Insect Lab

Insect Identification Laboratory
Homeowners and farmers can submit insect samples for identification by bringing a live or dead insect sample (well preserved) to the Suffolk  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.

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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 Suffolk 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.

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 Suffolk 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.

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 Suffolk 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 Nutritional and Mold Analysis
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. Suffolk Extension Office has the forms and plastic bags necessary for submitting samples by mail. The lab charges a reasonable fee for this service. In certain case the forage test can be done with the extension agent on a case by case bases.

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Forage Samples for Endophyte and Fungus Determination
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 Suffolk Extension Office for details.

Feeds and Grains Toxicology
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 Suffolk Extension Office.

Other Programs

On-Farm Variety Testing
Our city has more than 71,000 acres of row crop production, which is comprised of soybeans, cotton, melons, peanuts, vegetables, and potatoes. We are top 10 producers of cotton, peanuts, wheat, soybeans(for beans), and corn (for grain) in terms of acreage.

To keep the farmers in our city current and competitive we have these on farm trails to find out what varieties do well in our fair city. Aside from these trials we do trials with various of crops ranging from bermuda grass to Pensacola bahiagrass.

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Private Pesticide Applicator  Certification & Recertification
The Private Pesticide Applicator Certification can be obtained by studying the core Virginia pesticide manual and then coming in to the extension office and taking the test. We do two recertification every year at the Tidewater AREC.

Peanut Pod Blasting Clinics
We conduct peanut pod blasting clinics to determine optimum harvest timing for peanuts in order to maximize yields. These are held locally at various agri-chemical retailers.

Crop Awards Banquet
We hold this event annually during the winter. Corp producers are awarded plaques and trophies for the best yields from the previous season. Local farmers and their families fill our venue to celebrate this glorious occasion.

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Master Gardeners Program

State Website | Local Chapter Website | Facebook

The Suffolk Master Gardeners Association (SMGA), a registered non-profit led by an elected board of officers, is an organization of volunteers who work with the staff of Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) to encourage and promote environmentally sound gardening practices. SMGA members must complete over 60 hours of training and 60 hours of volunteer work as interns to become certified by VCE as Master Gardeners. Additional volunteer work and continuing education are required to maintain certification.

All residents of The City of Suffolk are eligible to enroll in the Master Gardener Volunteer Training. This is an internationally recognized program of horticultural excellence. Trainees receive about 70 hours of hands-on and classroom education from Extension agents and specialists, university faculty, green industry professionals, and City of Suffolk parks and recreation administrators. Newly graduated Master Gardener Interns then receive the remainder of their 120 hours of training working on class projects, demonstration gardens, Horticulture Help Desk, plant clinics, and community special events. After completing these additional training/service hours, Interns become Certified Master Gardeners.

If you wish to receive information on upcoming training classes, volunteer opportunities, or would like general information about the Suffolk Master Gardener Program, please feel free to contact our Master Gardener Coordinator, Mrs Wanda Gerard at 757-514-4335.  Response time may be delayed due to current COVID-19 restrictions on access to the office.

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Community Gardens and Learning Gardens
In the City of Suffolk we have two learning gardens at Mack Benn Jr. Elementary and John F. Kennedy Middle School which bridges the gap between what children see growing in the ground and what they see on their plate. We also have one demonstration/community garden at the East Suffolk Recreation Center.

Healthy families are the cornerstone of healthy communities. Family and Consumer Sciences puts research-based information to work in people’s lives, helping families find answers for living well, raising youth, eating right, and spending smart.

The Suffolk Extension Office is without the services of a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent on-site; however, there are FCS Agents in the surrounding cities of Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach.  

Chesapeake Extension Office: 757-382-6348

Portsmouth Extension Office: 757-393-5197

Virginia Beach Extension Office: 757-385-4769

The following publications are available online at

  • Financial Management: Family Taking Charge of Finances Series: #354-099
  • Talking With Creditors: #354-102
  • Getting Out of Debt: #354-027
  • Food Cents: #348-006
  • Be Heart Smart: #348-735
  • Know Your Cholesterol Number: #348-018
  • Food Storage Times for the Home: #348-682
  • Outdoor Food Preparation & Safety: #348-016
  • Keep Food Safe: #348-593
  • Family & Human Development: A Matter of Principles: #350-053
  • Nourishing Children with Books: #348-950
  • Emergencies: Are You Prepared” Your Personal Checklist of Important Document: #354-141

The 4-H Youth Development Program is a community of youth ages 5-18 across America, who are learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills.  The mission of the 4-H Youth Development Program is to develop youth and adults by working together to help youth realize their full potential. This is accomplished by enabling youth to become effective, contributing citizens of society through participation in research-based, non-formal, hands-on educational experiences.

City of Suffolk 4-H Program Information

4-H Suffolk Barnyard Club
The mission of 4-H Suffolk Barnyard is to educate 4-H participants about animals and animal care. 4-H Suffolk Barnyard will assist youth in acquiring knowledge and developing life skills that will enable them to become self-directing, contributing and productive citizens. The club will focus on animal educational opportunities for youth ages 5-18. 4-H participants involved in the 4-H livestock program are challenged with real-life issues as they learn responsibility through raising, showing, and caring for livestock. 4-H participants will acquire life skills for their appropriate age group: Cloverbuds ages 5-8, Juniors ages 9-11, Intermediates ages 12-13 and Seniors ages 14-18. 4-H participants will work on livestock projects giving 4-H participants the opportunity to practice and acquire new knowledge in the fields of animal science, responsibility, leadership and time management.
Club Leader: Lindsey Darden

Suffolk Barnyard
2016 City of Suffolk Christmas Parade: 1st place winner for Best Float!

 4-H Suffolk Teen Club Council
The mission of the Suffolk 4-H Teen Club Council is to provide youth ages 14-18 the opportunity to participate in Service Learning Initiatives and Leadership. Youth plan, implement, and evaluate various Service Learning Projects throughout the City of Suffolk, thus leading youth into becoming engaged citizens that contribute to society through Leadership and Citizenship. The Suffolk 4-H Teen Club Council is also a great way for high school students to obtain the necessary community service hours required for graduation.
Club Leader: Danielle Smith-Jones

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4-H Suffolk Mane Event

The mission of the Suffolk 4-H Mane Event Club is to educate youth, ages 5-18, the skills needed to be a great success in horsemanship. Suffolk 4-H Mane Event is a Horse Enthusiast club with an emphasis on doing clinics in the horse community to better members horsemanship skills. Youth also complete multiple community service projects throughout the year. Mane Event youth participate yearly in the District and State horse show.
Club Leader: Aimee Shirley

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4-H Suffolk Wonderpups
The mission of the 4-H Suffolk Wondepups Club is to educate youth, ages 5-18, the information and skills needed to improve dog obedience and agility. Youth are able to participate and learn through on-site training with their dog(s), which is provided by club leaders and volunteers.
Club Leader: Shelly Sisco

For more information on any of the above listed Suffolk 4-H Clubs, please feel free to contact the Suffolk VCE Extension office at 757-514-4331, Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm. For more specific 4-H related questions, please contact Mrs. Danielle Smith Jones, 4-H Youth Development Agent, at 757-514-4337, Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm.  Join the world of 4-H!

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

Other Programs

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