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IW schools farm manager honored

Daniel Judkins, the farm manager for Isle of Wight County Schools, was recently honored as one of Virginia Tech’s Agricultural Technology Outstanding Alumni.

Judkins started the job in April 2017, just as the school division was revamping its offerings for career and technology education. The plan was to create a working farm to provide real-world learning opportunities for agriculture program students. Under his direction, and in partnership with agriculture teacher Jason Brittle, the land lab grew from six acres of uncut grass to multiple pastures with a variety of livestock and a vegetable garden. A barn and classroom facility were added in 2018.
“Being the farm manager for IWCS has been one of the most rewarding careers I have had,” said Judkins. “I have a passion for agriculture, and every day I am able to be outside working around the farm and sharing my knowledge and love for the industry with our students.”

Judkins graduated from Virginia Tech in 2007 with a degree in animal agriculture. He lives with his wife and two young sons on a sixth-generation farm in Surry and operates a commercial cow/calf operation with his father. In addition to the 50 head of purebred angus and angus cross cattle, they also harvest and store all the hay needed for the herd. Judkins also serves vice president for the Surry County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and is chairman of the Surry Young Farmers Committee.

In a school division announcement, Judkins said his next goal is to develop a more comprehensive farm-to-school program where agriculture students grow produce that will be served in school cafeterias throughout the division. The school division also recently received a $15,000 America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grant to help launch this project.