The 4th Annual Farm to Table Dinner put together by the Prince William Environmental Excellence Foundation was held on Aug. 24 at Windy Knoll Farm. The dinner is a locally sourced meal to help fund and support agricultural, environmental and natural resources education beyond the walls of the class room in Prince William County.

Over a dozen farms and businesses participated in the event, that included an auction where pies sold for over $250. Kids enjoyed the hay rides, cow train rides, making yarn from wool and homemade ice cream. The ice cream, from Wild About Ice Cream, went well with the homemade peach cobbler. Wild About BBQ cooked the pork and Mike Procratski and staff at Blue Dog BBQ prepared the meal.

The event had a corn hole contest and tours of antique farm equipment. Mike Simms entertained with story songs and Chris Price, PWC Deputy County Executive, was the guest speaker.

Price said the county needs to make the permitting process for these types of businesses easier to get approvals. He said the 2 Silos operation had a difficult time getting started because the current process isn't set up to encourage new agri-business and agri-tourism business to open and thrive. He said that we can look at other Virginia counties, like Loudoun, to gather ideas to help move us forward in the future.

Dale House of Dutchland Farm said he and his family still operate Prince William County’s largest dairy farm with over 800 head of cattle. According to the 2012 Ag Census, Prince William County has 330 farms; crop sales grossing $5,807,000, livestock sales grossing $6,227,000, average income per farm $36,467.

The average size of farms is 108 acres; 53.4% in cropland, 25.1% in pastureland, 15.4% in woodland, 6.1% in other ag use. Farms cover 8.3 million acres or 33% of Virginia’s total land area of 25.3 million acres. There are 240 farmers markets in Virginia.

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