Administration announces ag, forestry initiatives

Gov. Bob McDonnell will propose legislation to preserve working farm and forest lands with the goal of preserving 400,000 acres of open space as a key plank to his agriculture and forestry initiatives for 2011.

Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore unveiled McDonnell’s ag and forestry initiatives on Friday. In addition to the preservation plank, Haymore said legislation will also be introduced in accordance with a recommendation from the Governor’s Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission to create a reimbursable tax credit program for the establishment or expansion of vineyards and wineries.

Another key item from the McDonnell platform is two new positions in the Agriculture Stewardship Act program to help farmers meet water-quality requirements in the Chesapeake Bay region and throughout the state while maintaining commercial viability.

“The governor has provided agriculture and forestry with several opportunities in the General Assembly to build on their status as Virginia’s top two industries in 2011,” Haymore said. “He has also made it clear that I am to continue to act as his and Virginia’s chief marketing and development officer for agriculture and forestry products both here and abroad. It is a mandate that I look forward to carrying it out with our private sector partners throughout 2011 and the remainder of the governor’s term.”

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.


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