Lee County Extension agent wins Excellence in Agriculture Award

Lee County Extension agent wins Excellence in Agriculture Award
Amy G. Fannon of Pennington Gap is this year’s Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Excellence in Agriculture Award winner. She was recognized Aug. 3 during the VFBF Young Farmers Summer Expo in Richmond.

The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes individuals for involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations. Fannon was the 2017 runner-up for the award.

She is a Virginia Cooperative Extension unit coordinator and agriculture and natural resources agent in Lee County and previously was an agent in Wise County. She and her sister are the fourth generation to help run her family’s farm, where they raise pumpkins, corn and alfalfa hay.

Much of her work as an Extension agent, Fannon noted, serves farmers with limited resources. “People often think about the perfect farm and ‘what you are supposed to do,’” she said, but when addressing producers’ real-world problems, “I assist them in finding practical solutions to imperfect situations. These solutions help keep farmers operating and feeding their families. My job presents new challenges every day, and I love it!”

Another favorite facet of her work, she added, is creating educational programs that meet community needs or broaden farmers’ or consumers’ knowledge. “I believe knowledge is power, and to improve our community and industry we must embrace knowledge.”

Fannon has held programs on beekeeping, gardening, animal health, crop production, leadership and financial skills. Among the largest annual events are a regional cattle conference and a Farm and Family Day that drew more than 500 participants in 2017.

Earlier this year she was a semifinalist in the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet, having won the VFBF Young Farmers Discussion Meet in late 2017. The Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting, and participants are judged on their active participation, understanding of current agricultural issues and ability to build consensus on predetermined ag topics.

Fannon holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in crop and soil environmental sciences from Virginia Tech. She is a member of the National Association of County Agriculture Agents, the Virginia Association of Agriculture Extension Agents, the Virginia Extension Service Association, the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association, the Virginia Forage and Grasslands Council, and the Honor Society of Agriculture, Gamma Sigma Delta.

As Excellence in Agriculture Award winner, she will receive a Kubota utility vehicle, courtesy of Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Services, and a travel package to the 2019 AFBF Annual Convention in January. While at the convention, she will compete for the AFBF YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award.

Rose Jeter of Botetourt County, sales and marketing manager for Homestead Creamery, was runner-up for the VFBF award and will receive a travel package to the AFBF convention. Other finalists were Jack and Christy Kerr of Augusta County, Jonathan and Kelsey Grimes of Wythe County and Jonathan Wood of Patrick County. Each finalist individual or couple will receive $500 courtesy of the VFBF Women’s and Young Farmers committees and Farm Credit.


With 127,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to supporting Virginia’s agriculture industry and preserving the Virginia way of life.

Contact: Greg Hicks

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