Terry Beigie and Kathleen Borrelli, of the Greene County Record, won a special Members’ Choice Award in Virginia Farm Bureau’s annual Journalism Awards program for 2021. Award recipients are nominated by leaders from county farm bureaus, and Borrelli’s and Beigie’s work was nominated by Greene County Farm Bureau President Joanne Burkholder, who cited their commitment to ensuring that each week’s paper includes agricultural content. The Record tied for first place in the weekly newspaper category last year and received Honorable Mentions in 2018 and 2019.
The award was announced at the VFB annual convention in Williamsburg Nov. 30. However, as the awards luncheon was on a Tuesday (press deadline day for the Record), VFB Vice President of Communications Pam Wiley last week traveled to Stanardsville to present the award to the duo in person at the Greene County Farm Bureau office. The plaque will hang on the wall in the Record’s office on Main St.
“While the market for locally produced foods has grown steadily in recent years, communities nationwide place a well-established value on competently reported local news,” said Wayne F. Pryor, President of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “The Greene County Record’s commitment to covering local agriculture benefits area farmers and consumers alike, and Farm Bureau is pleased to recognize the Record’s staff for their work.”
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The award entry included 18 pieces written between September 2020 and September 2021. Topics ranged from the basics of backyard chicken farming, sheep shearing and beekeeping to the mental health stressors of the pandemic on local farmers and the pandemic’s impact on land conservation. The 2020 farmers market was highlighted, as was the annual Greene County Farm & Livestock Show and the barn quilt trail. An in-depth look at the 2017 Agricultural Census titled “What Grows in Greene?” from April 8 also included interviews with several local farmers.
“We have a heart for Greene,” said former Record editor Terry Beigie upon learning of the award. “It’s been such an honor to tell the stories of Greene’s citizens—and while awards are great, that’s not why we do what we do. It’s humbling to be recognized for our efforts.”
“Greene County farmers are the bedrock of this community, and the county’s agricultural practices are central to the economics and culture of the area,” said reporter Kathleen Borrelli. “If we weren’t covering agricultural practices in our paper regularly, it wouldn’t be representative of who we are as a community.”
Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Journalism Awards recognize exemplary ongoing coverage of agriculture issues, practices and events by print and broadcast news operations.
Neesey Payne, an anchor for television station WDBJ7 in Roanoke, achieved the 2021 Ishee-Quann Award for Media Excellence, the top honor in the annual program. She also won the program’s television category for a third consecutive year. Staff at Harrisonburg’s Daily News-Record emerged victorious in the daily newspaper category and the Kilmarnock-based Rappahannock Record won the weekly category for the sixth consecutive year.
Honorable mentions went to Casey Fabris of The Roanoke Times and Country Zest & Style magazine in Middleburg.
For more information about the Greene County Farm Bureau, visit vafb.com/offices/ruckersville.