Agriculture and Natural Resources offers programs to help sustain profitability of agriculture and forest production, while protecting and enhancing land and water resources.
Resources and Services Offered
- Agribusiness Management: Business and Marketing Planning, Transition and Estate Planning Preparation
- Commercial Horticulture Crops
- Beginner Crops & Soils
- Pesticide Safety Education and Training
- Soil Testing & Fertilization Recommendations
- On-Farm Visits
- Forage Testing
- Manure Testing
- Insect Identification
- Plant Disease and Plant Identification
- Pre-Sidedress Nitrate Soil Test for Corn
- Well Water Clinics
Master Gardeners are extension volunteers dedicated to working with the community to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticulture practices through sustainable landscape management.
Resources and Services Offered
- Home Gardening and Lawn Care Questions
- Diagnosis of Plant Problems
- Insects and Animals
- Soil and Compost Testing
- Home Visits
- Local Gardening Workshops
- Booths at Community Events
- Master Gardener Training
For more information about Agriculture and Natural Resources, please visit the Agriculture and Natural Resources Numbered Extension Publications.
4-H is the youth development program of Virginia Cooperative Extension. This nonformal education initiative is conducted by our state land-grant universities (Virginia Tech and Virginia State), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. The land-grant university system consists of teaching, research, and extension education. Extension 4-H programs are a partnership involving local residents, volunteers, private support, three levels of government, and universities. 4-H is the only nationwide youth education program that is an extension of the knowledge resources of a university system.
4-H is characterized as being community centered, volunteer led, extension staff supervised, research based, home and family oriented, publicly and privately funded and responsive to change. The central theme of 4-H education is "learn by doing" by providing opportunities for youth to learn through hands-on activities.The four H’s stand for Head, Heart, Hands and Health.
Many people are familiar with a traditional version of 4-H as an agricultural based club for rural youth-cows, plows, and sows. However, 4-H is a dynamic organization; for over 100 years, 4-H programming has adapted to changes in society, family structure, education, work force needs, the economy and technology. Today almost half of 4-H members in Virginia reside in urban and suburban communities.
While the programming evolves, the core mission and the underlying values have held fast.
The mission of 4-H is to assist youth, and volunteers working with those youth, to gain knowledge, life skills, and attitudes that will further their development as self-directing, contributing, and productive members of society.
The values of 4-H are reflected in the 4-H Pledge:
I pledge my head to clearer thinking
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community,
my country, and my world
Prometo usar mi mente para pensar con m`as claridad
mi coraz`on para ser m`as leal,
mis manos para ser m`as servicial,
mi salud para cuidarme m`as,
por mi club, mi communidad,mi pa`is y mi mundo.
Youth ages 5 to 19 can take part in programs that are planned and initiated by Extension personnel in cooperation with volunteers. Participation in 4-H can look different from unit to unit, depending on the interests and needs of the youth community, number of trained and committed volunteers, and resources available.
Hanover County 4-H delivers programs currently through community centered, equine, and livestock clubs. These groups led by volunteers meet on a monthly basis for a business and program meetings. Educational work is on a single topic. Clubs can participate in other 4-H activities and events such as the Hanover County communication arts contests and other competitions (local, district, state and national), Livestock and Horse programs and competitions, workshops, fundraising and community service, camps, State Congress or National Congress. Please note that 4-H does not provide horses or riding lessons for equine members.
4-H members live in towns, cities, suburbs, and on farms in every county of Virginia. Through 4-H, over 181,000 Virginia youth and 20,000 adult and teen volunteers join in local, county, state, national, and international educational opportunities. Membership is voluntary and free of charge.
The 4-H year runs from October 1st to September 30th. Although you can join anytime during the year, fall is when most 4-H clubs recruit new members. 4-H membership is open to all boys and girls, ages 5 to 19 years of age, regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, religion, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, genetic information, or marital or family status. The five through 18 years of age designation includes youth who will turn five during the 4-H year (October 1 through September 30). Eligibility for 4-H membership terminates on December 31 of the year the member has his or her 19th birthday.
« Cloverbuds are 5 – 8 years old;
« Juniors are 9 – 11 years old;
« Intermediates are 12 – 13 years old;
« Seniors are 14 – 19 years old
Ready to enroll? Go to 4HOnline to register the family and youth member(s). Re-enrollenment is necessary for members every year.
Hanover County clubs fit in the "community or project" category. Each club has its own uniqueness and project focus . Contact club leaders to find the club that best meets your family’s interest. Club leaders and extension staff approve memberships via 4hOnline. Contact must be made with club leaders before approval will be given.
Contact the Hanover Extension Office with questions at 804-752-4310.
Community 4-H clubs
Community 4-H clubs offer a variety of 4-H projects for their members, generally meet in homes or public buildings, meet 9 to 12 months of the year, and have elected youth officers. A 4-H’er may belong to only one 4-H community club. A community club typically has 5 to 20 members and 2 or 3 adult leaders. Membership in a community club does not exclude one from membership in Special Interest groups or the 4-H Honor Club. Also, members in a given club are in no way restricted from meeting with other clubs for activities. One must, however, relinquish current club membership before joining another club.
Project 4-H clubs
Project 4-H clubs focus on a single 4-H project or subject matter area (i.e. horse clubs, photography clubs, etc.), generally meet in homes or public buildings, meet 9 to 12 months of the year, and have elected youth officers.
School-based 4-H clubs
In-school 4-H clubs meet during school hours, are approved by the school system, and have elected youth officers.
After-school 4-H clubs meet after school hours, usually from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., in a school or public building; use 4-H materials; and may or may not have elected youth officers (depending on its organizational setup, a short- or long-term club).
Positive Action 4-H After school: Positive Action 4-H Afterschool with Hanover County Prevention Services as the lead agency, operates five days a week during the school year at John M. Gandy Elementary for youth 3rd-5th grades. The programming focus is character development, healthy choices and responsible behavior. The site is limited to 25 participants.
For details contact Martha Lambert: 804-365-4228
4-H School Enrichment clubs meet during school hours and are designed to strengthen the members’ knowledge of school subject-matter areas, thus complimenting what the school is teaching. The club may or may not have elected youth officers (depending on its organizational setup, a short- or long-term club).
4-H Teen Leadership Club
4-H Teen Leadership Club is conducted as part of the training program for counselors at camp. Being selected is a competitive process. Prior 4-H camping experience is an advantage but not required. If selected as a candidate, teens participate in leadership training from November through the start of junior summer camp the next summer. Teamwork, safety, responsibility, respect, creativity, fairness, problem solving, and empathy are leadership skills emphasized by the program.
Special Interest 4-H groups
Special Interest 4-H groups have short-term learning experiences designed to create interest in a subject matter area, learn about 4-H, and have no elected youth officers.
Cloverbud 4-H groups
Designed for youth 5 through 8 years of age, Cloverbud 4-H groups serve to introduce youth to 4-H through special learning activities designed for their age group. There are no elected youth officers. While Cloverbuds are allowed to participate in all county contests except shooting education, they are not judged competitively.
4-H programming with youth is guided by an experiential learning process that includes goal setting, cognition, practice, and performance. The performance stage is when members demonstrate what they have learned through various 4-H activities and events, including competitions. When planned and conducted appropriately, competition experiences enhance positive youth development and prepare youth with positive competitive knowledge, skills, attitudes, and aspirations that can lead to success through life. Team competitions provide opportunities for youth to develop the interpersonal, leadership and cooperative skills necessary to be successful in the interdependent, global society of the 21st century. In conjunction with the Andranetta E. Weimer 4-H Incentive Program, youth can participate in communication contests to enhance their graphic art, presentation, public speaking, and writing skills.
Pre-registration is REQUIRED for all 4-H Contests and Events
Pre-registration will require complete information. For all contests this will include name, e-mail, phone, birthdate, age, and information related to the contest. For Public Speaking, the title of the speech will be required. For Presentations and Share the Fun, the title and category area will be required. All registration materials must be in the Extension Office one week prior to the contest. Each registration/entry form has the due date in the upper right hand corner.
Note: Only one registration/entry form per contest allowed. Also, all competitors must arrive at the contest site at least 15 minutes prior to the starting time for the contest. Members must be enrolled in 4-H Online to be eligible to compete. The online 4-H Enrollment database can be found at: http://virginia.4honline.com.
4-H contests, with a few exceptions, use the Danish System of awards. Blue ribbons are given for excellent work, red ribbons are given for very good work, white ribbons for good/fair work. There is no limit on the number of contestants who can win blue ribbons (or red or white ribbons). The first, second, and third place winners in a contest could all have blue ribbons or they could all have white ribbons. First place does not guarantee a blue ribbon nor does a blue ribbon guarantee a first place.
In addition to the ribbon awards, additional prizes such as cash awards, gift certificates, and prize awards may be available subject to availability of a donor. Contest winners should make certain they send a thank you note to the donor of their award.
**CLOVERBUDS are allowed to participate in all county contests (except shooting education); however, they are not judged competitively. They will receive participant ribbons and awards but will not be eligible for competition prizes.
NOTE : 4-H members from other units are welcome to participate in all 4-H activities on a space available basis. However, 4-H members primarily affiliated with a unit other than Henrico are ineligible to receive any prizes or premiums available to Henrico 4-H members.
PowerPoint Guidelines and Score Sheet
Contestants are required to create a Power Point Presentation three to five minutes in length for juniors and five to seven minutes in length for seniors. Judging is based on the 4-Her’s use of the Power Point tool and not on the subject content of their presentation. However, the 4-Her must choose 4-H appropriate subject matter. Should technical difficulty occur, students are judged on their ability to keep their cool and improvise In this competition 80% of the 4-Hers score is based on their Power Point program quality and 20% on the member’s presentation. Refer to the judging sheet for a detailed explanation of the judging criteria.
Virginia 4-H Contest Guide - Public Speaking
Public Speaking Score Sheet
Contestants choose their own topic and prepare an original speech. Some facts and figures may be quoted, however, it is not a technical talk, but rather your viewpoint on a particular topic. For example, you might speak on “Why I am Proud to Be An American,” “How Football Changed My Life,” or “Who Benefits Most, Horse or Owner.”
Juniors should plan to speak for 2 to 5 minutes, Intermediate 4‑H’ers speak for 3 to 6 minutes, and Seniors should plan a 5 to 7 minute speech. Three by five note cards may be used to help insure that main ideas are covered. Please do not “read” the speech! 4-H members competing will be judged on delivery, composition, and response to two questions asked by the judges.
Virginia 4-H Contest Guide - Presentations
Presentation Score Sheet
4-H presenters teach their audience “How To” do something. Your presentation may be on “How To” bake a cake, patch a bicycle tire, groom a horse, make an electric lamp, plant a garden, etc. (Note: Live animals may not be used.)
Every presentation has three parts – the introduction, body, and summary. In the introduction, tell who you are, what your topic is, and how and why you chose your topic. In the body, tell and demonstrate how to do something. In the summary, review the main points of your presentation and ask if there are any questions. While posters have been the traditional visual aid- PowerPoint, slides, tapes, transparencies, and any other means may be used. Remember these items are to assist the presentation and should not be read as notecards. All work must be completed by the 4-H member.
The presentation should be appropriate for the age and experience level of the 4-H’er and sufficient in length (time) to cover the topic. In most cases the time range will be: Juniors 2 – 5 minutes, Intermediates 5 – 10 minutes, and Seniors 10 – 15 minutes.
Virginia 4-H Contest Guide – Share-the-Fun
4-H Share-the-Fun Scoresheet
Share-The-Fun is the 4-H talent show. Competition is divided into six categories as follows:
- Vocal (a singing presentation which may include dance or play an instrument but will be judged on vocal performance; includes yodeling)
- Instrumental (may sing or dance if desired but will be judged on instrumental performance)
- Dance (includes tap, modern, acrobatic, ballet, jazz, folk, interpretive)
- Drama (play or scene from a play, monologue, mime)
- Variety (includes magic acts, puppetry, clowning, tumbling/gymnastics)
- Combination (any combination of vocal, instrumental and/or dance)
Contestants are judged on talent, creativity, audience reception, showmanship, costume, props, and material chosen. Each act may have up to 4 contestants and should require 2 to 4 minutes of time. There is no Intermediate age category in this contest only Juniors (9-13) and Seniors (14-19). Members of an act must all be in the same age category (no parental or volunteer assistance). Acts with mixed age groups may be allowed to participate in an unofficial capacity (not eligible for awards or competition at a higher level).
Virginia 4-H Dairy Poster Contest
Virginia 4-H Contest Guide - Dairy Poster
Dairy Poster Score Sheet
June is National Dairy Month. A theme is chosen each spring for the 4-H Poster Contest to promote milk and other dairy foods. The county participates and sends the top 3 winners to participate at the state level. Posters must be on standard poster board of uniform size – 14” X 22” (half of a regular size poster board) and contain only original, hand-drawn artwork done by the participant. Computer-generated artwork and text are not acceptable and will result in disqualification of the poster. Every entry will receive a participation prize. More information can be found at http://www.dasc.vt.edu.
Southeast District 4-H Contest
The District 4-H Contest provides an opportunity for 4-H members and their families to meet 4-H families from the Southeast District. District Presentation, Fashion Revue, Share the Fun, Public Speaking and Expressive Arts competitions will take place all in one day. Participants may enter in one or two communication contests. An award ceremony will take place after all the competitions are concluded. Subject to availability, scholarships will be provided for 4-H members who go on to compete at State 4-H Congress.
District Hippology/ District Horse Bowl
Hippology and Horse Bowl are a written quiz based on designated references and horse information. The references are the revised editions of Horse Science and Horses and Horsemanship. These books may be ordered from National 4-H Supply at (301)961-2934; (Horses and Horsemanship, item CO-200; Horse Science, item CO-201; set of these, item CO-203). Delivery requires several weeks. In addition to information found in these books 4‑H’ers will also have to be able to identify grains, hay, breeds, coat colors, and equipment.
**You do not have to own or ride a horse to compete in the Horse Bowl/ Hippology.
County 4-H Horse Show
Hanover's 4-H Horse Show is typically held in the . Participation in this show is recommended for all members who plan to compete in the District 4-H Horse Show. It is also the only time County representatives will measure horses.
District 4-H Horse Show
4-H members must have competed in at least one 4-H contest in order to be eligible for the District 4-H Horse Show. Also, 4-H’ers must keep an up-to-date record book (Horse Management) and have exclusive care of their horse for 30 days prior to District Show. The project book must be submitted for judging during October.
State 4-H Horse Show
In order to attend the State 4‑H Horse Show, the 4‑H’er must be in his/her second year of 4-H, have competed in the 4-H District Show and must have exclusive care of the horse for 90 days prior to the State Show. The horse show programs at the District and State levels have more information that show participants must read and follow.
Adranetta E. Weimer Scholarship 4-H Incentive Program
Bill Weimer and his wife Cathy established an endowed scholarship in his mother's name in 2000 to invest in the future of Hanover County youth involved in 4-H . Bill grew up in 4-H and knows first hand how full participation positively affected his life and consequently the lives of those around him. For the scholarship, the Weimers chose to focus on the life skill of communication arts, which Mr. Weimer has found invaluable in his work as a career educator and very successful businessman. Scholarship money is awarded once a 4-H member graduates high school and has completed all requirements of the program.
The purpose of the Incentive Program is to broaden participation and quality in 4-H contests that enhance communication skills resulting in youth who are well-spoken, articulate, and poised. Scholarship money may be the reason members get started in the program, but the growth in communication skills is the real benefit.
This opportunity takes work, but any worthwhile endeavor requires you to invest time and effort. It is not a "winner takes all" scholarship but everyone who does the work reaps the rewards. Hanover County is the only 4-H program in the Commonwealth to offer this opportunity.
The guidlines and application are available below.
SPIN 4-H classes
Short term workshops and clinics are offered, usually six-12 hours. In the past these have included Jammin’ Jam-how to grow and preserve berries, fitting and showing livestock, open 4-H horse shows, keeping chickens, and 4-H Maker Fests. You do not have to be a 4-H member to enroll in SPIN classes. These are promoted on our Facebook page and website.
You may also see 4-H participating in Agriculture Literacy Week at elementary schools, Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience for 6th graders, Agriculture Day for 3rd graders, the Hanover Public Schools Arts and Science Festival, Food Drives, Maker Fests and holiday parades. 4-H members are often the primary leaders at these county events.
Would you like to start your own club or teaching a SPIN class? Whether you have 10 hours a year to volunteer or 100 hours, 4-H has a place for you working with youth and/or adults. Contact the Hanover Extension Office Volunteer Coordinator to discuss the possibilities at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia 4-H Programs
District Ambassadors and State Cabinet Officers
The State 4-H Cabinet is a youth/adult partnership in which youth and adults work together to promote the Virginia 4-H program and to carry out specific programmatic functions of the Virginia 4-H program. The four State Officers and the District Representatives (four in each of the four districts) work throughout the year to plan the next year’s Congress, promote 4-H, are positive role models for other 4-H members, and are involved in all facets of the Virginia 4-H program. Serving as a State 4-H Cabinet member is designed to be a competitive and engaging leadership development experience within the Virginia 4-H program. The youth members of the Cabinet (Officers, Ambassadors, Mentors, and the Past President), serve as the ‘voice’ for 4-H youth across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The adult members of the Cabinet provide additional Extension experience, help the youth members to see the larger context of Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia 4-H program, and help the youth members to be successful.
State 4-H Congress
State 4-H Congress is held on the Virginia Tech campus during the month of June. This is the premier, annual, statewide 4-H event for teens and adult volunteer leaders. Congress has multiple learning opportunities including: workshops, service projects, social events, sports events, elections, and state-level competition. All senior 4-H members may participate. Senior 4-H members who have competed at the County level may compete at Congress. When local funding is available for scholarships, there will be a differential in funding favoring those who compete or run for office.
4-H Intermediate Congress
4-H Intermediate Congress is held on the Virginia State University Campus during the month of July. Intermediate 4-H Congress is a training ground for 11 – 13 year old youth who are interested in becoming leaders in 4-H. Through fun, exciting, interactive sessions, youth will enhance their ability to serve in local, district, state, and national 4-H leadership roles as future 4-H club leaders, 4-H camp counselors, members of 4-H Cabinet, State 4-H Congress leaders, and/or National 4-H Congress/Conference participants.
National 4-H Congress
National 4-H Congress is the premiere educational and recognition event for senior 4-H members. National 4-H Congress is held in Atlanta, Georgia, in late November. National Congress provides participants an exciting opportunity to explore careers, engage in a variety of quality learning experiences, and have great fun by getting to know other 4-H members from across the country.
Outstanding 4-H members will be selected to represent Virginia at National 4-H Congress. Candidates for selection must be senior 4-H members in the current 4-H year who are able to demonstrate outstanding achievement as a 4-H member in the areas of leadership, citizenship, and personal development. To apply, the 4H member must submit a portfolio of his/her 4-H career and participate in a competitive interview process.
International 4-H Youth Exchange
IFYE, FLEX, Japanese Youth Exchange and other international 4-H programs provide exciting experiences for youth ages 14 to 19 and, in some cases, 4‑H Alumni up to 25 years of age. Participants travel to a foreign country and live and work with host families during their stay. Or your family may serve as host family where an exchange student comes to live with you in your home. There is usually a charge associated with these programs to travel. There is no charge for serving as a host family for a visitor from another land.
4-H Citizenship Washington Focus
During a week’s stay at the National 4-H Center, just 1 mile from the Washington, D.C. border, 4-H members (14 to 19) learn first-hand the process of government. They also tour historic attractions and enjoy a variety of social and recreational activities. Cost is approximately $775.00. Scholarships may be available. Call for details.
LifeSmarts is a group activity that teaches teens to be smart and responsible consumers and citizens. Teams consist of 4 or 5 individuals plus a coach. The competition consists of three rounds. Consumer questions are asked to individual members, to the team, and to the quickest responder using a buzzer system. The content and competition questions focus on five key areas of consumer knowledge that teens need to know to function effectively in today’s marketplace. These are: Personal Finance, Health & Safety, Environment, Technology, and Consumer Rights & Responsibilities. In addition to the important information and knowledge that participants gain, they also develop teamwork, self-esteem, verbal communication skills, leadership abilities, and have fun competing. LifeSmarts is open to all teens aged 14 to 19 years old. Each team member must qualify to compete at the state level by passing preliminary rounds by way of the Internet. For more information: www.lifesmarts.org/ or www.fcs.ext.vt.edu/ffm/lifesmarts/index.html.
4-H Junior Summer Camp
A five-day residential summer camp at the Jamestown 4-H Center in Williamsburg. Designed for youth 9 -13 years of age who are residents of Hanover County. Camp is combined with Powhatan and Goochland counties. The camp is coed and features opportunities like archery, marine science, kayaking, swimming and outdoor living skills.
4-H Maker Camp at The Georgetown School
Partnering with the Hanover Public School District, 4-H participates in the 4-H Maker Camp at The Georgetown School. Offered in July, 4-H Maker Camp offers a four-week opportunity for middle school youth who learn best in a hands-on and creative environment. Academic credits are available. Participants must be recommended by their principal or 4-H Maker Mikael Giese, email@example.com
Engaging with Communities
Virginia Cooperative Extension specialists in community viability work with Extension agents, campus-based faculty, organizational partners, communities, and individuals to further opportunity and build capacity in five program areas:
- Leadership & Planning
- Community Enterprise and Resiliency
- Community Food System and Enterprises
- Community Planning
- Emerging Community Issues
Examples of our work include training county elected officials, educating entrepreneurs, facilitating collaborative projects, supporting the growth of community food systems and local economies, enhancing agent skills and community capacity in facilitation and leadership, conducting problem-driven research, and creating publications and tools that address critical community needs.
Do you have a question about Community Viability?
Perhaps one of the Community Viability specialists below can help you. Contact a Community Viability specialist or direct a question to them using our Ask an Expertsystem.
Community Viability Specialists
Once a month the Hanover Board of Supervisors has an afternoon session and an evening session. A dinner break of two hours separates the two sessions, normally catered by the nearby prison .
The Hanover Extension office proposed joining forces with the Hanover-Caroline Soil & Water Conservation District office to cater one meal with foods supplied by local producers. The farmers would provide dishes from their farms and Extension and Soil & Water would provide a very short-10 minutes-overview of what we do and who we are. The board members were astounded by the financial input of the farming community.
The 50-mile meal (so named because Hanover County is approximately 50 miles long) is scheduled for the July meeting-the height of the harvest season.
After the initial year the Board of Supervisors requested that VCE and Soil & Water along with the producers stay and share the meal. They wanted to meet the people who are the largest economic industry in Hanover. Over the years the 50-Mile meal has grown in the number and variety of producers.
Our dinner site stays near the Courthouse where the Board of Supervisors meet but has moved multiple times to accomodate more producers. Our current meal providers range from farmer's market vendors to 4-H youth entrepreneurs to CSAs to international wholesalers. Even Ashland Milling Co. that focuses on locally sourced grains. Engels Family Farms, one of the largest in the Commonwealth, is one of our participants.
See the Slide show that was shown at the 2018 meal below: