Nottoway County couple place third in national farming award program

Nottoway County couple place third in national farming award program
John and Lydia Shepherd of Nottoway County were awarded third place in the 2019 American  Farm Bureau FederationYoung Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award program. The competition took place at the AFBF Annual Convention, held Jan. 11-16  in New Orleans.

The Achievement Award honors young farmers who are successful in production agriculture and provide leadership on and off the farm. State-level winners from  Farm Bureaus across the nation compete for the award, and judges narrow the field to 10 finalists.

Lydia Shepherd called the recognition “pretty amazing” and said the competition had been an exciting process. The couple serves on the VFBF Young Farmers Committee  and raise wheat, rapeseed, corn and soybeans on their farm near Blackstone.

Additionally, John Shepherd serves on the Nottoway County Farm Bureau board of directors, and Lydia Shepherd teaches at Kenston Forest School in Blackstone.  The Shepherds were the recipients of the 2011 VFBF Young Farmers Environmental Stewardship Award and the 2012 Bayer CropScience Young Farmer Sustainability Award. They utilize conservation practices such as no-till farming and planting of cover crops.

John Shepherd began farming in 2007 after graduating from Virginia Tech with a degree in agriculture. He had been working full-time as a seed and fertilizer  representative but began renting farmland in the Blackstone area. He said “the fact that we built … from the ground up without inheriting a farm” helped him and his wife place so high in the national competition.

They will receive a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest, a $500 parts card from Case IH, and $2,000 worth of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise,  courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker.
The Shepherds won the Virginia  Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Achievement Award in November 2018.
With 129,000 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.

Contact Greg  Hicks, VFBF vice president of communications, at 804-290-1139 or Ron  Saacke, VFBF vice president of young farmers and women’s programs, at 804-290-1032.

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