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Virginia livestock meetings, 4-H camps fall to pandemic

by | May 22, 2020

Postponement and cancelation of Virginia agricultural events continue for summer activities in 2020 due to the restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The big event in the livestock industry planned by the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association and the Virginia State Dairyman’s Association has fallen victim to the virus this year. The joint event that had been scheduled for July 10 at the Ag Expo in Fishersville has been postponed until July 2021 according to a Facebook post on May 19.
“Unfortunately, due to the current situation and the uncertainty of venue regulations we must postpone the 2020 VCA/VSDA Annual Field Day & Dairy Expo until next year,” Tracy Fitzsimmons, VCA executive director,” wrote in an e-mail to The Delmarva Farmer.
The cancelations are reaching beyond farming itself to youth as well with Virginia Cooperative Extension canceling in-person Virginia 4-H summer camps, both residential and day.
This decision was announced at the same time Virginia Tech announced all summer classes must be conducted online.
“This collaborative decision was not easy to make, but we feel as though it is the right one to help reduce the rate of COVID-19 infection in the state and for the safety of the campers, their families, and the dedicated individuals involved with the summer camps,” said Jeremy Johnson, state leader of Virginia 4-H. “4-H camping is often seen as the fabric of our positive youth development program. We look forward to finding new ways to create connection, learning and to embody the 4-H camp spirit this season.”
Anyone that has made a deposit or payment will receive a full refund. Campers and their families will be notified as we finalize the process.
Another change to the summer 4-H program is the way 4-H Congress is being held this year. Rather than on campus this event, which usually attracts about 450 young people will be held online.
At least one state board is faced with needing to meet in person because of its bylaws.
Chuck Shorter, a member of the State Soil and Water Board, said that group is required in its bylaws to meet in person. He expressed concern about the need for a meeting since the group has missed two meetings.
Shorter who serves on several state and local boards said many groups have been using social media, teleconferencing, webinars and conference calls for several years. These help cut expenses, especially traveling to Richmond, and time.
LeeAnn Seeley, executive director of the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association, reported that her board hopes to make a decision about its annual meeting by June 1. That meeting has been scheduled for the first weekend in August in Fishersville.
Dan Brann, a leader in the pumpkin growers’ associations, said he is hopeful they will be able to at least hold a field day with social distancing by the end of August when these events are usually scheduled.

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