New Farmers Guide to Starting a Farm in Virginia

If you’ve been considering starting a hobby farm or a small farm for profit, you’re one of thousands of Americans of all ages who have recently delved into the field. To continue to encourage the growth of new farms, even the USDA has put money on the line, “nearly [tripling] funding for the only two programs specifically designed to support beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers,” according to The Atlantic. Running a small farm can be a rewarding hobby as well as a profitable business or side-hustle, but because of the nature of farming—startup costs are high and success often relies on experience—it’s not easy to dive right in. While deals can still be found, finding the right land to purchase or rent at the right price can be daunting, and equipment costs can quickly add up for even the smallest operations. Careful consideration and planning, and in many cases financing, are necessary to get hobby farms and farm businesses of all sizes off the ground and financially sustainable.

Farming is the biggest private industry in Virginia

Farming is the biggest private industry in Virginia, with almost 46,000 farms across the state. The vast majority of these farms, however, can be considered hobby farms, providing only a portion of the owners’ annual income. Is it worth it to start a farm, even if it may not be your only mode of income? An article from the University of Virginia addresses that question, arguing that farming can be “personally rewarding” whether you do it as a hobby or a way to make a living. Whatever type of operation you have, such as raising a few beef cattle or starting a broiler operation, farming can provide additional income, help subsidize the cost of your property, or even provide a living.

That’s not to say that a farm can’t support a family or individual. In fact, there are many government programs designed to help get new farms up and running, with tax-breaks, financial incentives, grants, and loans. Over the years, the push to promote access to healthy food, including vegetable and organic food production, has created numerous programs to assist, educate, and fund small farms—and many of these programs can be taken advantage of by both full and part-time farmers. However, having a good idea of what you want out of your farm, whether it be side-income or a full-time endeavor, is important to the ongoing success of your establishment.

Things to Consider When Developing Your Farm Goals

Before pouncing on a newly-listed farmette or moving back to the family farmstead, it’s important to consider some personal and practical questions about your goals as a farmer. These questions will help you refine your ideas and expectations, and ultimately allow you to create a viable business plan to allow your farm to flourish, as well as to present to family members, lenders, and other funding opportunities. Although there are many things to consider before jumping into starting a farm, there are three major questions you should ask yourself as you begin exploring the possibilities:

  • What do I want to put into my farm and what do I hope to get out of it?
  • What do I want to grow or raise on my farm?
  • And, how will I pay for it?

What do I want to put into my farm and what do I hope to get out of it?

Vegetable farmingThe first part of this question may require some soul-searching. Farming can be hard work, and even hobby farms require a lot of it. Consider how much time you are willing to devote to your farm — both on a day-to-day basis and seasonally. If you are recently retired and look forward to long winters in Florida, livestock like dairy cows that require a year-round commitment may not be the best bet. On the other hand, if you currently work as a teacher, growing vegetables seasonally might be a great side-income that takes advantage of extra free time in the summer. And if you’re ready to jump in and do the work of a full-time farmer, then it’s good to know what it takes to make a farm business successful and see if you’re up for the challenge.

When you consider the second part of this question—what you hope to get out of your farm — that doesn’t mean figuring out what your farm will produce. Rather, think about the benefits you hope to reap from your endeavors. The answer can be financial in nature—how much money do I want/need to make?—but it doesn’t have to be. What is your vision for life on the farm? What sort of experience or psychological reward do you hope to take away from it? At the end of the day, season, or year, what impact has farming had on your life?

The Good Heart Life recommends creating a holistic goal, which is different than a business plan, that includes three items: “Quality of Life Statements,” or how you want your daily life to be, “Behaviors and Systems,” or the things you will do and practices you will maintain to support that quality of life, and your “Vision,” or the ultimate impact your farm will have on you and your community, reflecting your core values and mission for the farm. Often times it is this holistical goal, rather than a financial one, that drives our desires to venture into the world of small farming, so it’s important to understand what we hope to gain from our hard work, before getting into the specific details.

Once you have a firmer understanding of how you want your farm to fit into your life and what you hope to achieve with your farm, only then is it time to determine what the farm that fulfills your goals will look like.

Choosing the Right Size Business for You

When talking about farm sizes, the first thing that will probably come to mind is acreage, but size isn’t the only thing that matters. Some lucrative and labor-intensive crops can happen on a very small scale, and some large-scale ventures can end up turning very little profit or even lose money in a bad year. Hops, the perennial vine whose flowers give definition to beer, is a great example: one acre can yield $25,000 or more, but requires significant infrastructure and hands-on hours during harvest. Successful small vegetable and fruit operations can also happen on smaller farms of a few acres or less. However, cattle will need room to roam and commodity crops like wheat and soy not only require substantial acreage but also expensive planting, weed management, and harvesting equipment. So when thinking about size, don’t just think about the size of the farm, but the size of the business as well. Will it be run in your spare time, full-time with no help, or will you hire staff or seasonal workers? How big do you want your business to be?

One acre of hops can yield $25,000 or more

Your financial status will likely come into play here, whether this endeavor will be self-financed, or if you will need to pursue financing options in order to make your dream a reality. While income from hobby farms may be useful to supplement land costs, most viable farm businesses rely on financing either to make the initial land purchase, to buy large equipment, or annually to make large regular purchases from livestock to seed. Financing also may be necessary to grow your farm to the size that it actually turns a profit. Rather than start very small and hope the minimal profits will enable you to continue to grow, creating a solid business plan and financing a larger but still manageable operation may allow you to generate a profit faster and be the difference between your farm being a financial liability and a viable business.

Choosing the Focus: What do I want to grow or raise on my farm?

Greenhouse hobby farmHobby farms and small farm businesses can pursue one specific focus, like goats or cut flowers, or something more in line with our traditional vision of the farm life: a small orchard, chickens running in the yard, and rows of vegetable beds. Many hobby farms end up growing into a small business, as the farmer hones in on specific areas of focus, professionalizing and making them profitable.

Although choosing a focus should come second to determining what size of operation you want to run, chances are you already have an idea of what you are interested in growing on your farm, and oftentimes your area of focus will dictate the size of your business or land and your seasonal workload. It’s good to consider these things—your desired business size and your area(s) of focus—simultaneously. You may even go back and forth or change your thoughts on one or the other as your ideas start to take shape. That’s all part of the process of making the best decision for you. Let’s take a look at some common focuses for small farms, some innovative revenue streams, and important things to consider as your ideas for your farm start to come to life.

The Beloved Market Farm:

With increasing consumer interest in purchasing local, seasonal food, as well as ever-expanded funding opportunities fueled by this interest, vegetable farming is rightly on the top of many new-farmers’ lists. And it’s hard to imagine an idyllic farmstead without a seasonal vegetable garden, lush and fruitful, tucked behind a white-picket fence. Growing vegetables has a place on nearly any small to mid-sized farm, whether it’s a kitchen garden for personal use, a market garden for selling at local farmers’ markets and roadside stands, or larger-scale, multi-acre vegetable production for local markets, including restaurants and stores. Most small vegetable farms are diverse, which means they do not specialize in only a few crops, but grow a wide variety of vegetables spanning the entire growing season. What you choose to grow will be in part determined by your own palate, but also by a number of other conditions, including the size and quality of available land, climate, and local demand.

Consider Land Needs

Soil quailty examination

Your business or personal plans will largely dictate what size your production will be, but the area of quality tillable land available to you will also impact not only the size but also what can be grown. Certain crops (like pumpkins and corn), can be space hogs for the entire growing season, while other crops can be quite productive in a small space, or can be part of a plan for succession planting, where one piece of land can produce more than one harvest (lettuce and greens are one of the most common examples of this). And almost all vegetable varieties need well-drained, fertile soil to thrive.

Smaller gardens in places with poor soil conditions can be constructed out of raised beds, composting and fertilizing, double-digging to loosen soil and bring nutrients to the surface, and terracing to prevent washed-out beds. But to bring poor, compacted, or wet soil to good, usable condition on more than half an acre of land can be daunting if not impossible. If you already have land you plan to use, consider whether or not it will be ideal for vegetable production and at what scale. If you are still looking for property, keep your production goals in mind as you scout out locations. Conducting soil tests prior to purchase or planting is important to avoid heartache and financial hardship down the road.

Lastly, don’t forget to ensure that you have a quality water source easily accessible to your planting beds, or that it will be affordable to bring one in. And if the conditions on your current property are just not right for vegetables, don’t despair — there are lots of other things to grow or uses for land that don’t have such high standards.

Growing for the Right Climate (and Beating Mother Nature)

Growing seasons in Virginia vary dramatically across the state

Beyond soil and land quality, you’ll need to consider the ins and outs of the climate of your region when determining what can be grown and at what scale. Unless you are specializing in only a few crops, the large variety most vegetable gardens contain further complicates the picture, which means effective space planning and planting scheduling are paramount to success.

The growing seasons in Virginia vary dramatically across the state, with last frost dates ranging from early April in Norfolk to early June in parts of the Blue Ridge Mountain region. Because of the range of climates all within the boundaries of one state, it’s important to be familiar with your own microclimate, which can be different from neighbor-to-neighbor or even from one side of your property to the other in mountainous areas. Additionally, the amount of rainfall, humidity, and high temperatures will affect not only what you can grow, but what will thrive in your region. Peppers and eggplant will explode given the proper heat, while kale will bolt and become bitter by May under the same sun.

While some plants must be direct-seeded, to get a proper harvest of market-stand favorites like tomatoes and peppers, you’ll need to plan seed in late winter or early spring and transplant once the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to the proper temperature. Planting early, even when not necessary, can also extend the growing (and harvesting!) season, and give you a jump on the local competition. So, despite being a Southern state, consider access to greenhouse space or the purchase of transplants a necessity for most areas of Virginia. Additionally, high tunnels, which are unheated, temporary greenhouse structures, provide a cost-effective way to extend the growing season several weeks on either end, and may be a simple alternative or additional means of increasing your production. The benefit of extending the growing season is that it not only produces more food on the same land, but it also spreads out your income and workload, while making the most of whatever space you have available.

In addition to weather, there are other aspects of mother nature that can have an impact on your crop production: Animals. For example, the average deer will eat up to seven pounds of food a day, which can amount to a lot of lost tomatoes. When growing in remote places with heavy animal populations, keep in mind that you might need to set up some kind of fencing or other deterrent to stave off the local critters.

Marketing Your Produce

Lastly, if you’re looking to market your vegetables, you’ll need to consider local demand and pre-existing competition. Scout out local farmers’ markets to gauge their size and ability to absorb another stand. Also, consider what is not already represented and see if your farm could fill in any gaps: is there a lack of organic produce, greens, or more exotic vegetables, for instance? Is there a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share already in the area? Is your farm or potential farm on a busy road that could support a roadside stand or onsite store? You can also approach nearby restaurants to see if they would be interested in sourcing fresh, local, seasonal produce. But don’t despair if you find yourself unable to sell everything you grow locally. Driving a few hours to sell to larger markets, especially those in NoVa, can be especially lucrative. The Washingtonian recently published this helpful map and guide to dozens of DC-area farmers’ markets, and Richmond has numerous opportunities, including the expansive Richmond Farmers’ Market.

Additional and Alternative Income Streams for the Small Farm

Keeping Bees for Honey

Despite the threat of Colony Collapse Disorder (sudden loss of whole colonies) as well as the general decline in wild bee populations due to rising disease in the US, beekeeping is still a popular farming venture, and with an array of value-added products like flavored honeys and candles, there are many possible streams of revenue.

Get started beekeeping for as little as $500

Beekeeping requires a lot of supplies upfront, from hives to protective gear to collection and storage equipment, not to mention the actual bees! Beekeeping can be started on a personal scale for as little as $500, though mid-size operations can cost thousands to get up and running. On a small scale, beekeeping is a part-time, somewhat seasonal hobby, with the most labor involved in setup (spring) and maintenance and honey collection (summer). As with all farming practices, seasonal changes play a big role in how you will start and tend your hives. Hives should be set up in the spring months in temperate climates like Virginia, so be ready to pre-order your colony and equipment in the winter in preparation. If you miss the window this year, you’ll have to wait till the following to order your bees to ensure that they will be well-fed and healthy enough to survive their first winter in their new home. A great resource for Virginia beekeepers is Virginia State Beekeepers Association, which not only provides in-depth information and classes about keeping bees, but also connections to local groups.

One thing to keep in mind before starting the time-consuming endeavor is to consider if your location is suitable for keeping bees, as well as choosing the right spot to start hives on your farm. If your hives will be located near a conventional farm, the threat of pesticides, such as neonicotinoids, is very real. Pesticide exposure is considered to be one of the causes behind Colony Collapse Disorder, and have caused the die-offs of small and major commercial colonies alike. Farms are required by law to notify beekeepers before pesticide applications (if requested), and to be upfront with information concerning their use of pesticides, so don’t be afraid to politely ask your neighbors in advance! Another thing to consider if you are near conventional farms is whether your bees will have the proper nutrition, which can contribute to their overall resilience to disease. According to planetbee.org, monoculture farming also makes it more challenging for the bees to forage a well-balanced diet,” so bees kept near these farms will need to have additional food sources. The upside to this is that a great partner for beekeeping is another great small-farm venture: cut flowers.

Cut Flowers and Herbs

Cut flowers can bring in up to $30,000 per acre, according to profitableplants.com, so making even a little room for them on your farm makes good financial sense. In addition to being one of the most highly-profitable forms of agriculture per acre, cut flowers (and herbs!) can be a great additional stream of income for not only beekeepers, but vegetable farmers as well, as most of the basic tools for for planting, transplanting, and harvesting can be used for both. Additionally, farms with lots of flowers bring native pollinators in to help your garden produce bountiful fruit, a much-needed boost in these days of declining beneficial insect populations. The more beneficial insects you have, the better the ecological balance your garden will have, leaving it less susceptible to infestations of harmful pests. Lastly, many flowers and herbs (like marigolds, cilantro, and mint) actually ward off the bad bugs. And if those arguments weren’t convincing enough, even a few specially-placed cut flower bouquets or luscious bunches of herbs will attract buyers to your market stand and add beauty and variety to your CSA.

Cut flowers can bring in up to $30,000 per acre

Cut flowers and herbs can be grown in the perimeter of existing vegetable beds as a side-stream of revenue, or on their own designated fields. As with vegetables, growing flowers strongly benefits from, and almost requires, access to greenhouse space to start transplants in mid to late winter, in order to expand varieties for sale, as well as get a jump start on the growing season. Depending on the size of the operation, you may also be able to purchase seedling transplants from local growers or wholesale, though you may sacrifice choice and it could, of course, cost significantly more per plant, hollowing out profit margins. Also be aware that commercially-grown transplants may be treated with chemicals that can deter beneficial insects or even harm your bee colonies, so also be sure to ask before purchase.

Animal Agriculture

So far we’ve focused on things that you plant and harvest, but also consider what you can raise, and how animals might fit into the picture. Adding a few animals to your farm, like goats or chickens, might bring in additional streams of revenue as well as valuable manure compost for your garden. And it’s hard to picture Virginia farmland without the rolling hills capped by miles of white equine fencing, In fact, you might want to just skip the crops altogether and devote your acreage to the animals.

Chickens, Ducks, and Geese: More than just eggs

Chicken farmAs Virginia Estates points out, “With the rising cost of eggs in today’s market and the dangers of pesticides coming to light, raising chickens can be the perfect solution if you have a bit of land.” Although keeping fowl seems like a surefire way to add to the authenticity of your farm, chickens, ducks, and geese offer a lot more benefit than you might initially think. Chicken manure is exceptionally high in nitrogen and makes great fertilizer for your vegetable beds. Chickens and ducks make for excellent insect control, devouring slugs, grubs, and other pests that can wreak havoc on gardens. Geese, on the other hand, are primarily herbivores, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their place. Metzer Farms, one of the largest waterfowl hatcheries in the country, details how useful these birds can be: “Weeder geese have been used for years to control unwanted vegetation in commercial crops, waterways and lawns [and] have strong food preferences with grasses being at the top of the list and most broad-leafed plants being disliked or unpalatable.” And of course, let’s not forget the eggs. Free range chicken eggs are in high demand and can bring $5/dozen or more in the right market. Goose and duck eggs can also fetch a good price in specialty markets, sometimes up to $5 an egg!

Larger Animals: Goats, Llamas, Alpacas, Sheep, Horses

If you don’t have a green thumb, but have space to spare, consider basing your enterprise on animals instead of plants. Because each animal eats about 3 pounds of food per 100 pounds of animal per day, and grazing too much on the same space can also lead to erosion as well as parasitic infestations in the soil that are difficult to defeat, you’ll ideally allot about 2 acres per animal for larger grazing animals. However, although access to water is imperative, the quality of land doesn’t necessarily have to meet the high standards of vegetable production, providing additional opportunities for those with lots of land but less-than-ideal growing conditions. Although we typically think of cattle or pig farms and dairy operations when we thinking of raising larger animals, here are a few additional “outside of the box,” ventures to consider for small farms.

Goat milk and products made from goat milk are still trending after years of popularity. According to Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance, raw goat’s milk can bring in the highest price of all dairy, selling for up to $14.50 per gallon. Additional items like goat cheese and yogurt can further increase profits and use up any milk not immediately sold, decreasing waste as well. Keep in mind, though, that goats need to be milked up to twice a day at peak lactation, and bred often (every 1-2 years) to keep the milk supply up. In other words, there’s a substantial and daily time commitment required for running a goat (or any!) dairy production.

Raw goat milk can sell for up to $14.50 per gallon

Llamas, alpacas, and sheep are kept for their wool and are relatively low maintenance on the day-to-day basis (more time is required for shearing), so may be good choices for those who would like to keep animals, but don’t want to spend hours milking and processing milk each day. Alpaca and llama wool can fetch a premium, but these animals will generally produce less wool and require more food than a sheep. Unless you have a large operation, your best bet will be to sell to local markets and crafters. Learning to spin and dye wool will add value to your product and expand your market to individuals who want to buy something ready to use, and this processing can be done at any time, for added flexibility. These animals are herd animals, so you’ll need to buy more than one. And costs can add up quickly for the initial animal purchase. As Andrew Amelinckx writes for Modern Farmer, “A nonbreeding male with decent fiber runs $500 to $1,000. Females who produce both fiber and offspring typically start at $3,000 and can go up to $30,000 or more, while show-worthy herd sires still fetch as much as $60,000.”

Lastly, especially in Virginia, another popular revenue stream for your small farm with room to spare can be animal boarding — particularly horses. Horse boarding requires significant infrastructure, including stables and large fenced pastures (at least 1 acre per horse). Home Advisor offers an informative break down of types of fencing and average costs, but in general, expect to pay at least a few thousand dollars for a small pasture. If you plan on just having a few horses for personal use, you can get away with a smaller and more affordable, no-frills shelter, however, if you are boarding horses for income your customers will expect much more, including access to equipment and gear, professional care-taking, and fully-enclosed and secure stables, which could add significant cost to your farm purchase if those facilities aren’t already on the premises. The Horse offers an excellent guide to building a horse farm from scratch, including hiring an architect or designer, site-planning, and managing manure.

Financing Your Dream: How will I pay for it?

Once you determine what your farm will look like, you’ll need to create a plan to achieve your vision in practical terms. The last question, and in many cases the most important, involves considering how you will finance your farm purchases — the farm itself, the equipment, infrastructure, seed/transplants, animals, workers, maintenance, utilities, taxes, and other yearly expenditures.

Creating an Effective Farm Business Plan

Almost all successful businesses depend on thorough planning, and this is especially true for those, like small farms, that have large initial and ongoing costs. Before you attempt to purchase your farm, taking the time to make an effective business plan will help you create a concrete strategy for proceeding, as well as open up many funding opportunities from places like local and national associations, state and federal programs, and conventional banks, who will expect you to have a clear vision (in writing!) before considering helping to finance your endeavor. There are literally hundreds of resources for creating a feasible small-farm business plan out there, but below you will find a round-up of five exceptionally useful business planning tools and services:

  • VA FAIRS (Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation, and Rural Sustainability) is a full-service nonprofit helping individuals start small farms in Virginia. VA FAIRS specializes in “strategic planning, grant assistance, feasibility study, and business plan creation, and cooperative assistance for rural agricultural enterprises,” assisting over 100 producers in the past three years.
  • AgPlan is a free website designed to help small farms develop their own business plans. AgPlan provides “customized assistance to different types of rural businesses” with “outline[s] designed specifically for that particular type of business, tips or questions that help you develop each section of the plan, sample business plans, and links to additional resources for each section of the plan.”
  • If you’re looking to learn how to start a farm in Virginia or transition your own conventional farm to other forms of agriculture, Piedmont Environmental Council offers significant conservation-focused educational opportunities, including online resources as well as the “Small Farm Dream Course.” The course provides support to “beginning and transitional farmers considering starting an agricultural operation,” and is designed for those who are “considering launching a small farm enterprise, but are not sure where to start.”
  • The Virginia SBDC provides counseling and education for small businesses of all kinds. In addition to online planning tools and resources, a wide array of classes are offered online on-demand as well as in person in small group sessions throughout Virginia.
  • Although not a local resource, the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) has published an extremely useful free publication, “Building a Sustainable Business, A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses.” Designed “to address the evolving business planning needs of beginning and experienced rural entrepreneurs,” the guide includes five designated tasks that guide you from identifying your values to creating and implementing a business plan.

Virginia Beginning Farmer Resources:

Additional Beginning Farmer Resources:

Funding Round Up

Federal Loans and Grants

Before we jump into the world of US Federal Funding, prepare yourself for a whole lot of acronyms, the most important of which is USDA. The USDA is the largest agricultural organization in the world, and although most of the funding is provided for large-scale conventional farms, there are a lot of opportunities for small, new farms as well. The 2018 USDA Farm Bill formed the FOTO program (Farming Opportunity Training and Outreach) which will receive $435 million in funding over the next 10 years to help new and underrepresented farmers get started in the field. Their website is a great resource for links to numerous programs through the USDA, though there are so many, it can be difficult to wade through. The USDA provides significant federal funding opportunities through a variety of programs, notably through the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The FSA offers many different kinds of loans suitable for beginning and small farmers, including general farm loans and loans for targeted audiences. A complete guide to FSA Farm Loans can be found in their online guide, but below you’ll find a broad overview of the many options.

General FSA Farm Loans

The FSA operates a number of loans for farm purchase, as well as general purchases and operating costs These include Direct Operating Loans for things like “livestock and feed; farm equipment; fuel, farm chemicals, insurance, and family living expenses” as well as “minor improvements or repairs to buildings and fencing; and general farm operating expenses,” as well as Microloans designed especially for small and beginning farmers, especially those with “specialty crop and niche type operations.” Direct Farm Ownership Loans can be used to purchase property or build your facilities, as well as for “soil and water conservation and protection purposes.” And lastly and most common, Guaranteed Loans are designed to finance farmers who may not qualify for a conventional commercial loan. You can apply for these loans directly at your local lender, including F & M Bank.

Loans for Targeted Audiences

There are also many FSA loan programs designed to help nontraditional and small farmers get their foot in the door. These include Youth Loans for young people to “to finance educational, income-producing, agriculture-related projects,” loans for Minority and Women Farmers and Ranchers designed to “support the full participation of minority and women family farmers in FSA’s farm loan programs,” and loans for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers, which can finance farmers who have been operating for less than 10 years.

USDA Grants

In addition to borrowing money through their loan programs, the USDA also offers numerous grants special for small local farmers of healthful goods, including grants for specialty crops, value-added products, promoting the consumption of local food and farmers’ markets. They even have a grant program for improving the energy efficiency of your operation (REAP).

Part of the giant USDA umbrella are two other note-worthy organizations: National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which provides grants through Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).

The NRCS provides financial and technical assistance through the following programs:

  • Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA): Can be used to build or improve irrigation systems
  • Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP): Can be used to improve the quality of resources condition like energy, water, soil, and habitat
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP): Can be use for “conservation practices, or activities, such as conservation planning, that address natural resource concerns on their land.” Additionally, the competitive Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) is awarded for projects that “stimulate the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on agricultural lands.”

SARE has funded over 6,700 grants for farms and educators looking to promote their mission: “to advance—to the whole of American agriculture—innovations that improve profitability, stewardship and quality of life by investing in groundbreaking research and education.” SARE is divided into four regions, Virginia falling under Southern SARE, which has granted over $5 Million in funding in Virginia alone. For small farmers, SARE offers “On-Farm Research Grants” and “Producer Grants,” which fund of up to $15,000, to “test on-farm or marketing ideas or solutions to existing farm problems…” A recent local example of a SARE grant project was testing production methods for growing baby ginger over winter: “the project built a house-within-a-house protecting the mature plants even at Blue Ridge winter temperatures to explore seed production possibilities.”

State Funding and Local Resources

VA Farmer Resources

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the size and number of federal programs, keep in mind that there are numerous state and local programs available to Virginians, both to help you apply to federal programs and to help finance your undertaking on a more local and personal level. Here are a few to get you started:

VA FAIRS: As part of its goal of helping small farmers get started, VA FAIRS offers assistance in applying for federal grants, particularly the USDA’s Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG), with awards of up to $250,000 for operations including “fresh produce, wine, beer, spirits, dairy, fish, forestry, livestock, meat processing, and more.”

The Virginia Cooperative Extension also provides assistance in applying for USDA loans including REAP, VAPG, and Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program. Additional

Staunton Creative Community Fund: SCCF offers microlending to the Shenandoah Valley with loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 paid back over 1-6 years. There is special consideration for businesses which are “socially equitable” and “environmentally sound.” SCCF serves the counties of Augusta, Rockingham, Rockbridge, Highland, Bath, Albemarle, and Nelson, and the cities of Staunton, Waynesboro, Harrisonburg and Lexington.

In an effort to promote access to healthy food, the Virginia Community Capital offers an array of loans for borrowers including “food hub operators, retail and wholesale distributors, value-added processors and producers, and food business incubators.” Loans can be used for both acquiring real estate and improving and expanding small businesses.

Conventional Financing: The Benefits of Working with a Local Bank

Although there are numerous government and private programs out there to help you finance or fund your dream, it is likely that you will also rely on conventional financing from a local bank as well, either to fill in the gaps in funding or make large purchases (including the initial land purchase!) that do not qualify for other forms of assistance. When choosing a financial institution, finding a reliable, knowledgeable, and local option will provide you with the peace of mind that you will always have someone available and on your side as you wade into the complicated business of starting and funding a small farm.

F&M has been serving area farmers since it was incorporated by farmers and local businesses in 1908, and provides an array of financial services to help finance your farm and manage your business finances, including mortgages, home equity, and construction loans to fund the initial property purchase and/or improvements of a small farm, as well as agricultural financing (including USDA Guaranteed Loans) for real estate, cattle, dairy, and poultry farm operations and business checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and cash management.

With the recent hire of Paul Eberly as Vice President, Agricultural and Rural Programs Leader, F&M Bank has shown itself to be a dedicated resource for farmers in Virginia, especially in the Shenandoah Valley. Paul is knowledgeable about farming and farm business alike (he has Bachelor of Science in Animal & Poultry Science from Virginia Tech, with a Minor in Agricultural & Applied Economics!) and will work with clients to consider both long term goals as well as short-term financial needs. Whether you are just becoming interested in how to become a farmer in Virginia, or have been running your own enterprise for years, F&M Bank has the resources, knowledge, and tools to help make your farm a success.

Tom Campbell, AVP / Commercial Relationship ManagerNMLS# 494610 Jordan Dean, Business Development Officer Ag & Rural ProgramsNMLS# 1627648 Greg Spitler, VP Agribusiness Relationship ManagerNMLS# 494629 Paul Eberly, VP Ag & Rural Programs LenderNMLS# 1060550
(540) 713-2567
tcampbell@fmbankva.com 
(540) 437-3472
jdean@fmbankva.com 
(540) 437-3468
gspitler@fmbankva.com 
(540) 433-0112
peberly@fmbankva.com

F&M Bank Sponsors Great Community Give

Our business has joined the Great Community Give as a platinum sponsor. The Great Community Give, an initiative of The Community Foundation, is a community-wide day of giving for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. 89 nonprofits from all over greater Harrisonburg & Rockingham County will benefit from this powerful day of action on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 from 6:30am to 8:00pm. This innovative online fundraising event encourages Harrisonburg & Rockingham County residents to donate in support of their favorite local charities.

The Community Foundation has raised over $70,000 in sponsorship prizes for the nonprofits that raise the most money and have the most unique donors. Other prizes will also be given throughout the day. Donors go online to www.greatcommunitygive.org to connect with causes they care about and make tax-deductible donations to support the important work of nonprofits that serve the greater Harrisonburg and Rockingham area.

We highly encourage you to give to your favorite local charities on April 17th. You can easily donate for as little as $10. If you have any questions about this event, please call The Community Foundation, (540) 432-3863.

F&M Bank volunteers mark Agriculture Literacy Week

PRESS RELEASE: F&M Bank volunteers mark Agriculture Literacy Week

For Immediate Release | March 27, 2019

Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom celebrated its annual Agriculture Literacy Week March 18-22, and volunteers from Bridgewater, Elkton and Woodstock F&M Bank locations were among participants.

John Coffman, Ashley Griffith, Ashley Lam, Ashley McClure, and Paul Eberly of F&M Bank joined volunteers from Farm Bureaus, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Farm Credit, local FFA chapters and other agriculture organizations to read books about agriculture in their local schools.

Many read the book Right This Very Minute by Lisl H. Detlefsen and donated copies to school libraries. The book was selected as the 2019 Virginia AITC Book of the Year.

“Reading in the classroom gave us an opportunity to share agriculture with children and help them understand why it’s so important in Virginia and right here in their community,” Eberly said.

Having members of the agriculture community in classrooms across Virginia “is a great opportunity for students and their teachers to learn about agriculture from those who know it best,” said AITC Executive Director Kelly Pious. “The number of volunteers, state agriculture officials and others who step forward each year to read to children in their communities is simply incredible.”

Virginia AITC is part of a nationwide effort to help teachers and students understand and appreciate agriculture, which is Virginia’s and the nation’s largest industry. The program provides an opportunity for children to connect to agriculture through volunteer-led activities, school grants, educator professional development and web resources at AgInTheClass.org.

The AITC program is funded by donations received through the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. For information on supporting the foundation’s educational initiatives, visit AgInTheClass.org and click on the “Donor” link.

For more information, please contact Holly Thorne, Marketing Director at (540) 217-6409, or email marketing@fmbankva.com.

 

About F&M Bank

F&M Bank serves the Shenandoah Valley with 13 full-service branches, a network of ATMs, and a wide variety of financial services including home loans through F&M Mortgage and titling services through VS Title. Both individuals and businesses find the organization’s local decision-making, and up-to-date technology provide the kind of responsive, knowledgeable, and reliable service that only a progressive community bank can. F&M Bank has grown to over $770 million in assets and boasts over 175 full and part-time employees. Its conservative approach to finances and sound investments, along with excellent customer service, has made F&M Bank profitable and continues to pave the way for a bright future.

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Students Spend Day Learning About Banking

by Megan Williams, Daily News Record

During March, area high school seniors will spend time shadowing bankers at F&M Bank as part of Bank Day, a statewide effort sponsored by the Virginia Bankers Association’s Education Foundation and the VBA Emerging Bank Leaders.

The purpose of the day is to expose students to the banking industry and provide an opportunity for the students to learn about banking, financial services and the role F&M Bank plays in its community.

On Thursday, a group of 10 students from area high schools learned about different jobs at F&M Bank in Timberville.

A few of the students were there because they want to go into some aspect of banking some day, while others said they wanted to learn about financial responsibility and familiarize themselves with how banks work.

Students learned about tellers, loan officers, brokers, collections agents, information technology and security, and outreach, and how all of those different areas are part of F&M Bank, which employs more than 200 people in the area.

“A lot of the students come in and don’t know a lot about what we do,” said Aaron Green, senior vice president and commercial relationship manager. “Banks all over the commonwealth are doing this. Our model is probably a little different. We want to expose them to all areas of the bank.”

Autumn Slifer, a senior at Broadway High School, said she wants to go into banking, most likely as an accountant.

“I know a lot of people in the banking field,” Slifer said.

Even so, there were a lot of areas of banking she was unfamiliar with before Thursday, especially the security and technology aspects of the industry.

“It was definitely worth the time,” said Slifer, who plans to attend Blue Ridge Community College in the fall.

Abby Olmstead, also a senior at Broadway High School, said she enjoyed getting to meet the people behind different banking jobs who you wouldn’t see on a daily basis.

“It’s really popular to vilify banking,” Olmstead said, “but they are real people.”

Contact Megan Williams at 574-6272, @DNR_Learn or mwilliams@dnronline.com

Insights from Paul Eberly – Shenandoah Valley’s Agribusiness Resource

Photo of Paul EberlyPaul E. Eberly, Vice President – Agricultural & Rural Programs Leader
2030 Legacy Lane, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
540-217-6410
peberly@fmbankva.com
NMLS# 1060550

Question: Describe your experience in the ag industry.

I received a Bachelor of Science in Animal & Poultry Science from Virginia Tech, with a Minor in Agricultural & Applied Economics. I worked for Farm Credit for nearly 14 years prior to joining the bank; 8 years as Corporate Credit Analyst completing credit analysis and developing solutions for customers in an Agribusiness Unit, 4  years as Regional Sales & Lending Manager overseeing an 8 person lending team focused on Commercial Agriculture (farming) loans in a region between Lexington, Halifax and Abingdon, VA, and 2 years as Director of Risk & Reporting where I was tasked with improving the organization’s data reporting and management, as well as portfolio risk management. I have worked with and financed all aspects of agriculture in Virginia, from tobacco to dairy, agribusiness to poultry, agritourism to beef and everything in between.

 

Question: How would your ag clients describe you?

Someone that always returns phone calls and is extremely accessible. A problem solver that looks at the long range goals of the farm to design financing that meets the client’s short term needs and long term goals. Knowledgeable regarding agriculture and the relationship between how production changes can impact financial results and vice versa.

 

Question: How would your family describe you?

Driven to succeed in whatever I do, but also outgoing, warm, and friendly.

 

Question: What’s most important to you professionally and/or personally?

I feel I have been blessed with a strong understanding of credit, finance, accounting etc. and how they can impact an agricultural operation. I feel it is my calling to use the abilities I have been blessed with to serve the agribusinesses and farmers in our community.  This is very important to me, and I consider myself lucky to do this in the Shenandoah Valley where I was born and raised!

 

Question: Do you personally volunteer or support any charitable organizations?

I am a member of Cooks Creek Presbyterian Church, volunteer at my children’s schools, and plan to join and be active in the West Rockingham Ruritans club.

 

Question: What is the most rewarding part of your work?

Listening to a producer to gain an understanding of their short and long term needs and goals, developing a solution that meets their wishes and seeing them succeed over the long run! The fact that I now get to do this in my own community makes it that much sweeter!

 

Question: From your experience working in ag over the years, what’s your top advice for seasoned ag businesses owners? How about for young farmers?

For seasoned producers:

Understand your cost of production! This is critical in every aspect of agricultural or agribusiness production. Understanding your costs on a per lb., per cwt. or other per unit basis will enable you to make crucial decisions better

When you are growing, beware of growing too fast! Often times, we have the ability to increase production / sales, but growing too fast can leave you in a working capital pinch.  As hard as it is, sometimes the best thing you can do during aggressive expansion is to take a year off and let your balance sheet catch up to your growth!

If the next generation is interested in taking over your operation, early is never early enough in terms of transition planning. Make sure that your vision for their future aligns with their interests.  Nothing is more encouraging to the next generation than including them at a younger age in the decision making process!

For young producers:

Sometimes, starting small, whether it is renting a facility or ground to operate on is a great option to get started. Do not feel like you have to be able to “buy the operation” out of the gate.

There is a multitude of assistance and information out there to help you get started – whether it is Virginia Cooperative Extension, USDA or other services, if you make the right contacts and ask the right questions, you would be surprised at who is willing to help you out!

 

Question: What trends are you anticipating for the ag industry in the year ahead?

I shy away from being a prognosticator on agriculture! One thing that I do believe will continue is the consolidation within agriculture.  However, I do believe that there are many smaller operations that will continue to be successful and profitable.  While larger operations can take advantage of economies of scale, smaller operations are easier to adjust and diversify.

It might not all happen in the next year, but the trend in agriculture is that farmers are going to have to become more like businessmen in the future. Every decision needs to be made after careful consideration of the impact to the bottom line, not only this year, but beyond.  Farmers in the future will have to be agronomists, bookkeepers, nutritionists and sometimes weathermen among many others to be successful!

 

Do you have a question for Paul?

For all things related to agricultural and rural community programs across the Shenandoah Valley, Paul is your resource. He can be reached directly at 540-217-6410 or peberly@fmbankva.com. Make sure to look for Paul as he visits our farming communities in Rockingham, Page, Augusta, and Shenandoah counties.

 

PRESS RELEASE: F&M Bank Welcomes Paul Eberly as Vice President, Agricultural and Rural Programs Leader

PRESS RELEASE: F&M Bank Welcomes Paul Eberly as Vice President, Agricultural and Rural Programs Leader

For Immediate Release

Photo of Paul Eberly

January 16, 2019 | Timberville, VA ‐‐ F&M Bank is pleased to welcome Paul Eberly as Vice President, Agricultural and Rural Programs Leader to its growing organization. Paul brings with him over 13 years of experience in agricultural lending, sales, and credit within the Farm Credit System. Paul will use his expertise to meet the needs of F&M Bank’s agricultural and rural customers in each of its market areas.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with F&M Bank to be a financial partner for our farming and rural communities.  As the state’s largest agricultural production region, the Shenandoah Valley deserves a financial partner who understands their needs and has a history of over 110 years of building relationships and reinvesting in the community,” said Mr. Eberly.

Raised in Dayton with strong ties to the agricultural community, Paul now resides in Singers Glen with his wife Whitney and four children. Paul is a member of Cooks Creek Presbyterian Church and enjoys spending time with his family on their land. Please look for Paul as he visits our farming communities and seeks input into how F&M Bank can better serve their financial service needs.

About F&M Bank

F&M Bank serves the Shenandoah Valley with 13 full-service branches, a network of ATMs, and a wide variety of financial services including home loans through F&M Mortgage and titling services through VS Title. Both individuals and businesses find the organization’s local decision-making, and up-to-date technology provide the kind of responsive, knowledgeable, and reliable service that only a progressive community bank can. F&M Bank has grown to over $770 million in assets and boasts over 175 full and part-time employees. Its conservative approach to finances and sound investments, along with excellent customer service, has made F&M Bank profitable and continues to pave the way for a bright future.

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The F&M Bank Guide to the Best Nonprofit Resources in the Shenandoah Valley and Beyond!

At F&M Bank, community has always come first. We understand the valuable role nonprofits play in creating thriving towns and communities. That’s why we encourage our employees to support local causes and, as a company, F&M donates time and resources to local charities and events. We are proud to have the top spot in deposit share for Harrisonburg-Rockingham County, and we also strive to be the top bank for nonprofit organizations across the Shenandoah Valley. In that vein, we created this comprehensive directory of nonprofit resources to support your organization. From free nonprofit resources to member organizations, you’ll find it all in our best-of list. If you’re looking for a nonprofit bank account, we can help with that, too!

County-level Resources for Nonprofits

In honor of our 110th anniversary in 2018, F&M Corp. donated money to three local community foundations, each featured in this section. The donor-advised funds will provide gifts to community organizations. Other highlights from the year include our sponsorship of a Habitat for Humanity home build nine F&M employees’ involvement with United Way’s Day of Caring. We are grateful for these opportunities to bring our community closer together and strengthen the nonprofit organizations doing important work in the Shenandoah Valley.

Rockingham County

Rockingham County

  • The Great Community Give: An initiative of The Community Foundation, April 17th is “a single day of giving to partnered local nonprofits.” F&M Bank is proud to be a featured sponsor of this important event. You can sign up to be a partnered nonprofit here.

Page County

Page County

  • Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce: Represents local businesses and non-profit organizations. Member benefits include networking events, free advertising, educational resources, and more.

Shenandoah County

Shenandoah County

  • Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit Council: A supportive organization for nonprofits to help them grow and connect with the community they serve. Take advantage of the committee’s networking events, such as the Community Volunteer Fair during National Volunteer Week in April. The Nonprofit Council also offers educational presentations, resource sharing, and advocacy on behalf of Shenandoah County’s nonprofit community.
  • Shenandoah Community Foundation: The motto of this Woodstock-based organization is “Connecting people who care with causes that matter.” They support nonprofits in Shenandoah County and surrounding communities by offering grants and endowment management.

Augusta County

Augusta County

State-level Resources for Nonprofits in Virginia

VA nonprofit resources

Our statewide directory includes free online resources for nonprofits, grant resources for nonprofits, and more.

  • ConnectVA: A Richmond-based organization dedicated to a thriving nonprofit community. Use their educational resources, list your nonprofit in the directory, and connect with other nonprofit professionals in the discussion forum. There is even an “Item Exchange” page that works like a Freecycle group specifically for nonprofits. Have a piece of office equipment you no longer use? Looking for something? Trade furniture and equipment here.
  • The Planning Council: Headquartered in Norfolk, The Planning Council can help human services-focused nonprofits with data, research, and grants. Use the contact form on their Community Engagement Services page.
  • Virginia Grants: Search for a state grant that matches your field of interest. Opportunities include alcohol education and prevention, land and water conservation, wildlife protection, Civil War battlefields, community services, and more.

Bonus: National and Online Resources for Nonprofits

Other Nonprofit Resources

Stay rooted in your community while leveraging nonprofit technology resources and other resources for nonprofit organizations from across the country.

  • Google Ad Grants: Qualifying nonprofits can use $10,000 in “in-kind Google Ads advertising every month.” When people search for organizations with similar missions, they’ll see your message. This helps you grow brand awareness and increase your donations and volunteers.
  • gov Assistance Listings: Search for federal government grants and other types of financial assistance for your nonprofit.
  • GrantSelect: Calling itself “the practical online grants resource,” you can search its platform for funding related to your project or mission.
  • Volunteer Match: Consider this LinkedIn for the nonprofit world. Potential volunteers can search for causes in their area (a search for Harrisonburg, VA, for example, returns a variety of results) and connect with related organizations to volunteer and donate. Join for $9.95/month.
  • Nonprofit Answer Guide: Operated by the Center for Nonprofit Management, this treasure trove of educational resources includes every topic you need to learn about to succeed in the nonprofit world. CNM also offers consulting, training, and coaching.
  • BoardSource: This membership program offers year-round support to help you improve your board and mission. Resources include downloadable tools and templates, networking, mentoring, and articles.
  • Alliance for Nonprofit Management: A nationwide group of nonprofit consultants and other professionals. Offers a full menu of events, resources, and programs, as well as an annual conference.
  • Techsoup: Purchase the tech you need at special discounts just for nonprofits.
  • Nonprofit Library: Join for free and get access to over 50 resources written by nonprofit professionals for nonprofit organizations.

Local Nonprofit Support from F&M Bank

F&M Bank Supports Nonprofits

As a longtime community bank, F&M has always been committed to supporting local nonprofits through time, resources, and convenient banking services. With our Local Promise Deposit Account Package, you’ll have access to convenience services, technology, treasury management, merchant services, and more. We’ve also partnered with the Shenandoah Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals to bring you the training resources and networking opportunities you’ve been looking for. Interested in opening a business non-profit checking account? Visit one of our convenient locations in Augusta, Page, Rockingham and Shenandoah counties or in the cities of Harrisonburg and Staunton to speak with a member of our team.

F&M Bank Participates in Scholarship Program

During March, Virginia high school seniors will have the opportunity to spend the day shadowing bankers at F&M Bank as part of Bank Day, a statewide effort sponsored by the Virginia Bankers Association (VBA) Education Foundation and the VBA Emerging Bank Leaders. The purpose of the day is to expose students to the banking industry and provide an opportunity for the students to learn about banking, financial services and the vital role F&M Bank plays in its community.

The third Tuesday in March was declared Bank Day by the Virginia General Assembly in 1991 and F&M Bank is proud to host students for this important program.  From their experience, participating students will write an essay for the chance to win a scholarship. Six regional scholarships of $2,500 each will be awarded, and from those six winners an overall statewide winner will be chosen. The statewide winner will receive an additional $5,000 scholarship – $7,500 in total. There will also be six honorable mention scholarships of $1,000 each. In all, twelve students will receive scholarships totaling $26,000.

During their visit, the students will visit various bank departments; learn about the loan process, the importance of good credit, the profile of a qualified borrower, appropriate etiquette during a job interview, how F&M Bank is involved in the community, the Federal Reserve System, payments, etc.

“Bank Day is one of the best short-term, hands-on experiences that a classroom teacher can offer their students—the opportunity to go inside the bank vault, to watch customer/bank officer interaction, to learn about the many services that banks offer, and to start the networking that often leads to part-time and summer jobs, scholarships, and a start on a career path in the financial world,” said Bruce Whitehurst, president & CEO of the Virginia Bankers Association.

F&M Bank will offer three different locations/dates for bank day shadowing*:

March 12th – F&M Bank Harrisonburg, 80 Cross Keys Road

March 14th –  F&M Bank Timberville, 205 S Main Street

March 19th – F&M Bank Staunton, 30 Gosnell Crossing

If interested in signing up for the program, click here.

For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Kelsey Dean, Marketing Specialist, at kwdean@fmbankva.com or 540-896-1741.

*Make up dates are scheduled in the event there is inclement weather. March 19th (Harrisonburg), March 20th (Timberville), and March 21st (Staunton).

Announcing The Virginia Food Truck Battle, Sponsored by F&M Bank

Looking for something fun to do over Labor Day weekend? Come to the 4th Annual Virginia Food Truck Battle on Sunday, 9/2.

Looking for something fun to do over Labor Day weekend? Come to the 4th Annual Virginia Food Truck Battle on Sunday, 9/2. Located at the Augusta Expo in Fishersville, VA, the festival features 18 food truck competitors, 8 local breweries and vineyards, a special kids area with entertainment and activities, live music, and artisan/craft vendors. Gates open at 12:30 pm for General Admission Tickets ($10 in advance or $15 at the door) and Beer Tasting General Admission Tickets ($25 and includes a tasting glass, 2 oz sample of the 6 competing beers, and a chance to vote for your favorite brew). If you don’t want to miss a thing, come at 11:30 with a VIP Ticket ($40 in advance or $45 at the door) to receive a sample from 6 of the competing food trucks, 6 beer tastings, and a chance to vote on your favorites from both categories. Children 6 and under are free with a ticket-holding adult.

International Cuisine From Across Virginia

Taste the best of Virginia–and the world–with this year’s diverse selection of food trucks.

Virginia Food Trucks

  • Pachamama Peru: This Charlottesville-based food truck serves Peruvian food made with local meats and produce.
  •  Mouth Wide Open: Also from Charlottesville, the American-inspired gourmet menu reflects the owners’ travels across the country.
  • El Chilango Mexican Food: Traveling to this year’s battle from Arlington, El Chilango’s Facebook page is filled with rave reviews of their tacos.
  • Sourdough Pizza Co.: Fresh, homemade pizza with a sourdough crust from Forest, VA.
  • Hops Kitchen: Based out of Waynesboro’s Basic City Brewery, they describe their menu as “everything but the kitchen sink.” You’ll find flavors from all over the world and the country.
  • Moe’s Original BBQ: With Alabama roots and a headquarters in Charlottesville, Moe’s makes Southern-style barbecue sandwiches and platters.
  • 106 Street Food: This isn’t your grandfather’s street food! 106 serves high quality, freshly made sandwiches with locally sourced ingredients. They also hail from Charlottesville.
  • Sallie’s Kitchen: Soul food from Richmond, VA.
  • Master Sargent BBQ: This is another veteran-owned business serving up South Carolina-style barbecue from Southwest Virginia.
  • The Black Pearl: Fried and steamed seafood from Southeast Virginia.
  • Matchsticks BBQ: This barbecue truck from Williamsburg uses slow cooking to create authentic, wood-smoked barbecue.

 

Shenandoah Valley Food Trucks

Shenandoah Valley Food Trucks

We’re especially excited to cheer for these local small businesses.

 

  • Rocks Money Pit BBQ: This award-winning food truck from Greenville keeps their menu short and sweet with iconic barbecue sandwiches and sides.
  • Holy Smokes BBQ: This Waynesboro-based barbecue truck mixes classic and modern offerings in their menu.
  • Gloria’s Pupuseria: Salvadoran food from Staunton, VA
  • Breakfast Bus: A favorite of JMU staff and students, this Harrisonburg-based food truck serves breakfast sandwiches, empanadas, doughnuts, and more.
  • Grillzilla Pizza: Also from Harrisonburg, this food truck makes pizza from scratch with local ingredients.
  • Paella Perfecta: Welcome back another Harrisonburg gem and the 2017 winner of the The Virginia Food Truck Battle. Paella Perfecta serves authentic Spanish tapas and paella.
  • Chubbee Monkee: This veteran-owned food truck is based in Stuarts Draft, Augusta County, and serves cheesesteaks, steak burgers, and other American favorites.

 

All Proceeds Go To The MaDee Project

Proceeds benefit The Madee Project

What’s better than getting together for live music, tasty food, and refreshing brews? All of these things, PLUS the good feeling you get from knowing the event proceeds will benefit a worthwhile organization. The MaDee Project funds national research to find a cure for pediatric cancer. It also provides financial support to pediatric cancer patients and their families who need help with medical expenses and other costs related to cancer treatment and care. The Project operates in and serves families from Staunton, Augusta County, and Waynesboro. Here at F&M, we’re thrilled to support an event that will benefit a wonderful local cause .

Help Us Spread The Word!

May the tastiest truck win!

We hope to see you at The Virginia Food Truck Battle on September 2nd. It’s a great opportunity to mingle with and support the greater Shenandoah Valley community. As the oldest community bank in Rockingham County, we have a deep love for the Valley and its people, and we’re excited to sponsor this fun and charitable event. Help us spread the word by liking the Food Truck Battle’s Facebook page and inviting your friends.

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F&M Bank Corporate Foundation Sponsors Habitat for Humanity Build

F&M Bank is excited to announce that the F&M Corporate Foundation will be sponsoring a Central Valley Habitat for Humanity home build this summer. The home will be located at 955 Roberts Court on the northside of Harrisonburg.

“The selection of the Central Valley Habitat for Humanity as a beneficiary of the F&M Corporate Foundation just made sense for our organization”, says F&M Bank President, Mark Hanna. “Habitat for Humanity is founded on generosity and bringing people together to empower and improve our community. We share a common commitment to helping families realize the American dream.”

F&M Bank is dedicated to being a positive force for change in the community, and this mindset is exemplified through employee volunteerism and leadership. This summer, employees of F&M Bank and F&M Mortgage will play an active role in the construction of the property and look forward to the hands-on involvement.

On June 24th at 3pm, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 955 Roberts Court, Harrisonburg. F&M Bank invites all community members to attend and join the celebration.  

About F&M Bank
F&M Bank serves the Shenandoah Valley with 13 full-service branches, a network of ATMs, and a wide variety of financial services. Both individuals and businesses find the organization's local decision-making, and up-to-date technology provide the kind of responsive, knowledgeable, and reliable service that only a progressive community bank can. F&M Bank has grown to over $750 million in assets and boasts over 160 full and part-time employees. Its conservative approach to finances and sound investments, along with excellent customer service, has made F&M Bank profitable and continues to pave the way for a bright future.

About F&M Mortgage
F&M Mortgage (NMLS #275173) is a true local mortgage company serving the community for almost 20 years. Their deep roots encourage employees to work even harder to make the community a great place to live. Friendly and knowledgeable mortgage advisors and in-house processing and underwriting give customers excellent service and local decision making. F&M Mortgage offers a full product line – from conventional loans to 100% financing – but it is the relationships with clients that matter most.

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