McAuliffe touts water quality improvement funding for Virginia agriculture
Governor McAuliffe today discussed Virginia’s $61 million investment in agricultural best management practices at the annual Virginia Ag Expo, sponsored by the Virginia Grain Producers Association and Virginia Soybean Association in collaboration with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service.
This year’s event, themed “Celebrating Southside Virginia’s Agricultural Diversity,” raised awareness of new agricultural tools and services with 150 exhibits at Double “B” Farms in Dinwiddie County.
Attendees had opportunities to learn from Virginia’s leading agricultural experts on a series of field tours. Using demonstration plots, Cooperative Extension Agents offered technical advice on improving crop yields and protecting the environment.
“As one of our largest private industries, Virginia’s agricultural sector is a key partner in our fight to curb pollution and improve water quality,” said Governor McAuliffe, speaking at the event. “Our historic investment in agriculture best management practices will give farmers across the Commonwealth the tools and resources necessary to combat runoff, toxins, and byproducts in the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. I am proud of the strides we have made so far, and we will continue to work in partnership with the agricultural industry to grow this important sector while preserving and improving water resources that are essential to our economic future and quality of life.”
The most recent budget includes $61 million for agricultural best management practices, the largest single investment since the Water Quality Improvement Fund’s creation in 1998. Funding will support technical assistance from Virginia’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts as well as a cost-share program administered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation with the Districts.
“This historic investment in agricultural best management practices would be impossible without the technical know-how of Virginia’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts and our state agencies,” said Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward. “This demonstrates the continued commitment of the Commonwealth to clean water and healthy agriculture.”
“Best management practices are a win-win for farmers and environmentalists alike. Governor McAuliffe is committed to helping our farmers sustainably grow both crops and the new Virginia economy,” said Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore.
For more information and resources regarding Virginia agricultural incentives, including cost-share and tax credit programs, please visit the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation resource page here.