THE INDEPENDENT NEWS
COURTHOUSE – Mike Cullipher will no longer serve as a voting member and the chairperson of the city’s agricultural advisory commission due to the recent end of his appointed term, but the commission and city leaders don’t want to let go of his expertise just yet.
Cullipher, known for produce farming, farm markets and leadership roles with committees for fruit and vegetable growers, will remain as a nonvoting member.
Billy Vaughan, who has held roles including president of the Creeds Ruritan Club and as a member of the board of directors of Virginia Beach Farm Bureau, is joining the commission.
Cullipher, too, serves on the Virginia Beach Farm Bureau’s board.
Officials said Cullipher’s expertise includes his understanding of vegetables, fruits and other crops and the agricultural reserve program, which helps keep the agriculture industry viable.
Nearly all Cullipher family farmland is enrolled in the program so it will “remain as farmland forever,” the farm’s website says.
The appointments were approved by the city council on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
“Billy has a broad background in livestock and grain,” said City Councilmember Barbara Henley, a farmer who represents the Princess Anne District. “He’s well-versed in agriculture, and he’s a younger farmer, too. It’s going to be the best of both worlds being able to keep Mike’s expertise and provide the opportunity for somebody else to come on.”
Of Cullipher’s new role, city Agriculture Director David Trimmer said, “I think it’s a huge plus to keep him actively involved.”
Vaughan said he hopes to help the city keep moving in a pro-agriculture direction and possibly work to connect students at places such as Kellam High School, which draws from the rural community, with opportunities for farming education.
“I’d love to see agriculture get back into the schools,” he said. Vaughan farms grain, corn, wheat, soybeans and hay, and raises cattle, and he has been active in 4-H as a project leader.
The advisory commission meets at 7 p.m. on the second Monday in January, April, July and October, usually in the agriculture department’s conference room on the second floor of Building 14 at the Municipal Center. Meetings are open to the public.
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