Wondering what’s next for ag? Check out VALOR.
I’m sure you, like many of us, are thinking about what your role is in a post-COVID world, mostly because it feels good to imagine/dream/hope/strive to get past this rough patch, but also because there will be a real opportunity to take a hard look at the world we’ve created for ourselves and how we might want to rebuild it better and more resilient.
Here in the Valley, we’re learning lots of lessons about the importance of a local and regional market for our farmers as global supply chains are disrupted and the community turns to local options for the food they typically easily source from ‘big box’ stores without much thought.
If you’ve noticed this too, and are thinking about your post-COVID world, consider this opportunity:
Virginia Tech is accepting applications for their fifth class in the VALOR program, which stands for Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results. According the program’s website it’s for “adults in agriculture who want to develop their communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills in addition to broadening their knowledge of global and local agriculture in the pursuit of becoming an advocate for agriculture and a leader in the industry.”
The program consists of twelve 3-day to week-long seminars over two years, and your class will contain students from around the state from all different ag perspectives.
I spoke to Lauren Arbogast, a member of VALOR class two. She and her husband farm poultry and cattle in Rockingham County (you can read about it on her blog here!). Lauren highly recommends the VALOR program and relates that outside of the obvious agriculture focus, “the program is devoted to developing your specific skill set and diving deep into different assessments that help you to refine that skill set.” And further, “the beauty of working in a small(ish) cohort is that as you move through the program with individuals that have very different views on agriculture, policy, and everything else under the sun, you get “real-time” application of the skill sets you’re developing.”
If you’re thinking this might sound like your post-COVID opportunity, apply for the program now – they’re accepting electronic applications through May 1.