Nottoway County farmers honored for achievements

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John and Lydia Shepherd of Nottoway County have been named the 2018 Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers of the Year Achievement Award winners.

The Shepherds were recognized Nov. 28 at the VFBF 2018 Annual Convention in Hot Springs.

The Achievement Award honors young farmers who are successful in production agriculture and provide leadership on and off the farm. The Shepherds serve on the VFBF Young Farmers Committee and raise wheat, rapeseed, corn and soybeans on their farm near Blackstone.

Additionally, John Shepherd serves on the Nottoway County Farm Bureau board of directors, and Lydia Shepherd teaches at Kenston Forest School in Blackstone. The Shepherds were the recipients of the 2011 VFBF Young Farmers Environmental Stewardship Award. They have three children, Hannah, Roy and John Walter.

They will receive one year’s use of a Kubota tractor; a John Deere Gator XUV from Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. at cost from James River Equipment; and cash awards of $1,000 from Farm Credit, $500 from VFBF and $500 from Chesterfield County Farm Bureau. They also will receive a travel package to the 2019 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in New Orleans, where they will compete for the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award.

C.T. Thiemann II of Louisa County and Matthew Heldreth of Wythe County were this year’s Achievement Award runners-up. Thiemann is a soybean and hay producer and serves on the Louisa County Farm Bureau board of directors. Heldreth is a beef and grain producer and is a member of the Wythe County Farm Bureau Young Farmers Committee.

Each will receive $500 from Farm Bureau and a travel package to the AFBF Annual Convention.

Additionally, Will Walker of Smyth County was honored posthumously as an Achievement Award finalist. Walker, who was a farmer, teacher and coach, died Sept. 20 in a farming accident. His wife, Ashley Walker, was presented with a commemorative plaque.

With 129,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to supporting Virginia’s agriculture industry. View more convention news as it becomes available at and follow us on social media via #drivingagforward and #VFBFconvention18.

Contact Greg Hicks, VFBF vice president of communications, at 804-290-1139.

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