Southwest Virginia Beef Builder Initiative Grant

Beginning July 1, producers in Dickenson County and surrounding counties can apply for a grant program which will offer a 50% cost share on purchases up to $6,000 on certain pieces of cattle handling equipment, weaning pens, structures and improved herd bulls.

All applicants must meet program guidelines of the grant including but not limited to holding a current Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certificate, be a resident or property owner in the participating county, possess a minimum of 25 breeding age females or 25 stocker calves, have a vaccination and weaning program, defined calving season and market at least 20% of the calf crop through a value-added program such as state graded sales or VQA sales.

Qualifying items of the program include a 50% cost share on improved herd bulls: $1,250 maximum on 1 bull or $2,500 maximum on two bulls. Cattle handling facilities up to a 50% cost share on a $3,000 dollar maximum expenditure on head gates, squeeze chutes, tubs, alleys, scales, weaning pens, holding pens and sheds to cover these structures to protect them. If you have participated in these grants in the past, you may apply again although you may not purchase similar pieces. (If you bought a bull the first time, you cannot purchase a bull this time).  

Applications for the program will be available to be filled out at the Dickenson County Extension Office beginning July 1 at 8 a.m. Applicants should gather the following information prior to July 1 –  Tax I.D. number or Social Security number; FSA/USDA Farm Number/tract number; FSA Aerial map and a valid five year lease on rented land if applicable. A copy of the program guidelines can be obtained now at the Dickenson County Extension Office or at the following web site If you have questions about the Southwest Virginia Beef Builder Initiative please contact the Dickenson County Extension Office at (276) 926-4605 for additional information.

Program Guidelines for The Southwest Virginia Beef Builder Initiative

Don't Guess, Soil Test!

Plants can produce their own energy, but require a fertile soil or growth media to supply needed nutrients. Healthy, well-fed plants are better able to withstand diseases and insects and to compete with weeds. For a few dollars a chemical soil analysis can check your soil's fertility and determine if any corrective action is needed. A soil test is the best tool available for determining the lime and fertilizer needed for the best economic and environmental production of crops, gardens, and more healthy, beautiful lawns. Testing the soil takes out the guesswork and prevents you from under or over liming and fertilizing, either of which will cost you both in dollars and plant growth.  There is no testing charge for routine commercial crops*, routine surface-mined areas or routine commercial greenhouse and nursery production.

The Soil Testing Laboratory now has the capability to e-mail lab reports directly to clients. 

Click on the link below to take you to the website where you can enter your information on the appropriate form, print the form and mail it with your soil sample for analysis. 

* No charge for in-state commercial farm samples (soil pH,P,K,Ca,Mg,Zn,Mn,Cu,Fe,B, and estimated CEC, plus a fertilizer and lime recommendation)

Virginia Tech Soil Testing