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Local Programs

The Horticulture program provides assistance with home lawn and gardens as well as technical assistance to landscape, turf, and ornamental production professionals.

Backyard Fruit

The Local ANR Program includes regular classes and workshops for beginning tree fruit growers and small fruit or grape production. Whether you have a few trees in your backyard or are considering starting a tree fruit operation but have no idea where to start, these are great for you! All resources are held in a shared google folder (here). Contact the Nelson VCE office for more information, specific questions, or to get on email lists to be notified of new classes.

Logo for the Master Gardeners

Extension Master Gardener Help Desk

Get your lawn and garden questions answered by our Extension Master Gardener Help Desk. We are available to help by email at

Become an Extension Master Gardener

Extension Master Gardeners are trained volunteer educators. VCE-MGs work within their local communities to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticulture practices through sustainable landscape management education and training. As an educational outreach component of Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Master Gardener program brings the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities – Virginia Tech and Virginia State University –  to the people of the Commonwealth. 

After completing an application process, participants will attend a nine week training course. All volunteers are trained with at least 50 hours of horticultural classes and return at least 50 hours of volunteer community service through their local Extension office. Contact our office for dates of these events.

Backyard Fruit

Commercial Fruit Tree Resources

Click the link above for reference material developed by the VCE Commercial Tree Fruit Team. This includes handouts and powerpoints from meetings, journal articles of interest, and operational tools. Topics include Horticulture, Entomology, Plant Pathology, Weed Science, Food Safety, and Ag Business. Historic Central VA Fruit School Information can be found here. If you have comments or additions, contact Grace Monger.


Pesticide  Applicator Resources

Recertification Classes

Please contact the office for information about Commercial and Private Pesticide Applicator recertification classes.

Need to Take an Exam?

If you need to take a Private Pesticide Applicator's Exam, please click here for more information. 

List of Private Applicators

Current Licensed Pesticide Applicators are listed here. If you have questions about your license, recertification, testing, or responsibilities of applicators, contact Grace Monger.

The services available through the Agriculture and Natural Resources program include:

Insect Identification Laboratory

Homeowners and farmers can submit insect samples for identification by bringing a live or well-preserved, dead insect sample to the Nelson County Extension Office. Bring sample in a zip lock plastic bag or vile of alcohol. Master Gardener volunteers or Extension Agents will try to identify and make a recommendation if the insect is a pest. If we are not able to identify, we will mail your insect sample to the Insect ID lab at Virginia Tech.

Plant Disease Laboratory

Homeowners and farmers can submit plant samples for disease identification by bringing a plant sample with root intact in a ziplock bag with one pint of moist soil to the Nelson County Extension Office. If Extension Agents or Master Gardeners are not available or able to identify disease, we will mail to the Plant Disease Laboratory at Virginia Tech.

Weed Identification Laboratory

Homeowners and farmers can submit weed samples for identification by bringing freshly dug weed with root wrapped in a moist paper towel inside a ziplock bag to the Nelson County Extension Office. If Extension Agents or Master Gardeners are not available or able to identify weed, we will mail to the Weed ID Laboratory at Virginia Tech.

Soil Testing

Homeowners and farmers can submit soil samples to the Soil Testing Laboratory at Virginia Tech by picking up soil sample boxes at the Nelson County Extension Office. We will provide you with the application form and instructions for taking the soil sample and mailing to the lab. A report will be mailed to you from the Soil Testing Lab with recommendations for the plant/crop you plan to grow.

Water Testing

Virginia Household Water Quality Program & Virginia Master Well Owner Network

While viewing the family unit as the cornerstone of a healthy community, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agents and volunteers work in Nelson County with a focus on improving wellness for individuals and their families.  There are many aspects of overall wellness including nutrition, health, financial management, and family dynamics throughout the life span.  As educators, community resources, and links to professionals throughout the community, their goal is to implement effective educational and outreach programs that provide people with the life skills needed to make positive changes, and improve their overall sense of well-being.


American Dietetic Association
Buy Fresh Buy Local
Alliance for Healthier Virginians
Family Album Radio
National Center for Home Food Preservation
Smart Beginnings - Ready for School, Ready for Life
USDA - Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Virginia Agriculture and Food Entrepreneurship Program

Nelson County 4-H

To discover upcoming Nelson County 4-H programs, please refer to our "Unit Calendar" located at the top of this page. To register for upcoming events, find out more details on how to be involved in Nelson County 4-H as youth or adult volunteers, or see information on past events, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook by searching "Nelson County 4-H".

What is 4-H?

4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. The four-H's stand for: Head, Heart, Hands and Health. They represent the four points of the 4-H pledge: clearer thinking, greater loyalty, larger service, and better living.

4-H is the youth development program of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service conducted by Virginia Tech and Virginia State Universities. It is an informal, hands-on education approach focusing on building lifelong learning skills that develop youths' potential through community clubs, special-interest groups, camps and in-school programs. Projects cover subjects ranging from citizenship, foods and health, to animal sciences. These are "learn-by-doing" programs for youth ages 5-19.​ 


Engaging with Communities

Virginia Cooperative Extension specialists in community viability work with Extension agents, campus-based faculty, organizational partners, communities, and individuals to further opportunity and build capacity in five program areas:   

Examples of our work include training county elected officials, educating entrepreneurs, facilitating collaborative projects, supporting the growth of community food systems and local economies, enhancing agent skills and community capacity in facilitation and leadership, conducting problem-driven research, and creating publications and tools that address critical community needs.

Do you have a question about Community Viability?

Perhaps one of the Community Viability specialists below can help you. Contact a Community Viability specialist or direct a question to them using our Ask an Expert system.

Community Viability Specialists

See a list of our Community Viability Specialists