Virginia Cooperative Extension has a statewide mission for educational programs in agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences and 4-H youth. Assistance is provided through individual consultations, group meetings, news media, newsletters, field research, publications, and telephone contacts.

Services are directed toward individuals, businesses, industries, communities and other agencies. Helping people to solve their problems through educational programs is our business. Extension programs are supported by faculty at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Virginia State University, and are delivered by local staff and volunteers here in the City of Chesapeake.

If you have questions relating to turf and lawn, horticulture, gardening, greenhouse, pruning, pesticides, Master Gardener, or pond questions - Ask an Expert

If you have any questions relating to agriculture, livestock, pesticides, or farmer's market questions - Ask an Expert

The services available through this office include

Homeowners and farmers can submit insect samples for identification by bringing a live or dead insect sample (well preserved) to the Chesapeake Extension Office.  Bring sample in a zip lock plastic bag.  Master Gardener volunteers or Extension Agents will try to identify and make a recommendation if 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.  You should have an answer in about 10-days.

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 Chesapeake 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.  You should have an answer in about 10-days.

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 Chesapeake 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.  You should have an answer in about 10-days.

Homeowners and farmers can submit soil samples to the Soil Testing Laboratory at Virginia Tech by picking up soil sample boxes at the Chesapeake 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.   Soil samples generally take two weeks to receive a report back in the mail.

Forage producers and livestock and horse owners may submit hay or silage samples for nutritional analysis or mold counts.  We recommend using Cumberland Valley Analytical Services, Inc. in Hagerstown, MD.  Chesapeake Extension Office has the forms and plastic bags necessary for submitting samples by mail.  The lab charges a reasonable fee for this service.

Livestock and horse owners may submit hay samples for determining levels of endophyte fungus in fescue samples.  Brood mares in their last trimester of pregnancy are at most risk for this endophyte fungus.  We recommend using the School of Veterinary Medicine at University of Missouri or Auburn Fescue Laboratory at Auburn University.  These labs run analysis for the ergovaline toxin produced by the endophyte fungus.  The endophyte does not always produce a toxic concentration of the toxin.  Contact Chesapeake Extension Office for details.

Livestock owners may submit feed or forage samples to the VA-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.  The Toxicology Laboratory has the capability to conduct analyses for heavy metals, minerals (deficiencies and poisonings), Vitamins A and E, pesticides, rodenticides, mycotoxins, nitrate, and cyanide. The majority of samples submitted to the laboratory deal with forage and feed analyses for mycotoxins, nitrate, and cyanide. Mycotoxins are typically not a problem in hay or haylage. Individuals unsure of the appropriateness of a sample should contact the toxicologist before sending the sample (540)231-4587. A representative sample of at least one pound is adequate for feed and forage tests. A history, including feed type, type of animals, and clinical signs should be submitted with each sample.  Sample bags and forms are available at the Chesapeake Extension Office.

Virginia Cooperative Extension views the family unit as the cornerstone of a healthy community. We strive to improve the well being of Virginia families through programs that help participants put research-based knowledge to work in their lives.

Our holistic approach to strengthening Virginia families, including those with limited resources, assists youth and adult participants in developing wellness life skills related to health, diet, and nutrition, exercise, family financial management, and parenting. By participating in our educational programs, participants become healthier, more productive citizens who further contribute to Virginia's social and economic stability. 

The Chesapeake 4H Program provides a wide variety of educational opportunities for youth between the ages of 9 and 18 years old.   There is a Cloverbud program also available for youth ages 5 through 8 years old.   Both programs provide practical experiences in trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.     The 4-H year runs from October 1st to September 30th and is an opportunity for families to experience fun together.   Families are able to encourage youth while they learn from both their successes and their failures.   

Some of the interesting opportunities include:

Afterschool Programs - There are Afterschool Programs that may also be of interest to you.   Currently registration is open for the Growing Gardeners 4-H Afterschool Program.    

Chesapeake's 4H also has an overnight summer camp program available.   Each year attendance at our camp exceeds over 200 area youth for a most unique overnight, week long experience.  This overnight camping experience is available for youth aged 9 years - 18 years of age. During that week everyone will have the opportunity to experience a camp fire, participate in a carnival and field Olympics. Additionally, instructional classes can include topics such as Fun with Foods, Performing Arts, Leather craft, Canoeing, Animal Science and Archery.   We anticipate that this year's registration will begin in the month of March.   Please visit our page often to download that form as soon as it becomes available.   Camp fills very quickly so registration is limited and filled on a first-come, first served basis.  Once camp is full, registration will be closed.  

4H members are also taught to care about their community.   They have collected pet food and toys for Chesapeake Animal Control, food items for the Southeastern Virginia Food Bank, hats and gloves for the Chesapeake Office of Youth Services and donated items for care packets, which were sent to the "We Care Marines" organization.   Contact us to learn more about Chesapeake 4-H.

4H Programs

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 Expertsystem. 

Community Viability Specialists