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Agriculture is a real plus for Fauquier County     


Fauquier Times Democrat, Friday September 3, 2010   Karla Jones Seidita


I picked up a little flier recently that asked the question, “Do you know how good farming is for Fauquier County?” It was produced jointly by the Fauquier County Agricultural Development Office, the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the John Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District, Save Our Food and the Fauquier County Farm Bureau. A pretty impressive group of local people.


Well, yes, I thought to myself, I do know that farming is good for Fauquier. I’ve always felt that way.


Farming gives us a sense of self-reliance and sustainability that urban areas don’t have. Farming provides real, tangible, grass-root jobs and good incomes for people. Farmers are stewards of our land. They watch it, protect it and nourish it while coaxing beauty and abundance from it.


Fauquier County was founded in 1759 and was an agricultural area. Today, even with urban sprawl all around us, Fauquier is still predominately farm land, and that’s a good thing. We have about 1,250 farms totaling 225,000 acres. More and more, people are returning to the soil. Some as their full-time occupation. Some as their part-time passion. And Fauquier County embraces them all.


But even so, each year, we’re faced with the ever-creeping, ever-encroaching urban sprawl, with everyone moving toward the fast lane. Now, more than ever, it’s time to value what we have before it’s gone forever.


Farms keep Fauquier green and healthy, are a refuge for wildlife, and grace us with their presence. Our Fauquier farms provide us with delicious, nutritious, home-grown food that urbanized areas have to truck in from long distances.


But even so, each year, we’re faced with the ever-creeping, ever-encroaching urban sprawl, with everyone moving toward the fast lane. Now, more than ever, it’s time to value what we have before it’s gone forever.


Here’s some Fauquier facts you may find interesting. They’re good ammunition to have on hand whenever you’re called on to defend our green lifestyle.


Agriculture in Fauquier County generates nearly $50 million annually in revenue. It’s one of the county’s largest industries. Farming has created more than 3,500 jobs. Nearly all  of our farms are family owned and operated.


Agriculture is tax-positive for Fauquier because agricultural land pays more in taxes than it uses in county services. For every $1 paid by agricultural land holders in local taxes only, $0.34 is paid out in services. Residential land use is the opposite. For every $1 paid in for residential land use, $1.18 in services is paid out.


Fauquier County is horse country. We all know that, but did you know that our horses are the most valuable in the entire state? They’re estimated to be worth more than $270 million and enjoy a broad range of activities.


Our horses race at major tracks like Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby. They fox hunt and steeple chase. Are backyard babies and Olympic champions. We even have our own world class race, the Gold Cup, that’s run right here at Great Meadow, located between Warrenton and The Plains. 


Fauquier is wine country, too. We’re second in the state for wine production. We have, at last count, 17 wineries, but the number changes almost daily. We have the terroir to make our wines international champions. We have the vineyards and the winemakers, too. It’s a winning combination.


Add to the mix the agritourism dollars our wineries bring in, and you’ve really got a lot of green going on.


Dairy is another big agribusiness in Fauquier. We rank fifth largest in the state for our dairy production. That’s a lot of milk, cheese and ice cream to be enjoyed by local residents and hungry people everywhere.


Our green space has always been important to Fauquier land holders, who have permanently protected 90,000 acres of land and 41 miles of streams from development. That’s more property under easement than any other county in Virginia and most of our protected land is farm land.


Our green space has always been important to Fauquier land holders, who have permanently protected 90,000 acres of land and 41 miles of streams from development. That’s more property under easement than any other county in Virginia and most of our protected land is farm land.


Farming in Fauquier County is a total lifestyle and not just a job. It doesn’t matter whether our farms are dairy, horse or produce, vineyard, flower or meat. Big or small, hobby or occupation, our farms all play a part in keeping our county green and our lifestyle comfortable.


You can learn more about Fauquier County at  www.fauquierag.com


To access FTD article online: FauquierTimesDemocrat3sep10Karla


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