Agriculture and Natural Resources offers programs to help sustain profitability of agriculture and forest production, while protecting and enhancing land and water resources. Effective management alternatives for livestock and poultry enterprises are presented through educational programs.

What We Offer

  • Pesticide Safety Training
  • Soil Testing & Fertilization Recommendations
  • Insect, Disease, & Weed Identification & Control Measures
  • On-Farm Visits
  • Forage Testing

Extension Volunteer Master Gardeners are volunteers dedicated to working with the community to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticulture practices through sustainable landscape management.

What We Offer

  • Answers to Gardening Questions
  • Diagnosis of Plant Problems
  • Spring Gardening Workshops
  • Booths at Community Events
  • Educational Gardens

In 2014, Extension Master Gardeners contributed 6795 hours of volunteer time valued at $166,410.00 to the Bedford community. In addition to supporting established educational activities such as staffing the Help Desk during the growing season, speaking to civic groups and providing information booths at various community events, a horticulture therapy program initially developed for the County Nursing Home has been expanded to a total of four nursing facilities through 2014. The impact of this program is demonstrated by it receiving recognition at the state and international level through the Master Gardener Search for Excellence programs. In an effort to extend our visibility, we developed a new partnership with the Public Library system. To date, gardening bookmarks that feature VCE resources have been created and placed at all six library branches, and a seminar series first offered in fall 2013 at all six library branches was continued in 2014

Learn more about what Bedford Volunteer Master Gardeners do!!

Visit Bedford Area Master Gardeners web page

Read more about Virginia's Volunteer Master Gardeners at:

Family and Consumer Science programs provide education to help people increase knowledge, make informed decisions, and adopt good food and nutrition practices that promote optimal health. Programs emphasize appropriate and safe food and nutrition choices, encourage healthy lifestyles, support the prevention of chronic disease, and encourage food safety and sanitation.

What We Offer

Overweight and obesity increase the risk for several health conditions as well as chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. In Virginia alone, these two diseases account for over $4 billion in health care costs. According to Virginia Department of Health 2006 profile of Bedford County, there were 553 total deaths, 141 deaths were caused by heart disease.

The Central Virginia rate for overweight youth is above the national average.  Cooperative Extension has a planned program to address this growing issue. Healthy Weight for Healthy Kids (HWHK) is a research-based program developed and tested by VCE and Virginia Tech to address proper nutrition, physical activity, healthy attitudes and behaviors towards diet and body image among youth ages 7 to 14.

The Bedford Extension Office works with localities to train in this curriculum those educators and community volunteers who teach children.  

FCS/4-H agents from Bedford County will partner for the next three years with the Bedford County Public School System and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant to offer “Healthy Weight for Healthy Kids” for after-school programs.

Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Department of Health co-sponsor a ServSafe Food Sanitation course.  This 16 hour management course was developed by The Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association.  The text, ServSafe Essentials, is part of the foundation’s food safety program.  Participants take a one-hour certification exam developed by The Educational Foundation.  The course includes instruction on:  harmful bacteria, contamination and food-borne illness, purchasing and receiving safe foods, food storage, protecting food in preparation and service, employee hygiene, principles of a HACCP system and much more.

The ServSafe® Food Safety Certification program is recognized by more jurisdictions than any other manager food safety program – the most widely accepted food safety program among local, state and federal health departments!!!

 The course is for:  managers of food service operations for hotels, restaurants, schools, clubs, institutions; food and beverage managers; catering managers; chefs and cooks; and dietary managers.

This course is recommended for people working with food.  Incidence of food borne illness is not declining.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that food borne diseases cause 76 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths annually.  The Commonwealth of Virginia Food Service Regulations Governing Restaurants now requires that each food service establishment have a “person in charge” at all times that knows food safety.  Passing this course is one way to demonstrate your food safety knowledge.

Steps To Delicious Dining With Diabetes (based on Dining with Diabetes, a West Virginia Extension curriculum) is a program shared with people with diabetes and their families in an effort to help reduce the burden of diabetes by offering a theory-based program that can provide them with the tools for self-management of this chronic disease.  The results will be less medication, increased physical fitness, more control in managing their life style with diabetes.  

The goals of Steps To Delicious Dining With Diabetes include:

  • Increasing knowledge of healthy food choices for families with diabetes or other chronic diseases.
  • Presenting healthy versions of familiar foods that are easy and quick to prepare, inexpensive, and tasty.
  • Demonstrating cooking techniques that use more healthful ingredients.
  • Promoting behavior changes by offering demonstrations and tasting of healthy foods.
  • Promoting physical activity as a component of diabetes control.
  • Encouraging self-management and self-efficacy skills.
  • Providing opportunities for participants to share and learn from one another.
  • Providing basic diabetes education in partnership with the Extension Service and local diabetes health care partners.

FNP is strictly educational food, nutrition and health programs that are operated by Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and the Virginia Department of Social Services. Objectives are to help families and individuals by teaching nutrition information and food related skills, encouraging healthy eating habits, and teaching skills to stretch food resources.

The Family Nutrition Program (FNP) provides the tools for clients to become better educated in making healthier food choices, practicing food safety and managing their food resources.  It offers citizens of our community a chance to educate themselves on nutrition and wellness. The FNP program is funded by the US Department of Agriculture Food and Consumer Service for individuals with limited resources, including food stamp recipients.  Classes are conducted on an individual basis or in a classroom setting. Additional nutrition education is also provided by the monthly mailing of newsletters for the young families, as well as seniors.

What We Offer

  • Group Classes & Individual Lessons
  • Meal Planning & Recipes
  • How to use Food Labels and MyPyramid

Partners and community agencies include: Department of Social Services, Central Virginia Area Aging Agency Senior Sites (3), Bedford Health Department (WIC) , Bedford Counseling Center, Bedford Adult Day Care Center , Education and Assessment System (EASY), Lake Christian Ministries, and  food banks.

4-H Youth Development is a comprehensive program for youth ages 5 to 18 to engage in hands-on learning experiences. Members learn how to make decisions, manage resources, work with others, and use effective communication while developing into contributing citizens.

The 4-H program in Bedford County is an active and thriving program with multiple clubs and events for kids and families. There are a range of clubs including: Bedford Horse and Pony Club, Bedford Livestock Club, Bedford Shooting Education Club, Brook Hill Horse Club, Cloverbud Club, and Moneta Community Club. Each of these clubs offers a variety of activities for different interests and ages. Contacts for these clubs can be obtained by calling the office at 540-586-7675.   Bedford County takes pride in its youth and accordingly, its 4-H program; please join in with any of our clubs, programs, and camps to see for yourself what 4-H and Bedford County can do for you and your children.

What We Offer

  • Junior 4-H Camp
  • Cloverbuds
  • Teen Leadership Clubs
  • Junior Livestock Show
  • State 4-H Congress
  • Special Interest Clubs

What is 4-H?

Bedford 4-H Community Clubs

How do I join a 4-H Club?

The best time to  join the clubs is typically in October.  All club members must register in 4-H Online by November 1.  Most clubs do not require parental supervision, but many of our parents do stay during club meetings.  

*The 4-H year runs from October to September. Members must be turning the correct age within the 4-H year. (i.e.- A member who is 8 years old in October when the 4-H year starts but turning 9 years before September 30 of the following year is consider to be 9 years old in 4-H years.)

Members of our clubs must enroll in 4-H Online.  If you are a new member, you will need to create a new profile and add your youth members.  Returning members already have an account that was either created by the office or by self.  Go to the 4-H Online website to complete this process before your next meeting.

Tracy Russler, Leader

If you have an interest in Cloverbud programming, 
contact 540-586-7675 or

Jody Toms, Leader

Joy Powers, Leader

Lou Brown, Leader

Cassidy Styles, Leader

Maribeth Martin, Leader

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