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Harleigh Cupp named as top ag journalist in Virginia

Virginia Beach, VA - Harleigh Cupp, a reporter for the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, was recognized Nov. 28 with Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s 2023 Ishee-Quann Award for Media Excellence, the top honor in Farm Bureau’s annual Journalism Awards program.

Cupp, who covers Rockingham County news, also won in the program’s daily newspaper division. Her work in the past year has included articles on farm stress, heirloom chrysanthemum production, a local creamery’s 10th anniversary, and the accomplishments and aspirations of local FFA participants.

The Ishee-Quann Award is named in part for Jeff Ishee, who operates On the Farm, a daily, web-based farm news service, and who is a recipient of numerous VFBF Journalism Awards. The late Homer Quann was WSVA radio’s farm news director for several decades and was known as the most dedicated agricultural reporter in Virginia.

VFBF Journalism Awards recognize exemplary ongoing coverage of agriculture issues, practices and events by print and broadcast news operations. Award recipients were announced Nov. 28 at the VFBF Annual Convention in Virginia Beach.

  • For the 17th time in the award program’s history, staff at the Kilmarnock-based Rappahannock Record submitted a winning entry in the division for weekly and semi-weekly newspapers. Rappahannock Record coverage in the past year has included agritourism events, opportunities to enjoy seasonal Virginia produce, and the overall evolution of agriculture on Virginia’s Northern Neck.

  • Reporter George Noleff of Roanoke-based WFXR won in the television division with an entry that included coverage of farm vehicle safety, regional egg prices, veterans who have built farming careers, the need for more food animal veterinarians, and Virginia Christmas tree production.

  • Operations Manager Frank Wilt of WSVA in Harrisonburg won in the radio category. His agricultural coverage in the past year included this year’s blueberry crop, milk’s merits as a sports beverage, and the origins of a local hair sheep operation.

Farm Bureau awarded three Members’ Choice Awards based on nominations by leadership in a county Farm Bureau. Honorees were:

  • Repeat winner Cathy Dyson, a reporter for The Free Lance-Star, based in Fredericksburg;

  • Brenden Blevins, a former host of the “Living Appalachia” program aired on WEHC and WISE by Emory & Henry College; and

  • Morning host Kelley Gaskill and program director Will Russell of WESR and its news website on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

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