As an animal science agent, John Howe works primarily with livestock producers in Spotsylvania, Caroline, Stafford and King George counties, delivering researched based educational programs on various topics including, animal health, nutrition, reproduction and marketing, hay and pasture management, and soil and water conservation. In cooperation with extension specialists and other extension agents, John works with producers of other agriculture including field crops, vegetables and fruit. In addition John works with the Spotsylvania Farmers’ Market to provide Virginia Grown products to consumers. With the assistance of Master Gardener volunteers, Spotsylvania County home owners are provided answers to questions on growing vegetables and fruit, landscape and lawn care.

Practical Beekeeping for Beginners

The Rappahannock Area Beekeepers Association is offering Practical Beekeeping for Beginners class, a weekly series of classes held from 7- 8:45 PM starting February 3, 2016 and going on for about 8 weeks. Class size is limited to 20 units and registration will be on the first night of class. Classes are open to adults and children (age 10 and over) who are interested in keeping bees as well as to those who are just interested in learning about honeybees. Teaching materials are included in the class fee (only one fee per family unit). Classes are taught by experienced beekeepers and include sources for you to buy equipment (woodenware) and live bees to start your hive(s). Classes will be held at the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office in the Marshall Center,  8800 Courthouse Road Spotsylvania, VA. The course fee will be $100.00.

For more information contact Kim Fraser (540) 785-8769 or John Howe (540) 507-7571.

2016 Practical Beekeeping for Beginners Brochure (PDF | 686KB)


The Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Program in Spotsylvania and Stafford Counties serves as a resource to the community in the following areas:

  • Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
  • Family Financial Management
  • Food Preservation-Canning and Fermenting
  • Kids Market Place
  • Real World, Real Money

April Payne, FCS Extension Agent, provides research-based educational opportunities through workshops, classes, collaborative projects, print materials, and other appropriate venues.  All programs are driven by the needs of the community- identified by county residents and the local Extension Leadership Council. 

Volunteer opportunities are available! Please contact April with interest in helping the community and gaining valuable knowledge.

ServSafe Courses Offered

Manager Course is a 16 hour course that prepares you to take the National Restaurant Association ServSafe Certification Exam. Instruction and preparation tests are given to ensure understanding of material. Participants will be supplied with a ServSafe book with all the up to date information regarding food safety.  Please register at: On-site, group classes are available!

Food Handler Class is a short course on five key food safety areas. It is ideal for food handlers, childcare workers, baristas, food truck employees, long term care personnel, church groups,  or anyone serving people to any capacity. The class is two hours. Participants receive a very nice workbook and certificate that is good for 3 years. The health department looks very fondly upon trained employees and it will help keep everyone on the same page for food safety. Your customers will appreciate it too! On-site training is available for groups of four or more.

What is 4-H?

4-H is a non-formal educational program and an organization for youth, ages 5-19.  It is open to everyone regardless of race, religion, color, gender, national origin, handicap, or place of residence.

4-H is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and by local government.  The 4-H youth program was created to bring the latest research knowledge generated at the land grant universities (Virginia Tech and Virginia State) to local communities.  Our goal is to help young people grow into capable, responsible, confident members of their communities by providing information, opportunities, activities, and events that are educational, developmental, and fun.

The 4-H motto is: “TO MAKE THE BEST BETTER.  The 4-H colors are green and white.  A green four-leaf clover with a white “H” on each cloverleaf is the 4-H emblem.  The official emblem is copyrighted and may be used only as approved by 4-H.  The 4-H slogan is “Learn by Doing.”

Spotsylvania County 4-H Clubs

A 4-H Club is an organized group of youngsters (ages 9-19) with elected officers and a planned program that is conducted throughout the year or the majority of the year. Clubs are lead by volunteer leaders and may focus on one or more project areas. Club officers conduct monthly organizational meetings. Members also participate in a variety of learning experiences in their organizational meeting as well as within their project meetings. Project meetings may be held as often as deemed necessary, but at least once a month.

4-H clubs may meet as neighborhood clubs, as after school clubs, or as within school clubs. The "key" is that all clubs should have officers, be managed by volunteers, meet over a sustained period of time, and are focused on positive youth development.


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 Expert system.

Community Viability Specialists

See a list of our Community Viability Specialists