Barlow appointed to ag board

Published 10:45 pm Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Suffolk once again has a representative on the 15-member Virginia Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Shelley Butler Barlow, who with her husband Joseph runs Cotton Plains Farm off North Cherry Grove Road, was appointed to a four-year term on the board last week and attended her first meeting this week.

Barlow, who also is on the state Cotton Board, said she did not know how her name got in the pool for the nomination but she was honored to be chosen.


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“I’m excited about it,” she said. “I’m very honored to be representing our area.”

Her father-in-law, former City Councilman Joe Barlow, also a farmer, used to be on the board as well.

“He encouraged me,” she said. “He felt like I would have a really good experience with it. I feel like it’s a little bit of a legacy type thing.”

The board is tasked with promoting the state’s agriculture interests, advising the governor on the state of the industry, offering recommendations and working with the agricultural community to develop beneficial programs, among other duties.

Barlow’s first meeting this week was in Lexington, where members held a business meeting on the first day and went on an agribusiness tour the second day, which is the typical format of a July meeting. The rest of the board’s four to five meetings a year take place in Richmond.

This month’s agenda included discussions of a new grant program for beekeepers, pesticide use and other topics.

“It’s kind of a review process for any agriculture issues or consumer-related agriculture issues that come up,” Barlow said.

When Barlow’s first four-year term is up, she will be eligible for reappointment. Only two consecutive terms in a row are allowed.

The board includes one member from each Congressional district in the state, two pesticide industry representatives, and the presidents of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University.