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Virginia Sustainable Farms and Agribusiness Education

An educational webinar series for farms and agribusinesses

Farmer stands in the middle of a field operating a drone.
September 24, 2019- The Bunn family uses drone technology to monitor crops on their farm in Dublin, Virginia. (Jeff Greenough for Virginia Tech)

“Sustainability” has become a buzzword, overused and often misunderstood. While resource conservation and environmental protection are important components, long-run economic viability and social responsibility are also essential factors to developing and maintaining a sustainable farm or agribusiness.

Join us for a webinar series developed by the Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics as we get to the heart of what sustainability is and what it looks like for your farm and agribusiness. 

*Note that each webinar requires pre-registration - click on the links in "program schedule" table below to register.

We will share insights on how to improve your farm’s or agribusiness’ economic, environmental, and social responsibility and to market the sustainable practices you undertake. The content we will present draws on current and cutting-edge research findings on sustainable farms and food generated by researchers and industry partners within Virginia’s SmartFarm Innovation Network. The program will support both beginning farmers in search of basic information about business management, and long-time farmers seeking to improve their economic viability, environmental sustainability, or social responsibility. Please register for each webinar you would like to attend using the links in the program schedule below.

John Bovay portrait

Dr. John Bovay, Assistant Professor and Program Host

John Bovay is an assistant professor in the Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. As extension lead, he coordinates the department’s extension and outreach programs. His research focuses on the economics of food and agricultural policy in the United States, and has written research papers on topics such as the economics of food-safety regulation, food labeling, and food waste, and analysis of voting on regulations affecting farms and food. Bovay received his B.A. from Washington and Lee in 2007 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, in 2014. He then worked as a researcher at the USDA Economic Research Service and as an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut before returning to Virginia in 2019. 

The Virginia Sustainable Farms and Agribusiness Education Initiative consists mainly of webinars on a variety of topics related to the various aspects of sustainable farm and business management. The webinars are organized under 5 topic areas or modules. Click on the topics below to view handouts (reading material) that accompany each webinar. These resources can be used as convenient references. 

Webinar and handout topic areas/modules:

  1. Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Profit
  2. Production Risks, Crop Insurance, and New Technologies
  3. Marketing Risks, Quality Standards, and Local Foods
  4. Financial Risks and Evaluating Investments
  5. Legal Risks and Social Responsibility

Webinar schedule:

Module #

Date

Time

Topic

Presenter

Registration Link

1

Tuesday, January 19

4:00pm

Business goals and sustainability

John Bovay

Business goals and sustainability webinar Zoom

1

Monday, January 25

4:00pm

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a business strategy

John Bovay

CSR as a business strategy Zoom

1

Monday, February 1

4:00pm

Profit and cost

John Bovay

Profit and cost Zoom

1

Thursday, February 4

2:00pm

Pricing strategies

Tim Pierce

Pricing strategies Zoom

2, 3

Tuesday, February 9

12:30pm

Animal welfare standards and marketing

Leonie Jacobs, John Bovay

Animal welfare standards and marketing Zoom

2

Tuesday, February 16

4:00pm

Crop insurance

John Bovay

Crop insurance Zoom

2, 3

Monday, February 22

4:00pm

Non-GMO, GMO, and bioengineered food labeling requirements

John Bovay

Non-GMO, GMO, and bioengineered food labeling requirements Zoom

2

Monday, March 1

4:00pm

Greenhouse horticulture

Rosa Raudales (University of Connecticut)

Greenhouse horticulture Zoom

3

Thursday, March 4

2:00pm

Essentials of marketing farm and food products

Tim Pierce

Essentials of marketing farm and food products Zoom

3

Wednesday, March 10

1:00pm

Direct marketing to consumers through farmers' markets and other channels

Zoë Plakias (The Ohio State University)

Direct marketing through farmers' markets and other channels Zoom

3

Monday, March 15

4:00pm

Government and private third-party quality labels

John Bovay

Government and private third-party quality labels Zoom

4

Thursday, March 18

1:00pm

Business financing

Jenny Ifft (Kansas State University)

Business financing Zoom

4

Monday, March 22

4:00pm

Breakeven analysis, income statements, and balance sheets

John Bovay

Breakeven analysis, income statements, and balance sheets Zoom

4

 

Thursday, March 25

 

4:00pm

 

Wind, solar, and geothermal energy production on farms

 

Josh Ignosh

Wind, solar, and geothermal energy production on farms Zoom

5

Monday, March 29

4:00pm

Food safety regulations

John Bovay

Food safety regulations Zoom

5

Monday, April 5

4:00pm

Environmental regulations and conservation incentives

John Bovay

Environmental regulations and conservation incentives Zoom

5

Monday, April 12

4:00pm

Food waste, food prices, the environment, and hunger

John Bovay

Food waste, food prices, the environment and hunger Zoom

5

Monday, April 19

4:00pm

Food insecurity and hunger in Virginia

John Bovay

Food insecurity and hunger in Virginia

5

Monday, April 26

4:00pm

Marketing the health and nutrition benefits of food products

John Bovay

Marketing the health and nutrition benefits of food products Zoom

5

Thursday, April 29

4:00pm

Social responsibility and agricultural labor

Diane Charlton (Montana State University)

Social responsibility and agricultural labor Zoom

 

 

The Virginia Sustainable Farms and Agribusiness Education Initiative is supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2018-70027-28585.

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