reception
Billy Gwaltney, left, of Indika Farms in Windsor, talks about how peanuts are processed. In front, from left, are Ned Jeter II of Roanoke, and Melanie and Michael Fink of Pennsylvania. -- STEPHEN H. COWLES | TIDEWATER NEWS
Billy Gwaltney, left, of Indika Farms in Windsor, talks about how peanuts are processed. In front, from left, are Ned Jeter II of Roanoke, and Melanie and Michael Fink of Pennsylvania. -- STEPHEN H. COWLES | TIDEWATER NEWS

Archived Story

Young farmers, ranchers tour Western Tidewater

Published 11:55am Wednesday, February 12, 2014

CARRSVILLE—Over 200 men and women participating in the 2014 Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Convention visited Western Tidewater on Monday. This was part of an industry tour sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation, according to C. Daryl Butler, Southeast District Field Services director for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

Jesse Gwaltney of Indika Farms explains the uses of equipment needed to harvest peanuts. Third from right is Rose Bradshaw Jeter, who’s originally from the Black Creek area of Southampton County. Ned, her husband, was also on the tour. -- STEPHEN H. COWLES | TIDEWATER NEWS
Jesse Gwaltney of Indika Farms explains the uses of equipment needed to harvest peanuts. Third from right is Rose Bradshaw Jeter, who’s originally from the Black Creek area of Southampton County. Ned, her husband, was also on the tour. — STEPHEN H. COWLES | TIDEWATER NEWS

“They got a taste of what agriculture is like in Western Tidewater,” said Butler, who explained the convention is an annual event, and that this was Virginia’s time to host. The first stop was a visit to ST Tissue in Isle of Wight County.

“ST Tissue is important to the forestry industry by recycling products consumers no longer have a use for,” he said. “ST Tissue is a critical part of Isle of Wight County’s and Virginia’s economic growth and future.”

Butler added his thanks to the company for hosting the Virginia is for Forestry and Agriculture tours.

Many of the people on the tour buses came from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. Among the latter was Rose Bradshaw Jeter, who’s originally from the Black Creek area of Southampton County; her parents are Betsy and Sam Bradshaw.

Rose was accompanied her husband, Ned Jeter II, at the local visit, and they even brought their infant daughter, Sedley. Rose is communications manager for the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics for Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. At the farm the Jeters raise beef cattle and pumpkins.

“It’s always awesome,” she said about the conventions, which they’ve attended off and on for 10 years. “You get to talk with other farmers. We all have the same challenges and issues. We network and learn from each other.”

Other places visited were Montague Farms, Phelps Ham and, later that afternoon, the buses took the farmers and ranchers to Indika Farms Inc. in Windsor. There, Billy and Jesse Gwaltney explained the company’s work and the importance of peanuts to the agriculture industry.

“Peanuts run the engine,” said Billy.

“It’s a great chance to network,” said Melanie Fink at Indika. She and her husband, Michael, are from southeast Pennsylvania, where they grow sweet corn, green beans, pumpkins and hay. They’ve also visited Virginia before.

“We share very similar problems, tips and friendships,” she continued. “It’s amazing.”

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