Celebrating agriculture, Virginia’s largest industry

Patrick County Farm Bureau volunteers are reading to students at all Patrick County elementary schools and donating the 2016 Book of the Year to kindergarten through third grade classes as well as the Patrick County Public Library.
Agriculture, America’s and Virginia’s largest industry, was celebrated during National Ag Week. March 15 was designated National Ag Day.
Virginia’s sixth annual Agriculture Literacy Project, formerly Agriculture Literacy Week, began during Ag Week and will conclude on March 31. Many county Farm Bureau volunteers and other members of the state’s agricultural community will visit their local schools to read the 2016 Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom Book of the Year. “The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen,” a children’s book by Diana Prichard, encourages young readers to consider how their favorite breakfast foods arrive on their plates.
The National Ag Day program encourages Americans to understand how food and fiber are produced; appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products; and value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy. In Virginia, some county Farm Bureaus will mark the occasion by donating nonperishable food items and other supplies and making monetary donations to regional food banks, local food pantries and Ronald McDonald Houses.
Agriculture Literacy Week expanded to two weeks due to its popularity and increased demand for volunteer readers. Last year 1,200 volunteers read to more than 50,000 children across the state.
“We’re proud to undertake all of these activities in our communities as a way to commemorate National Ag Week,” said Wayne F. Pryor, president of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and a Goochland County beef and grain producer. “We want everyone—starting with our youth—to understand the role farmers play in providing safe and affordable food and other products. This is our life’s work, we are blessed to be able to do it and we take it seriously.”
Virginia’s top 20 agricultural commodities in terms of cash receipts are broiler chickens ($649 million); cattle and calves ($434 million); milk ($358 million); turkeys ($324 million); soybeans ($302 million); greenhouse and nursery products ($272 million); corn for grain ($212 million); hay ($123 million); winter wheat ($109 million); tobacco ($109 million); eggs ($91 million); cotton lint ($69 million); fresh tomatoes ($62 million); hogs ($55 million); apples ($54 million); peanuts ($24 million); summer potatoes ($15 million); cottonseed ($12 million); barley ($12 million); and grapes ($11 million).

Pictured is Mrs. Epperly's class at Stuart Elementary School along with Sandra Heath, Patrick County Farm Bureau board member and volunteer, who read the 2016 Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom Book of the Year "The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen" to the class and to Stuart Elementary School's third graders
Pictured is Mrs. Epperly’s class at Stuart Elementary School along with Sandra Heath, Patrick County Farm Bureau board member and volunteer, who read the 2016 Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom Book of the Year “The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen” to the class and to Stuart Elementary School’s third graders
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