Saturday, 30 March 2013

Agriculture is big business in Southern Virginia

There's a good chance the milk in your refrigerator and the corn on your dinner table came from a farm in Southern Virginia.

"We milk 12 hundred three times a day here. We milk about 18 hours a day total," said Roy Vanderhyde, co-owner of Vanderhyde Dairy Farm in Pittsylvania County.

The dairy produces ten thousand gallons of milk per day.

"It can go anywhere on the east coast. Anywhere from Ohio to Florida," Vanderhyde said.

It's the third largest dairy farm in Virginia and one of the most self-sustaining farms.

"We grow our own forage, we still buy a lot of grains. We'll feed in an excess of a million and a half pounds of feed a week here," Vanderhyde said.

He won't say exactly how much money he's generating but a study released this week on agribusiness proves his farming method is generously helping the economy.

More than seven thousand farmers in the Dan River Region account for more than $1 billion in sales and revenue.

More than $30 million of that total returns to the state.Half going to the state government, the other half going to Danville and Pittsylvania County.

Researchers from the University of Virginia monitored the farming economy in Southern Virginia for eight months.

"The numbers are extremely impressive. I figured and felt like they would be large numbers I just didn't know how large and then when they came back I was really blow away," said Freddie Wynder, Pittsylvania County's Agriculture Development Director.

The study also found job growth.

For every 10 jobs created on a farm, four more were created in the community.

Farmers are as successful as the weather will allow.

Last summer's drought and this year's excessive rain caused farmers to lose crops and increase prices.
Original Article Here

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