Discover Suffolk’s agriculture with Virginia Tech AgTech students

Published 6:59 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2023

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Students in Virginia Tech’s Agricultural Technology Program (AT) will be touring the area on Thursday and Friday to learn more about the region’s agriculture industry. This will be the first time many students have seen peanut or cotton fields in person. 

The students, faculty, and alums will also welcome the public to learn more about Virginia Tech’s only two-year associate degree program on Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Suffolk, VA. Program instructors Wesley Gwaltney, formerly of Suffolk, and Rose Jeter, formerly of Southampton, will share a brief program overview. 

The program will start at 6 p.m. and include a dinner sponsored by Franklin Dowless with Bayer Crop Science. Attendees will learn how Agricultural Technology students earn an Associate of Agriculture Degree from Virginia Tech and gain confidence to be leaders in their field. Program highlights will be shared, including hands-on learning, small class sizes, work experience, and the program’s high job placement rate. Attendees will also meet current students, faculty, and alums. Other AT Alumni are welcome to attend and network with current and future students. To register for the event, visit or call 540-231-7649. 

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The visiting students are in the Grain Crop Management course within the AT program. They will visit Birdsong Peanut Company to learn more about the peanut industry, peanut marketing, and shipping. An Agricultural Technology alum, Chris Alphin, will speak with the group at Commonwealth Cotton Gin about the cotton industry.

Billy Gwaltney and James Stephens, AT class of 2022, will host the students at Indica Farms. The group will also visit farms with James River Equipment in Wakefield, VA.

The Agricultural Technology Program is Virginia Tech’s only two-year associate degree program. Through the Options of Applied Agricultural Management and Landscape and Turf Management, students can choose to specialize in different parts of the agriculture and green industries. Areas of emphasis within these two options include Agribusiness, Crop Production, Landscape Management, Livestock Production, and Turfgrass Management. Students gain hands-on experience in the classroom and through the program’s required internship. Students also benefit from industry support and involvement and graduate with an expanded network of contacts. In just two short years, students can be prepared with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be a leader in the agriculture and green industries.