State officials share updates with Farm Bureau leaders

virginia farm bureauState agriculture and forestry officials recently outlined some challenges and accomplishments for the Virginia Farm Bureau.

Dr. Basil Gooden, Virginia secretary of agriculture and forestry; Sandy Adams, commissioner of agriculture and consumer services; and Bettina Ring, state forester, addressed the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation board of directors at the board’s Feb. 23 meeting.

“Certainly, it’s been an interesting few months,” said Ring, who cited an active fire season in 2016 and state budget cuts that prompted the Department of Forestry to eliminate five positions and sell some properties that were not state forestland. She also noted the 100th anniversary of the department’s nurseries.

“We raised 33 million loblolly pine seedlings last year,” as well as hardwood species.

In the coming months, Ring noted, the department will be working with stakeholders to identify potential new sources of revenue.

Adams commended Virginia farmers who encouraged state legislators to pass SB 1195, which authorizes the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to carry out the federal Produce Safety Rule. The rule sets standards for safe growing and handling of fruits and vegetables for interstate commerce. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has requested that states administer the rule, which would affect about 400 Virginia produce operations.

“In general, I think most of our producers would prefer” to have VDACS administer the rule, Adams said. “We come at it from a focus of educate first and regulate second.”

Gooden, whose family raises cattle in Buckingham County, identified his priorities for Virginia agriculture and forestry as economic development, community leadership and enhanced technology. In the area of economic development, he noted that Virginia has awarded Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund grants for 44 projects to date. The grants are matching funds that represent a cumulative private investment of $333 million. Grant projects help support more than 1,600 jobs in 33 localities, Gooden continued, and the projects average 82 percent use of Virginia-grown products.

“As a producer, I am excited about these types of numbers when we talk about agriculture,” he said.

As VFBF Young Farmers Program participants prepared for their Feb. 24-26 Winter Expo in Washington, Gooden called that program, along with others like FFA, 4-H and Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results, “vital to continue leadership in Virginia agriculture.”

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is now available at a special pre-sale discounted price of $20. The book is expected to ship by June 10, 2019, and will retail for $25.
Pre-order for $20: click here.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
augusta free press

Related Content

Shop Google


Comments

%d bloggers like this: