Farm to Table Dinner Exploring Local Benefits of Land Protection
On April 10, 2013, Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Matt Lohr was the featured speaker at a Shenandoah Forum Farm to Table dinner on the local benefits of land conservation held at the Edinburg Mill.
Conserving our working land is essential to maintaining a vibrant and healthy agricultural economy and maintaining our high quality of life. The evening's speakers discussed the community-wide benefits of land protection programs, both in supporting the agricultural, forestry, and tourism sectors of our economy and in keeping taxes low.
Virginia Commissioner Lohr, who also manages his family’s 250 acre Century Farm in Rockingham County, described the state’s Farmland Preservation Program and his own family’s consideration of a conservation easement.
Mike Kane with the Piedmont Environmental Council joined the panel to build the case that funding and managing a preservation program has proven to be good for the taxpayer, good for the landowner and good for the local economy. George Ohrstrom, current Planning Commission Chairman in Clarke County, shared the prospective of managing a successful program using modest local funds to leverage substantial benefits and built broad community-wide support.
We also heard from Ken Smith, a dairy farmer and operator of the Moo-Thru Dairy Barn near Remington in Fauquier County. Mr. Smith told us how the county’s Purchase of Development Rights program helped to stabilize the local dairy industry and led to his investment in the value-added retail business.
Moo-Thru’s celebrated ice cream was served as part of a dinner provided by local farms, Country Rhodes and Swover Creek Farm along with coffee from Cabin Creek Roasters.
The evening started at 5:00pm with the viewing of a special exhibit “Shenandoah County’s Rural Heritage and Landscapes”, featuring artwork by local artists visualizing our working farms and rural landscapes.
Shenandoah Forum’s farm-to-table dinner series originated in 2010 and aims to provide accurate, useful and balanced information on planning for the future of our community. The events are open to the public and available free of charge.