From Past to Present Farming

Finalizing our series of material focusing on the history of agricultural within Piedmont Virginia, I thought it may be time to finally allow my hopefully entertained audience to realize the great importance and vast amounts of agriculture being produced today in our present era.

Current Tobacco Farm

Starting off, Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry and forms the basis for a number of related enterprises, including food and fiber production, processing, distribution, and marketing. This mainly because of Virginia’s naturally rich farming conditions. Within the Piedmont Region due to the fact that its lands are majority flat agricultural-friendly properties, nearly 20 out of every 100 jobs are directly related to farming. Jobs can be anywhere from the traditional raising of field crops, vegetables, livestock, and nursery products, to the breeding of commercial horses. Take a look how much this has changed compared to my first blog when the country was first settled. Most residents were farmers and grew their own food however, fundamental changes occurred when roads where cleared greatly for transportation’s of such produce and railroads allowed farmers to transport goods within days.

As years have passed since the 1700,s so many different aspects of agriculture are being transported and marketed within the Piedmont region now. Piedmont has over 25 different produce coming for its rich environment. Here are a list of many popular crops,

  • Apples
  • Broilers
  • Cabbage
  • Cattle
  • Christmas Trees
  • Corn
  • Cotton
  • Cucumbers
  • Peanuts
  • Potatoes
  • Soybeans
  • Tobacco
  • Tomato
  • Livestock feed
  • Wheat

Pretty amazing that all of these crops and more are created right within our region of Virginia. This leads me to why agriculture in Virginia is so important. Agriculture plays a crucial role in the life of our state’s economy Piedmont’s agriculture not only provides food and raw material but also employment opportunities to a very large proportion of our population. (As I said before).

Trade is also another reason why Virginia’s agriculture is so important. Not only do we trade locally and within our state but we trade all over the place. Virginia’s total income is nearly half produced by our agriculture activities. We transport all throughout the country allowing Virginia’s income to soar in its agricultural perspective. That’s a great feeling to have knowing the region we live in can compensate for so much gain for our economy.

Farmville VA Farmer’s Market

Coming to a closure, it truly is quite amazing how the Piedmont Region changed so drastically solely through the need of agriculture to other regions of Virginia, and current…not just Virginia the whole world! Help our local Southside Virginia Farmers out by attending the Farmers market located right behind the Mill in Historic Farmville. You will not be disappointed.


Visit  to find out everything you want to know about Virginia and its present state of Agriculture.

Southside expands vastly!

As the Piedmont Region became more developed and easy accessible due to railroad and canal transportation systems, farmers began to really see the benefits of such privileges of travel. Starting with the steam powered rail cart, large steam engines now began to come into agricultural play. Steam engines allowed businesses to deliver thousands of pounds of their produce to coastal regions of Virginia very quickly.

Looking down the old railway (Click Picture for More!)

Living in Farmville, we must sincerely thank Norfolk and Western Rail Road Company for essentially allowing Farmville to form as a large town/community instead of broken up pieces of land and farms. Farmville, Virginia wasn’t always destined to become a railroad town. Scoring directly through Historical Farmville, the Southside Railroad was established in 1846 and construction began in 1849. This dynamic railroad was completed in 1854, connecting the farm country south and west of Petersburg, through Farmville, Pamplin City, and many other small agricultural towns along the way to Lynchburg. Southside railroad was a distance of about 132 miles. N & W Company intended to use a way that passed to the south of Farmville.  However a $100,000 offer by the community swayed the railroad to lay their tracks through town.This mainly due to the importance of Farmville citizens in order to stay intact with great transportation for their produce and agriculture.

High Bridge After Completion

This decision resulted in the construction of a large bridge over the Appomattox River east of Farmville. What we know as High Bridge Trail today. The High Bridge structure was considered one of the largest in the world when completed in 1852.  It stands 160 feet above the river valley at its highest point and measures 2,418 feet in length.

“In the early 1900′s the N&W constructed a second route to the south of Farmville between Burkeville and Pamplin.  Often called the “Farmville Beltline” or “low-grade” line, the section from Pamplin to Abilene was completed in 1916.”

Norfolk Southern Railway (Orange)

The Southside Railroad was important for people living in all regions of Virginia. Railroads created a more interconnected society. Counties and cities were able to work together easier due to the decreased travel time.

The availability of a railroad expanded the available markets for goods. An item for sale in Williamsburg or other coastal areas could now make it out west in a much quicker time. Southside railroad made a wider variety of goods possible for people to obtain. Therefore, there was a win-win on products; the sellers found new markets in which to sell their goods and individuals who lived on the coast were able to obtain goods that were previously unavailable or extremely hard to get.

Not only did the railways provide greater opportunity through markets, they also helped more people to start businesses. An extended marketplace provided a greater number of individuals the opportunity to produce and sell goods. This was when Farmville started to really become known for many of its productions, hence why Farmville became such a large community known for its produce, goods, textiles, and most importantly agriculture!


Lewis, Lloyd D. (1994) Norfolk & Western and Virginian Railways in Color by H. Reid. Lynchburg, Virginia: TLC Publishing Inc.


From Simple Trade to Ultimate Trade

First Colonial Roads CC Ryan Ballance

The people of Virginia took steps at an early date to supplement their waterways with roads. Colonial and post-colonial roads stretched north and south, east and west. The first efforts had been made by the various county governments. Such trails led around trees, through and over streams and rivers, and many of the times travelers found themselves stuck quite often. For example Charlottesville from Richmond, ran miles through woods of pine, oak, and cedar. The paths were so narrow that carts often became stuck even between trees. It was calculated to be about a 7-10 travel from Charlottesville to Richmond without mistake. South and West of Petersburg, conditions were even worse. The soil was very low while being sandy and damp.

Such roads were disastrous for the Farmers within the Piedmont Region trying to trade to places, north and south, east and west.

For most of colonial history, Americans lived in “as fast as you can walk world”. People traveled only as fast as their feet, their animals, carriages, or the wind could carry them. This began to change early in the nineteenth century. Finally, people found themselves demanding for better transportation methods for their trades towards different areas of the region. Because of this demand, states were forced to help, henceforth agitation was made in the first decade of the 1800’s for the first ideas of state aid.

Virginia’s first railroads were built to enhance the movement of agricultural products from the Piedmont Region to areas with larger cities and more inhabitants who did not have the pleasure to grow crops within their area. Such transportation also allowed the vast movement of citizens to move farther out west with ease. This created what were barely even villages within the Piedmont Region into large communities, as you read in my last blog post.

First Steam Wagons Traveling to Smaller Communities

The coming of the railroad generated excitement and optimism in many small communities. Real estate values climbed, and towns existed on maps long before they existed in reality. Often real growth did occur. “Citizens of Big Lick what is now currently known as Roanoke, raised $10,000 to induce the proprietors of the Shenandoah Valley Railroad to select their hamlet as the junction point with the Norfolk & Western.” This was in order to secure trades from such a distance community to the coastal regions of Virginia. Ambitions were running high!

Because of the ambitions of the Piedmont Region Agriculturalists, their area began to finally thrive, which was long past due compared to the coastal areas of Virginia. Trades in Virginia were finally made easy, it could be done in hours instead of days; quite pleasing to the Plantation Owners and Livestock keepers. Railways allowed Virginia to finally connect the contrasting regions of the coast and the Piedmont area to connect allowing Virginia as a whole to unite agriculturally.


“Virginia Historical Society.” Transportation in Virginia. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2014.

The Importance of Simple Trade


Small Country Store in the Piedmont Region

Between the time periods of 1730 to 1800, there was not a single town within the area of Southside Virginia, especially the farther western Piedmont Region. There were simply plantations and smaller family ran farms. Within the coastal are of Virginia there had been tremendous economic development and population growth allowing cities and towns to grow and expand greatly. Even after 130 years of exploration towards the western regions of Virginia, and despite the massive growths within the coastal area, “Southside remained a region of decentralized places where country stores continued to perform the retail and service functions generally ascribed to their small area.”

CC Farmers History Produce

Unlike the coastal area, Southside’s primary focus of trade was on the farmers’ and workers’ actual plantation site. Depending on the ownership, they worked together or separately with the operations of stores, taverns, and mills. This was simple trade between friends, family, work colleagues, and other close community members. Frequently, small country stores parked on the side of a road nowhere near anything else in its area did just fine with small sales. This was due to the fact that many stores grew their own crops and raised their own livestock, selling them to the very few explorers or neighbors they had.

It wasn’t until many years later that the Piedmont Region finally started to centralize into larger towns and cities, Richmond obviously being the first of its time. Spreading westerly, towns such as Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Harrisonburg, and even Farmville began to play a massive role within the trades between the Tidewater and Piedmont Regions of Virginia, instead of simple trade between work colleagues within the Farmers’ same town. Great examples of the expansion of such trades were present within Thomas Jefferson’s famous plantation known as Monticello. The 5,000-acre Monticello plantation that was home to both the Jefferson family and an extended community of workers, black and white, enslaved and free, was one of the greatest exports within this time period out of the Piedmont Region. However one must remember that there were very few of these plantations, only the extremely wealthy owned such great pleasures. After the 1800th century, people finally began to move more out west in order to have more privacy and space, and even to start new lifestyles. People enjoyed the idea of starting over by building up their own pleasures of livestock, crops, and produce.

Many assert and conclude that the characteristics of the tobacco production and trade and the use of slave labor were the primary reasons for the lack of development within the Piedmont Region. However, the persistence of country store trade was one of the greatest importances of how people could successfully make a living outside the coastal area. Simple trades within the Piedmont Region allowed small community, rural areas to survive so far away from civilization.


1.            Farmer, Charles J. In the Absence of Towns: Settlement and Country Trade in Southside Virginia, 1730-1800. Lanhan Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 1993. Print.

Relational Dialectics within the Mill

Here at Longwood University, located in Historical Farmville, it is very easy to become familiarly present with the same exact routine every day and especially every weekend.   The Mill, one of the tallest historical markers of Farmville Virginia is one the greatest places for anyone to have that perfect get together. Located on the Appomattox River in Farmville’s Historic District, it is just a few feet away from historic tobacco warehouses that house Green Front Furniture’s river front retail space and Charley’s Waterfront Cafe (Another great gathering site). Allowing students to attend the Mill gives us the privilege of feeling a sense of classiness and respect for the individuals who used to work in such modest circumstances while switching our everyday routines up.

CC One Street Mill


The theory that is present within these circumstances is the, “Relational Dialectic, ” Theory. However narrowing it down, the main component within Relational Dialectics that is present within this blog is the Novelty/Predictability key point. Google Books:Everyday Encounters

Novelty/Predictability is best described as the tension between wanting routine or familiarity in a relationship while also feeling the desire for novelty, meaning to change up these predictable routines (Being spontaneous or random). Too much similar routine becomes boring, so occasionally or frequently (depending on the relationship status), the couple switches things up. Google Books: Everyday Encounters.

Attending the Mill creates a great way in order to counteract the feeling of Predictability.

I’m sure you could take a survey of students here at Longwood University asking students how often boredom is present in their own relationships and everyday routines, and I’m almost quite positive the results would be quite high.

Take in account this survey performed on the website LOVINGYOU.COM by Professor Kristen Mark of Indiana University. In the survey she conducted, she found that ” between 1,418 men and 1,923 females there is a full quarter of these participants that found boredom within their current relationships and another 25% stated that boredom was on the brink of becoming present. She then finalizes by stating that boredom can be the biggest threat to long-term relationship satisfaction.”

Fraternity gatherings are usually held at the mill.  Therefore, this would allow us not to feel bored while having the good feeling of unpredictability between us, a key to success in a healthy relationship and feeling in such a small town.

As for the Mill, this is the one and only place one can rent out for festivities in Farmville. The great senses and exigence is amazing within the Mill allow one to finally get over the Predictability of Farmville. Its fun and its classy!  Hopefully by mixing it up my final years to come, this will allow me to see past the simple routines here at Longwood.

Displeasing Breeding

CC The Art of Honor in the South

In the 1800’s the economy of Virginia greatly depended on agriculture/farming to be the primary source of wealth. Tobacco, cotton, wheat, corn, soy, and many other foods depended on a steady and inexpensive source of labor.While most white Virginians made their living from the land as small farmers, a few actually owned large plantations. However, those who did had to find inexpensive help. In order to solve this problem, mainly white males, being the plantation owners, purchased African slaves in bulk and even “Bred” them in order to have larger amounts of help. Most of these enslaved African Americans participated in the dirty work. In order to do so, they had to be strong, built, and tough. African men, women, and children were brought into the Piedmont region (out of the Chesapeake region) of Virginia and enslaved to work on such plantations. The Virginia’s Piedmont area vastly became dependent on slave labor for an extremely long time period.

After Africans stopped arriving by ship, how did Plantation owners keep their population up? Believe it or not, Masters forcibly paired “good breeders” to produce strong children they could sell at a high price.  Resistance obviously brought severe punishment. On many plantations, there were more than 100 slaves who were mated indiscriminately and without any regard for family incest. If their master thought that a certain man and woman might have strong, healthy offspring, he forced them to have sexual relation, even though they were married to other slaves, if thus being allowed to be married.  

Noticing many unethical, immoral and inhumane techniques, many questions are brought up. What is right and what is wrong? Who is right and who is wrong? Depending on the responder of the question, it could go both ways. It is almost a Philosophical bind. For example, if you were to ask the dominant white slave owner in the 1800’s he would have answered in a way that many American Citizens would frown upon today. He could care less about how it’s done, as long as he has more enslaved help with crops and chores while making a larger fortune, he would respond by saying that he is morally correct in committing such adulteries and incest. As for the African American slaves, you can’t even imagine how inhumane this must have felt. They believed they deserved freedom and dignity within the South. Now imagine how the white owner must have felt about that.

Photo CC Longwood University

Living in South-West Virginia, sceneries and attitudes have allowed me to realize how much profit was to be made back in the 1800’s. Heck, thirty minutes away there is a Town named Tobaccoville. In order to survive within South-Western Virginia during that time period, one most likely had to be farming. With such abundant farmlands, slavery was coincided right there with it. Not being located near the Ocean, owners were forced to inbreed slaves. This in my opinion is utterly inhumane and displeasing. However, Farmville and the Piedmont region still boast on such great agriculture. Even Longwood University proudly insist on us students using Farmville’s Farmers Market. I understand such actions do not take place anymore, however imagine how present day African-Americans may feel about this, especially within these parts of Virginia. I’m sure seeing all this farm land sure does keep a bitter taste in their mouth of what exactly happened to them.


If I had that car I would be a…

Ever dream of wanting to purchase a product so bad you would literally do anything to obtain such an item? Watching Audi’s “Prom Night” Superbowl advertisement, created such an electrifying feeling I almost instantly needed a muscular, sporty, all-around chick-magnet ride.  Sadly as a college student I know for a fact I could not afford such a nice vehicle.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Audi signed off by quoting, “Bravery, It defines us.” What Audi was trying to hint towards the audience was that, when someone acts upon sporadic, brave, and confident actions, it defines us for the rest of our lives. Audi portrays confident/aggressive masculinities, and relational sterotypes within “Prom Night” in order to gain their audience’s attention.

Audi simply caught us males’ attention with the aggressive rock music that gradually kept getting louder while also letting us here the roar of the Audi’s engine multiple times. “Since the late 1990′s, there has been growing attention paid in media and cultural studies to the power of images of aggressive masculinities.” (Jackson Katz, 261) Within the ad the father of the male prom student throws his kid the keys to the “powerful” “life-changing” Audi sports car. The kid immediately turns from his shy self to an ambitious wild thing. Audi is trying to relay the message to their audience that, when one buys an Audi with such power,speed, and endurance, it reflects on the buyer the same way.

Through the use of aggressive masculinity actions, this young male boldly walks up to the prom queen grabs her by the arm, and kisses her. (Not to mention she has a boyfriend). What Audi is trying to explain here is that when one purchases such an accelerating item, they turn into wildfire with guts of steel. Sut Jhally states, “advertising talks to us as individuals and addresses us about how we can become happy. People are constantly thriving for happy conditions and greater lives with loving relations, good self-esteem, and to have great control over ones life.” (Gender, Race, Class and Media). This gives the buyers, especially in this commercial, quite the urge to purchase anything made by this certain company, because the male ended up being so successful.

Also within this ad, the young high schooler is attending prom without a date. The sister simply says “No one goes to prom alone”, basically stating that he is a loser. Within our society, what does it mean to be single going to a dance without a partner? Thats easy, society would most likely portray us as the uncool loner without a date. Its just the way things are within our American society.

CC Google Images


This would be considered as a stereotype. “A stereotype is a view or a characterization of a person or a group of persons based upon narrow and frequently incorrect assumptions. Stereotypes are used by those who cannot or will not take the time to notice what a person is really like.” (Center for Media Literacy). These type of relationship stereotypes are very common within media because they are easy to create and audience can respond and relate to them relatively easy. Dr. Robert J Fisher states, ” The emotional expressivity of males has great emotional display to desires, while also adjusting their emotion displays toward what they believe is social adequate. These actions are very often portrayed in mass media.” (Advertising: A social desirability perspective). Within this ad, one can see how quickly the young male adapts to his desires once he has a powerful muscle car beside him. He quickly expresses and displays his desires by kissing the prom queen,

I now understand how media can make us unconsciously feel the urge and excitement to must purchase something that makes us stand out in society. Hopefully by reading this, members within society can get past simple stereotypes portrayed in commercials while also realizing the viewpoints and feelings of women and marginalized groups within society. Also I hope that audiences will now be able to point out desirable masculinities within ads and set them aside from their urges to purchase. I think now it is embedded in my brain to almost dissect every advertisement that may come on now. However, this can be quite beneficial because I now can see through the simple-minded analogies and ideologies portrayed in advertisements.

Dines, Gail, and Jean McMahon Humez. Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Critical Reader. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2011. Print.

Femiano, Sam, and Mark Nickerson. “How Do Media Images of Men Affect Our Lives?” Center for Media Literacy. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2013.

Robert J. Fisher and Laurette Dubé, Journal of Consumer Research. Vol. 31, No. 4 (March 2005), pp. 850-858