Thursday, March 17, 2016

County Ag

Home, sweet home is Augusta County, VA…smack-dab in the middle of ag-land.

Our county is ranked #2 in the state by agricultural sales, totaling over 232 million dollars in the last Ag census of 2012.  

There is more farmland in Augusta County than any other county in Virginia! 

1,706 farms that account for 260,137 acres. The county also ranks #1 in beef cattle and lamb and sheep production. I truly love that we are a part of those statistics. (albeit a tiny part)

So, to say that Agriculture is a big deal is somewhat of an understatement. We are surrounded by hayfields and grazing animals. Poultry barns and growing grain crops dot the landscape. It’s not unusual to see a tractor or other farm equipment on the roadways.   

...and occasionally...COWS

I guess you could say that the county has “always” been agricultural. In the nineteenth century, wheat was a major crop. The entire Valley was once referred to as the “bread basket of the Confederacy”. Today, many places still bear the names of the mills they once housed.

Walnut Grove Farm in Steele’s Tavern/Raphine was the homeplace of Cyrus McCormick. If you know Agriculture at all, you’ve heard of Cyrus. In some ways, he is the father of modern agriculture. He invented the mechanical reaper, which changed harvest for farmers everywhere. This eventually became the combine and completely revolutionize Agriculture. The company he formed went on to become International Harvester, known worldwide for their agricultural equipment.

While our personal history with the county still makes us newcomers, my ancestors were here from the very beginning. A many times great uncle, or maybe it was a far-removed cousin, John Lewis, was the first settler and his son, Thomas, laid out the streets of Staunton, which served as the county seat and the hub of commerce.  I remember visiting kin people in the area when I was a small child and it seems only fitting that we would end up here, farming on our little hill just south of town.

Livestock still outnumber humans here in the county. (and probably always will) 

But, the landscape has changed dramatically as more and more people move to this beautiful place and houses pop up on what was once productive farmland. 

more than one hayfield has become a subdivision

We have seen the changes firsthand and the impacts are felt by everyone. Once farmland is lost, it cannot be reclaimed.

unused dairy barn  

It is the intent of those who organize Ag day (and National Ag week) to encourage everyone to appreciate what impact agriculture has on our daily lives. Living our beautiful county...with its deep agricultural history and thriving agricultural economy, we are blessed to be truly immersed in Ag...granting us a deep appreciation that may be lacking elsewhere.

So, on this Thursday...I’m THANKFUL that I can call Augusta County with its long agricultural heritage home.

coming into Mbrk

 Read more about Augusta County and Staunton history...


  1. Different from our Dales Barbara and yet similar in that there are more sheep than people - and there are always people coming in to settle and to convert barns and build new homes when they are allowed.

  2. What a beautiful part of the world you call home. The mountains & valleys make it just so picturesque. No wonder there are more subdivisions going in.... unfortunately.