Virginia's agricultural industry generates approximately 11 percent of Gross State Product and contributes to 10 percent of state employment. Timely and pertinent Extension educational programs in agriculture and natural resources are delivered through a network of 108 county and city offices located throughout the Commonwealth. These educational programs are a product of research generated at Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, 12 Agricultural Research and Extension Centers, and from leading research institutions around the world. Extension Agents conduct educational programs that help sustain profitability of agricultural and forestry production while protecting and enhancing land and water resources. Programming efforts address a broad range of problems from traditional agricultural management and production issues in livestock and crops to farm business management, soil and water conservation, land and water quality, the safe use of pesticides, forestry and wildlife, and commercial and consumer horticulture.

Please visit the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office nearest you to find out more about some of the services listed below:

  • Pesticide Safety Training
  • Soil Testing and Fertilization Recommendations
  • Insect, Disease, and Weed Identification and Control Measures
  • Pesticide Residue Testing
  • Forage Testing
  • Plant and Feed Toxicology Testing
  • Pre-Sidedress Nitrate Soil Test for Corn
  • Manure Testing Programs
  • Environmental Horticulture


Staff and volunteers with the Prince William Cooperative Extension’s Environment and Natural Resources program provide educational programs for individuals and business to implement sound practices producing aesthetically pleasing landscapes that have minimal negative impacts on the environment. Programs include:

Champion and Historic Tree Registry
Teaching Garden at the Benedictine Monastery
Resources and VCE Links
BEST Lawns Program
Extension Horticulture Help Desk
Seasonal Plant Clinics
Master Gardener Volunteer Training
Stormwater Management Education Program

For more information  and to access publications, please visit this link VCE Environmental Horticulture.

Family and Consumer Sciences programs, such as Financial Education, Nutrition Education, and Parent Education provide informal education that increases knowledge, influences attitudes, teaches skills, and inspires aspirations. Through the adoption and application of these practices, the quality of individual, family, and community life is improved. Family and Consumer Sciences brings specialist, agent, and volunteer expertise together to address the needs and priority issues facing Virginia's families. Five specific goals are addressed:

  1. To provide education from numerous disciplines addressing societal issues of concern to individuals and families;
  2. To assist communities in analyzing the status of families and identifying appropriate community action to meet the needs of families;
  3. To train volunteers and program assistants to assist the Family and Consumer Sciences program;
  4. To motivate people to become involved in community issues and to develop leadership potential in those people;
  5. To collaborate with other Extension program areas, and form partnerships with other agencies, community organizations, and educational groups.

For more information on the individual Family and Consumer Sciences, please visit the following web links for each service:

Financial Education

We provide education and counseling to help families and individuals help themselves manage personal finances. Programs are conducted by Virginia Cooperative Extension staff and trained volunteers.We offer education and confidential counseling for a variety of financial needs:

• You want to buy a home.
• You want to learn more about managing your money effectively.
• You have no savings, regardless of how much money you make.
• A temporary decrease in income would cause major financial problems.
• You are considering a home equity or consolidation loan to pay debts.
• You are obtaining cash advances on your credit card.
• You are having trouble making your mortgage or rent payments.

For more information on the Financial Education programs, please visit the following web link at VCE Financial Education.

Nutrition Education

Our Nutrition Education Program provides education to help families and individuals understand how to best manage their food resources, maintain their personal health and to reduce food related risks.This service is offered to residents of Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park by trained volunteers and Virginia Cooperative Extension staff.


Educational resources are available to assist individuals and families in identifying local food resources, answering food handling concerns and understanding dietary needs, such as:


• You want to learn how to plan and prepare meals.
• You want to shop smart with food stamps and food vouchers.
• You are searching for economical and nutritious food choices.
• You want to learn how to properly store and handle food.
• You prepare and serve food for community and volunteer activities.
• You want to become a certified safe food handler.

For more information on the Nutrition Education Program, please visit the following web link at VCE Nutrition Education.

Parent Education

Being a parent is a very important job, and yet very little training is available to prepare us.  In a group with parents who share similar concerns, you are supported and encouraged in your efforts to parent effectively. Our concerned volunteers and staff understand the challenges of parenting. We want you to be the best parent possible! Virginia Cooperative Extension offers a variety of parenting programs at little cost to you. Our programs are open to all residents of Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

Virginia Cooperative Extension’s classes offer you an opportunity to discuss practical and realistic approaches to the challenges of parenting:

• You want to know more about the next stage in their development.
• You’re getting no cooperation at home.
• You’re concerned about your child’s self image.
• You’re looking for new ways to work together as a family.
• You want some new discipline techniques.

 To register for a class and for more information, please visit the following the web link at VCE Parent Education or call 703-792-6288.

4-H logo

Click on this link for Prince William County 4-H and learn even more about the 4-H program in Prince William County and how to become involved.

4-H is the comprehensive youth development program of Virginia Cooperative Extension. Youth between the ages of 5 and 18 engage in hands-on learning experiences under the guidance of adult or teen 4-H volunteers trained by 4-H agents. 4-H programs use experiential learning opportunities to teach the latest research-based subject matter knowledge and to foster skill development in effective citizenship, leadership, and other life skills. The 10 areas of 4-H curriculum focus are: Animal Sciences; Communications and Expressive Arts; Environmental Education and Natural Resources; Jobs, Careers and Economics; Plant and Soil Sciences; Citizenship; Family and Consumer Sciences; Health, Nutrition and Wellness; Leadership and Personal Development; and Science and Technology.

Youth also participate in educational experiences at the Northern VA 4-H Educational Center. 4-H has both a school-based and a community-based delivery models to allow maximum access to Virginia's youth. The specific learning experiences a 4-H member participates in are shaped locally and supported at the state and national levels. 4-H members learn how to: make decisions, manage resources, work with others, and utilize effective communication skills. 4-H serves as an effective prevention educational program. Involvement in 4-H reduces the potential for dysfunctional involvement in the community by youth. The mission of 4-H is to develop youth and adults working with those youth to realize their full potential-becoming effective, contributing citizens through participation in research-based, informal, hands-on educational experiences.

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