At its recent meeting in March, the Virginia Agricultural Council (VAC) reviewed research project proposals and funded 21 new projects totaling almost $220,000, as well as more than $45,000 for four new projects for lawn and turf research. It also extended funding for a second year on five projects totaling nearly $50,000.
In 1966 the Virginia General Assembly established the Virginia Agricultural Council to provide financial assistance and support for agricultural research, education and services. Its purpose is to find new uses for agricultural products, to develop new markets for such products and to promote more efficient and economical methods of agricultural production.
Funding comes from assessments levied on certain agricultural supplies used by farmers, including lime, fertilizer, feed and motor fuel used for agricultural purposes. A special fund called the Seed Fund receives monies from an assessment on sale receipts from lawn and turf seed and must be used by the VAC for the exclusive funding of lawn and turf research. Seed Fund money and projects are separated from all of the other research projects. Monies received by the agency are transferred to the Virginia Agricultural Foundation Fund pursuant to 302§3.2-2905. The Council is also authorized to accept gifts and grants.
Funded projects focus on crops, livestock, insects, plant and animal diseases, turf grass, fertilizer and developing research test plots. Amounts range from just over $2,000 to nearly $25,000 per project. The Council accepts requests for financial assistance from any organized group within or serving Virginia’s industry of agriculture. This includes suppliers, farmers, marketers, Virginia Cooperative Extension centers, and colleges and universities. This year, all funded research is being conducted by one of Virginia’s two land grant universities, Virginia Tech or Virginia State University.