the year. The online Virginia Food Festival Directory lists dozens of events. Find out what’s on the menu at www.vdacs.virginia.gov/news/festival.shtml.

— Check out Ag Week information, agricultural news and a whole lot more by clicking on the VDACS Web site at www.vdacs.virginia.gov and the national Agriculture Day Web site at www.agday.org.