Southwest VA Summer Forage Tour
VFGC is pleased to invite you to join our 2024 Southwest Virginia Summer Forage Tour. This is a three-day tour of six cattle operations featuring a variety of forage systems.
Senah Farm, Burkes Garden
The Hanes family owns and operates Senah Farm, 700 acres of cool-season perennial pasture at 3,200 feet elevation. The farm purchases 300-400 stockers from the Hickory Gap sale each summer, which are then grazed through summer and sold as grass-fed. Senah Farm has worked hard to improve natural resources on the farm through extensive stream fencing and installation of a robust rotational grazing system. They have also installed a unique wetland reserve project on the farm to improve nesting, staging, and wintering habitat habitats for migratory waterbirds .
Friden Bros. Inc, Rosedale
Travis and Savannah Cox manage multiple farms in Southwest VA for Friden Bros Inc., a cattle procurement company out of Springfield, Minnesota. The farm we will be touring in Rosedale is a buying station that backgrounds roughly 1,200 calves on grass each summer. Travis and Savannah additionally manage 100 cow-calf pairs on the farm.
Wilson Cattle Co., Abingdon.
The Wilson Family owns and operates several farms near Abingdon. The farm we will be touring is a 300 head cow-calf operation, which is rotationally grazed on roughly 525 acres of cool-season pasture. Calves are preconditioned in feed barns and feed pads on the farm, and sold at 700 to 800 lbs. Adam Wilson is a director on the State Soil and Water Board and his family has worked hard to create a good rotational grazing system with centralized water sources. View more about the farm at: https://spotlights.dtnpf.com/abyfr/AW%202018.cfm or at
Windswept Farm, Woodlawn
Mark Strauss and his family graze stockers on their farm, and have worked diligently to improve the quality of forages to boost the performance of the livestock. In addition to converting from toxic to novel tall fescue, Mark has also established a variety of perennial native warm-season grasses. The combination provides a productive and nutritious forage base to maximize summer gains.
Four Winds Farm, Fries.
Danny Boyer and his family own and operate Four Winds Farm, a grass-fed cow-calf and finishing operation. In addition to managing for the production of diverse, high-quality forages, Danny has years of experience in implementing natural resource conservation practices and soil health principles on his farm. The farm is part of the Hickory Nut Gap network of farmers. View more about the farm at: https://foodsystems.centers.vt.edu/projects11/SoilConservationandPlace/DannyBoyer.html
Kegley Farm, Wytheville
Andy Kegley and his family own and operate a cow-calf operation just outside of Wytheville. Cattle are managed with rotational grazing on a combination of mixed cool-season pastures and native warm-season perennial grass pastures. This is a great opportunity to see strong stands of Switchgrass, Big Bluestem, Indiangrass, and to learn about the fine details of establishing an managing these grasses in a system.
What is included in my registration cost?
Registration cost includes pickup at our 3 pick-up locations, coach bus transport, hotel lodging, continental breakfasts on day 2 and 3, catered lunches all 3 days, and catered dinners on days 1 and 2.
How does couples vs. singles pricing work?
Due to extra expense of a single occupancy hotel room we have to charge more for those needing this option. Since it will save you money (and also because there are limited single occupancy rooms at the hotels at which will be staying), we encourage you to find a roommate. If you contact us, we may be able to help you find someone to consider rooming with.
What will the atmosphere be like?
Our goal is for this to be an enjoyable learning experience where you can fellowship with other producers who are dedicated to quality forage production on their farms. There will be no more than 60 farmers total attending the bus tour. The farms on the tour have been chosen for their work in managed grazing, animal husbandry, and natural resource conservation. You’ll also enjoy the beauty of Southwest Virginia’s best grass country.
Where are the tour pick-up locations on June 18th?
- Augusta County Government Center (13 Government Lane, Verona, VA 24482)
- Roanoke Road Park and Ride (39 Tinker Mountain Road, Daleville, VA 24083)
- Appalachian Regional Exposition Center (200 Apex Drive, Wytheville, VA 24382)
What else should I know about the trip logistics?
Pick-up on day 1 (June 18) will occur between 8 am and 2 pm, depending on which pick-up location you are using. Each pick-up location has been approved for vehicles to be left for the entirety of the tour.
Once everyone has been picked up, the tour on day 1 (Jun 18) will run from 2 – 8 pm, and we will spend the night in Claypool Hill. The tour on day 2 (Jun 19) will leave the hotel around 8 am and we will finish around – 8 pm, spending the night in Wytheville. The tour on Day 3 (Jun 20) will leave the hotel around 7:30 am and the tour will conclude around 2 pm. At that point, we will head to the drop-off locations, arriving at the Appalachian Regional Exposition Center (200 Apex Drive, Wytheville, VA 24382) around 2:30 pm; Roanoke Road Park and Ride (39 Tinker Mountain Road, Daleville, VA 24083) around 4:30; and Augusta County Government Center (13 Government Lane, Verona, VA) around 6:30.
Most of the travel in between tour stops will be under 1 hour, farm tours will be about 2 hours long each. We will eat lunch around 11:30 each day. Dinner will be no later than 6:30 pm each day. With lunches and dinners being catered on-farm, there will be no waiting for food, no crowds, and no tips required.
While touring the farms, participants should absolutely be prepared to walk up to several hundred yards and remain in the field for up to 2 hours.
Once you register, we will be able to keep you updated on more details. Please feel free to contact us with any questions. Matt Booher, 540-325-7503.