Book traces Virginia cattle industry

A coffee table-quality book telling the story of the history of Virginia's cattle industry will be published and made available for public purchase this year. This exciting project is jointly sponsored by The Virginia Cattlemen's Association and The Virginia State Dairymen's Association.

Never before has a history of the beef and dairy industries in Virginia been researched and preserved in a comprehensive book format. The creation of this quality book will cover four centuries — from the founding of Jamestown to the present.

It will include historic facts and fascinating stories, interesting side bars, and intriguing illustrations and photographs of the industry's cattle and people.

With the knowledge of the significant contributions made by the cattle industry to Virginia's people and the state's economy, the directors of the Virginia Cattlemen's Foundation felt that it is important to capture the industry's history. The history project was implemented not only as a tribute to the industry, but as the first major development project sponsored by the Foundation.

In order to be comprehensive and include both beef and dairy, the Dairy Foundation of Virginia became involved with the project. The Foundations of the two sponsoring statewide industry associations provide a mechanism for the procurement, management and disbursement of funds. The Foundations promote and support education and leadership for people and enhancement of their cattle industry.

The history project is managed by an Editorial Board, chaired by John Mitchell of Hot Springs, owner of Falling Springs Ranch, a purebred Salers, Angus and commercial cattle operation.

Other Board members include James Bennett of Red House, owner of Knoll Crest Farm; Ernie Reeves of Mount Solon, owner and manager of Mossy Creek Farm; Nelson Gardner of Bridgewater, a leader in the dairy industry and retired dairyman and Bill Harrison of Leesburg, a retired dairy Extension agent and dairyman.

Support to the Board is provided by Ike Eller, Animal Science Professor Emeritus, who serves as Advisor and Development Director; Debbie Snead, Director of Marketing; and Patty Douglas, Recording Secretary.

An impressive group of leaders in Virginia Agriculture make up the project's Advisory Board.

The Advisors include Carlton Courter, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Andy Swiger, dean emeritus, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech; Rodney Phillips, administrator of the Virginia Milk Commission; Reggie Reynolds, executive secretary of the Virginia Cattlemen's Association; Dale Gardner, executive secretary of the Virginia State Dairymen's Association; Steve Nickerson, head of Virginia Tech's Dairy Science Department; Ike Eller, animal science professor emeritus, Virginia Tech, and Mark McCann, head of Virginia Tech's Department of Animal and Poultry Science.

McCann is chairman of the Board which serves as advisor and advocate for the project.

The authors of the history book are Nancy Sorrells and Katherine Brown of Lot's Wife Publishing Co. of Staunton, Va. Both are experienced historians and have considerable experience in researching and writing agricultural and other histories.

Kenneth Koons, professor of history at Virginia Military Institute, is serving as editor. Koons and the authors work closely with the Editorial Board as they conduct research, write, edit, and manage the publication and printing of the book.

If you have stories, photos or other information to offer the authors, you may contact them at the following address: Lot's Wife Publishing Company, P.O. Box 1844, Staunton, Va. 24402, Phone: 540-377-6390.

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