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Agriculture and forestry are major components of the economic base in Essex County. The Essex Economic Development Authority in cooperation with the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund Advisory Board and a private contractor recently completed an Agriculture and Forestry Strategic Plan. Following are some of the findings from the strategic plan.

Geographically, seventy-five percent of the land base in Essex County is in agriculture and forestry production. More than 80,000 acres are devoted to the production of pine and hardwood trees, while more than 44,000 acres of land is in corn, wheat, barley, and soybeans with minimal acreage in other crops. From an acreage standpoint, soybean is the largest crop in the county with annual production of over 20,000 acres. The small-grain, soybean double crop has been an important cropping system in the county for several decades. This system allows two crops (wheat or barley and soybeans) to be harvested in one year so harvested cropland per year is almost 57,000 acres.

According to the 2017 USDA Census, there are 88 farms in the county. The size of the farms is diverse with about one-third of the farms having 50 or fewer acres, one-third having 50 to 500 acres, and one-third having 500 acres or more.

One the main goals of the Essex unit of Virginia Cooperative Extension is to provide support to this important industry through educational programs to assist producers and agri-businesses in Essex and surrounding counties.

Services Offered:

  • Business Planning, Marketing Planning
  • Transition and Estate Planning Preparation
  • Pesticide Safety Training
  • Soil Testing & Fertilization Recommendations
  • On-Farm Visits
  • Forage Testing
  • Insect Identification
  • Plant Disease and Plant Identification
  • Crop Diagnostic Troubleshooting
  • On-Farm Research Test Plots
  • On-Farm Field Consultations
  • Aquaculture and Pond Management
  • Pasture Management

How information is distributed:

  • Crop Conferences and other Meetings
  • Field Days and Tours
  • Private Pesticide Applicator Permit Testing and Re-certification
  • Agriculture Pesticide Disposal Program
  • Newsletters
  • Newspaper articles
  • Telephone Calls
  • Emails
girls with lambs, green backdrop with white clovers

Essex County 4-H works to promote positive youth development by providing learning opportunities through in-school programs, 4-H Junior Camp, and 4-H clubs.


Essex Livestock Club meets monthly at the Extension Office from October through April, and club members are given the chance to learn about animal husbandry, good sportsmanship, and small business management. Club members have the opportunity to raise project animals to show and sell at the Fredericksburg Area Jr. Livestock Show and Sale in May. For more information about the livestock club, please contact Robbie Longest at 804-443-3551/, or Danielle Brown at 804-443-3303/ 


4-H Junior Camp is held during the summer for a week at the Jamestown 4-H Educational Center. More details can be found about this camp on our Camp Page. For more information on 4-H programs in Essex County, please contact Danielle Brown at 804-443-3303/

NOTE: The Gloucester County FCS agent covers Essex County. The information below links to the Gloucester County website.

Frank Long,  ANR Agent

Middlesex Extension Office

(804) 758-4120


Robbie Longest, ANR Agent

Essex Extension Office

(804) 443-3551

The Virginia Master Naturalist (VMN) program is a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.

Composed of 30 semi-independent, locally focused chapters, the program is actively supported, guided, and represented by the over-arching statewide VMN program.

Become a Master Naturalist HERE

Soil samples are analyzed for specific soil nutrients to determine proper application rates of fertilizer and lime for optimum plant growth. Routine analysis includes soil pH, P, K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Mn, Cu, Fe, and B. Soluble Salts and Organic Matter tests are also available. Completed soil test results, along with a recommendation on fertilization and liming, are mailed to the client.  Sampling and mailing instructions are found on the sample boxes and forms, which should be sent directly to the lab with the soil sample and payment.

Soil sample boxes and information sheets are available at these locations:

* VCE Gloucester Office 

* Tractor Supply (6499 Market Dr, Gloucester, VA 23061)

* Ace  Hardware (2384 Hayes Rd, Hayes, VA 23072)

In State samples are $10.00

Home & Garden Sample Form

Commercial Crop Production Sample Form








How to pay for your sample (BEFORE SHIPPING)

  1.  Access the Gloucester County-Virginia Cooperative Extension Destiny One Payment website with the following url:
  2.  If this is the first time you have paid for a sample in Destiny One, you will have to create an account. If you already have an account, skip to Step 3.
  3.  Follow the directions on the Destiny One payment page to complete your payment.
  4.  When you have completed your payment print a hard or digital copy of the payment receipt. A payment receipt must be included with a digital or physical submission. When submitting a sample, include a hardcopy of the payment receipt in the package to be mailed OR if the VCE office is mailing the sample or uploading a digital submission for you, provide the payment receipt to the VCE office.

Note: If you are unable or do not wish to pay by credit card via the Destiny One Payment website, you may pay by check or cash at the Gloucester VCE Office. The Plant Disease Clinic will not accept check or cash for payment.

Virginia Cooperative Extension

Gloucester County Office

6099 TC Walker Rd

PO Box 156

Gloucester, VA 23061




The Virginia Tech Insect Identification Lab provides identification and control recommendations to Virginia Cooperative Extension agents.  Insect samples and insect damaged plant material from any structural, plant, or animal hosts are accepted. Insects are identified to the lowest taxonomic level needed for control decisions. Control recommendations accompany insect identification results, which are sent back electronically to each Virginia Cooperative Extension office. Digital photos can also be used for identification. 

Many insects can be identified and control recommendations provided by your local Extension Office.

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:   

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