By Matt de Simone
Anne Jones is the new Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent in the Botetourt County office of Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Jones is a Bedford County resident who helps operate her family’s cattle farm. She’s worked in the beef industry from most of her life including time spent with the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association. Jones also taught agriculture and acted as a Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor at Staunton River High School.
“I have a really strong farming background,” Jones said during a recent interview. “I wanted to make a change in the audience as to where the level of where I was working in the classroom. I felt that in serving the community and a little different audience that was maybe more venturous to me. In this job, I can do that plus I can still be involved with the youth that are in livestock by being involved with 4-H.
“There’s a lot of energy, excitement, and support in agriculture. It’s exciting for me to be a part of that. (Botetourt) is a community that really wants to continue that tradition. I hope I can be an asset in that.”
She looks forward to working with local landowners to make their operations more profitable through marketing opportunities and helping expand agritourism.
“If you’re going to maintain your farmland and the beauty of Botetourt County, sometimes you’re going to need to look outside the box,” Jones explained. “I know that in neighboring Bedford County, there is a similar situation. We have people that are moving into the county that may not have an agriculture background. They buy a parcel of land, and want to live in that type of environment but don’t really know how.
“I hope that I may be able to work with (new farmers in Botetourt) setting goals and some financial planning for them to be successful. I know that’s a part of Botetourt County. We always have new people moving in that are attracted to this area and we are here to help them.”
Jones, a Virginia Tech graduate, takes over the vacant position from Kate Lawerence, who left the position in 2022 and is proud to be representing her alma mater in the county.
“I’ve been here a week and everybody has just been really welcoming,” Jones added. “I really look forward to working here.”
The Virginia Cooperative Extension provides a connection to Virginia Tech and Virginia state universities through educational programs based on research with input from local stakeholders. The office provides education through programs in agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer services, 4-H youth development, and community viability.