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Rural Stewardship in a Time of Crisis

Washington County, Virginia is home to abundant natural resources that include rivers, trails, lakes, and undeveloped land. These resources provide recreational opportunities for residents and visitors, support local economies, and are important to the cultural identity of the community. Earth Day provides an opportunity for the community to reflect on the importance of preserving these natural resources for future generations.

While industrialization, overconsumption of resources, reliance on fossil fuels, and outdated environmental policies have resulted in the depletion and degradation of natural resources. Washington County has an opportunity to make a commitment to balancing economic growth and environmental sustainability.

One example of how Washington County has started protecting the environment is through the work of the Virginia Cooperative Extension. The extension works with farmers and other community members to promote sustainable agriculture practices, and to reduce the impact of farming on the environment. They provide education and resources to help farmers implement best practices, such as nutrient management, integrated pest management, and conservation practices. Agriculture is the leading industry in Washington County and VCE plays a vital role in promoting environmentally friendly policies.

Did you know:

  • According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), as of 2017, there were 1,272 farms in Washington County, Virginia, covering a total of 200,000 acres; while the total market value of agricultural products sold in Washington County, Virginia was $45.4 million in 2017.

  • According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the agriculture and forestry industries in Washington County, Virginia contribute $114.7 million to the local economy and provide 1,020 jobs.

Agriculture plays an enormous role in the economy and culture of Washington County, Virginia. The community's reliance on agriculture makes environmental stewardship a must, and initiatives such as Earth Day provide an opportunity to promote sustainable agriculture practices and protect the natural resources that are critical to the industry's success.

Rural democratic values recognize and emphasize the importance of stewardship and responsibility towards our natural resources. Earth Day provides an opportunity to put these values into action. Preserving and protecting our natural resources can, and should be, an inter-generational undertaking. We look forward to seeing you at Earth Day!!


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