Loudoun photo by Susan VanEpps
Loudoun Producer                                                                     December 2015

Save These Dates
Loudoun Economic Development offers educational events for farmers, and promotional tools to help boost your business. We look forward to having you participate in the events and activities below. 

January 26
Blue Ridge Cattlemen's Association Annual Meeting
March 11
Forum for Rural Innovation
March 16
Apply to Be Included in the Spring Farm Tour Brochure
March 24
Loudoun County Equine Alliance Annual Meeting
April 5
Virginia Wine Summit

May 21-22
Spring Farm Tour
August 17
Apply to Be Included in the Fall Farm Tour Brochure
October 14
Apply to Be Included in the Holiday Greens Brochure
October 15-16
Fall Farm Tour
November 11
Brochure Comes Out: "Christmas in the Loudoun Valleys: 2016 Guide to Trees, Greens, Holiday Floral Products and Activities"

Do you have an event for the public that you'd like listed on LoudounFarms.org? Contact Cassie Walls.

Loudoun Welcomes Pilot Malt House to Growing Brewery Industry
According to Black Hops Farm's Jonathan Staples, Loudoun County may now be the only place in the world with a hops processing plant and a malt house working side-by-side on the same property.
On December 10, the Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, Todd Haymore, announced that the Michigan-based company Pilot Malt House is investing almost $1 million on a new facility in Loudoun County.
"Pilot Malt House will close the missing link in Loudoun's farm brewery industry," says Loudoun Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer.
"We will now have the ability to malt locally grown grain right here in our county. Pilot Malt House will allow more investment to stay in Loudoun, and will ensure that Virginia's craft beer industry is heavily rooted in Loudoun's rural economy," Rizer explains.

Raise a Glass to Loudoun County Wineries
In November, Loudoun County hosted the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference, a premier industry networking and marketing event. Virginia is the fifth-largest wine producing state in the U.S. and Loudoun is its first county to host this event.

Loudoun Economic Development was a sponsor for the conference, working closely with Visit Loudoun and other local entities to promote the county's 43 farm wineries to conference attendees.

Agricultural Development Officer Kellie Boles was a speaker at the lunch sponsored by Economic Development at Stone Tower Winery on Nov. 19

Learn More 

Cattlemen's Association: A Model for Success
In 2003, when Gary Hornbaker started working at Loudoun Economic Development, one of his first projects was creating the Loudoun Cattlemen's Association. In the 12 years since, the group has grown more than tenfold, drawing a cross-section of cattlemen, veterinarians and landowners from six counties and rebranding itself as the Blue Ridge Cattlemen's Association.

Even though the name and numbers have changed dramatically, the founding principles are more important than ever: providing an opportunity to network and share information.

"One of the missions is that there be some sort of educational program with each meeting," Hornbaker explained. "A lot of times we'll have a short program, 15-20 minutes. We always eat a really, really nice prime rib dinner. Then we let them talk and network, exchange information. That's what has made the thing grow."

The association holds at least three meetings each year, with the spring and fall meetings at member farms. The upcoming annual meeting will be held at the Whitestone Farm in Aldie, Va., on January 26, 2016. 

Farm-Seekers Program
Program connected Charlie Case with Loudoun property owner Gene Scheel.
"There are two types of people we're targeting: those with land, and those who want land. This land-linking service is kind of like Match.com for farmers," said Kellie Boles, Loudoun's agricultural development officer. Boles is referring to the Virginia Farm Bureau's Certified Farm Seekers Program.
Loudoun Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer explained, "This program is for people who'd love to run a farm, but who just can't afford the start-up costs yet. They'll be matched with landowners who want to lease land that's not being used for agricultural production, or hand off the day-to-day operation of their farms to energetic young visionaries."
Landowners can increase the value of their land by leasing it to beginning farmers to grow crops or livestock. For the new farmers, leasing land helps lower their risk, while increasing their chances of earning a profit much sooner than if they had to buy land and equipment. In cases where the entrepreneur leases from an experienced farmer, the leaser also benefits from the owner's knowledge and expertise.
"New farmers need land to start their business." Boles said. Knowing that the high cost of land is the biggest barrier to starting a farming operation, it's essential to connect beginning farmers with land that is out of production, or to a farmer who is looking to transition out of full-time farming."
Here are details about how to participate in the program.

Where's Warren?
Did you find Warren?  In our fall issue Warren was at the Leesburg Farmers Market. Be sure to visit the Leesburg Saturday Winter Market which runs through December 26, 2015 from
9 a.m. until noon. Congratulations to our fall winner, Vicky, maker of Anna's Daughter jams, who frequently purchases blueberries from the Leesburg Farmers Market.

HINT: With the holidays around the corner, Warren set out to find his tree for the year; this Canaan Fir is a beauty. You can find this Lovettsville Farm, which grows trees and other produce, in the Christmas in Loudoun Valley Brochure. This farmer was also featured in a recent issue of Northern Virginia Magazine.  

Email us Warren's location by December 23 and be entered to win a jar of Anna's Daughter Homemade Pear Cinnamon Jam.


Loudoun Producer is published three times per year: the October issue is printed, and December and February issues will be sent by email.