Virginia's Land Use-Value Assessment Program, which provides annual estimates for the use of agricultural land in the commonwealth, is now being led by Jen Friedel, who was appointed director of the program in July, and Patrick Kayser, who became the land use-value analyst in May.

In operation since the 1970s, the Virginia Cooperative Extension program aims to provide local government officials with land-use-value estimates to preserve Virginia lands for agricultural, forestal, horticultural, and other open space use. While other Virginia departments evaluate the values for using forested and open space lands, the Virginia Land Use-Value Assessment Program, housed in the Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, evaluates and provides estimates for Virginia’s agricultural and horticultural lands, which represents the most widely adopted use-value category by Virginia localities. In 2017, the program saved Virginia land owners involved in the program a total of $201,648,389 in property taxes.

Leadership changed following the retirements of Extension Economist Gordon Groover, who formerly oversaw the program, Senior Project Associate Lex Bruce, who provided analysis and support for the program, and Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent Eric Eberly, who provided annual estimates of net returns of major crops in the commonwealth.

Friedel serves as director of the program as well as assistant professor of practice in the Virginia Tech department. She joined Virginia Tech following an active law practice, most recently with CowanPerry PC, where she practiced business litigation, contracts, immigration, and real estate law. Friedel also received a master’s in environmental law from Vermont Law School and a bachelor’s in agriculture science from the University of Tennessee. In addition to her duties as director of the Virginia Land Use-Value Assessment Program, Friedel teaches agriculture law and environmental law in the department.

Kayser’s work for the program focuses on developing and maintaining crop enterprise budgets and calculating annual estimates of agricultural and horticultural land use-values. He holds a master’s in economics from North Carolina State University and received a bachelor’s in economics from Wake Forest University. As an intern for the United States Department of Agriculture and throughout his academic career, Kayser was a research assistant on applied economic research projects.

Virginia’s Land Use-Value Assessment Program is a nonpolitical service that provides tax valuation resources to counties and localities across the commonwealth. For more information, visit the Virginia Land Use-Value Assessment website. Interested parties are encouraged to submit questions about the program online via the secure form found on the program website under FAQs.

Groover and Bruce retired from the department in October following a combined 30 years of service to the program. Groover will maintain emeritus status with Virginia Tech. The department is grateful for Groover and Bruce’s longtime leadership and devoted service to the Land Use-Value Assessment Program.

For questions pertaining to the program, contact Jen Friedel at (540) 231-4178 and, or Patrick Kayser at (540) 231-4441 and

-Written by Jillian Broadwell

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