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2017-12-13 / Announcements

VSU nets $1.7 million in agricultural grants


Leonard Githinji, assistant professor of sustainable urban agriculture at Virginia State University, at the university’s Randolph Farm in Ettrick. 
ASH DANIEL Leonard Githinji, assistant professor of sustainable urban agriculture at Virginia State University, at the university’s Randolph Farm in Ettrick. ASH DANIEL Virginia State University recently secured nearly $1.7 million in grants for agricultural research and to educate and mentor veteran and disadvantaged farmers.

Researchers at VSU’s Agricultural Research Station received two U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture capacity building grants worth more than $800,000. One three-year grant, valued at $416,248, aims to significantly strengthen VSU’s research capacity in plant sciences, particularly in breeding, genetics, genomics and agronomical management of soybean and specialty crops. The second three-year grant, valued at $295,274, will explore the use of high-pressure processing, a non-thermal technology, to reduce salt in processed meat products.

In addition, the university’s Cooperative Extension Small Farm Outreach Program has received a grant award of $600,000 to educate and mentor socially disadvantaged and veteran beginning farmers and ranchers in Virginia so they have the information they need to allow their farms to be sustainable and economically successful.

Farmers enrolled in the program will begin by attending a small farmer orientation and must commit to attending a series of educational workshops that include estate planning, financial and business management, sustainable production practices and marketing. They will also be connected to a farmer mentor. For more information, contact the Small Farm Outreach Program at 524-3292 or sfop@vsu.edu.

Government

Chesterfield County was recognized with two energy-related awards in November. The Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Council awarded the county first place for local government for its comprehensive energy management program. For the eighth consecutive year, the Virginia Association of Counties also awarded Chesterfield its Go Green Award. The Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Award highlights “energy efficiency champions” across the commonwealth for saving money on energy expenditures while reducing energy consumption. The Go Green award program recognizes environmental policies and practical actions that reduce emissions and save local governments money.

The Chesterfield County Planning Commission is currently reviewing and updating the 2012 Comprehensive Plan and would like to hear from county residents. The following chapters are the remaining individual chapters open for public comment: Chapter 13, Transportation; Chapter 15, The Public Facilities Plan; Chapter 16, Implementation. These chapters will remain open for comment until midnight Jan. 2, 2018. Citizen comments will be presented to the Planning Commission and posted online and may be incorporated into the revised chapters. After the entire document has been reviewed, a series of public meetings will be held to meet with the community and get feedback about the updated Comprehensive Plan in its entirety. To provide a comment or view previously submitted citizen comments, visit www.chesterfield.gov/Planning.aspx?id=8590137758 or call 796-7192.

Education

Chesterfield County Public Schools has been selected to participate in the George W. Bush Institute’s School Leadership District Cohort, a professional learning community consisting of four selected school divisions across the U.S. The other three school divisions selected to participate are Austin Independent School District (Austin, Texas), Fort Worth Independent School District (Fort Worth, Texas) and Granite Independent School District (Salt Lake City, Utah). The four school divisions will work collaboratively with the Bush Institute’s Education Reform team to implement the organization’s Principal Talent Management Framework. During a three-year period, the Bush Institute will work with participating districts to identify their individual needs related to each framework component and build district-level capacity accordingly. The Bush Institute will also provide expert coaching, access to tools and resources and other support to the district professional learning community. For more information on the School Leadership Initiative and the District Cohort, visit bushcenter.org/schoolleadership.

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