2020 Presidential and Congressional Candidates Sound Off on Ag Issues

Both American Farm Bureau and Virginia Farm Bureau have published responses to their respective candidate questionnaires on agriculture issues.

For the past 40 years, American Farm Bureau has asked every presidential candidate to provide responses to issues likely to impact and affect farmers and rural communities in the next 4 years. Both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have responded. To view their positions, go here: https://bit.ly/3bXHdQm

While Virginia Farm Bureau Federation AgPAC issues endorsements in state races, it does not endorse congressional candidates during federal election years. Instead, Virginia Farm Bureau sends a questionnaire to all candidates with questions regarding federal agriculture issues. To view the questionnaire and candidate responses, go here: https://bit.ly/35x6sIh

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Virginia allows certain voters to request a ballot by mail. You can also vote in person. Virginia voters can also vote before Election Day. The early voting period runs from Friday, September 18, 2020 to Saturday, October 31, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.

For more information, visit https://www.elections.virginia.gov/

Wythe County Ag Educators Win Excellence in Agriculture Award

Jonathan and Kelsey Grimes of Wythe County have been named this year’s Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Excellence in Agriculture Award winners. The Grimeses were recognized Oct. 14 in a live announcement on the VFBF Young Farmers Facebook page.

The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes individuals and couples for involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations. The Grimeses were runners-up for the 2019 award.

Jonathan Grimes is an agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor at Fort Chiswell High School in Wythe County. He has taught agricultural concepts and mechanics, and horticulture to 2,600 middle and high school youth in his career. Kelsey Grimes is a Virginia Cooperative Extension 4-H agent in Wythe County and has served 9,600 youth through 4-H since 2012—creating, implementing and evaluating all county 4-H programming. The couple has raised a cumulative $339,000 through grants and fundraising to promote agriculture and education.

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Dairy Farmers Can Enroll for 2021 Coverage Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the Dairy Margin Coverage for 2021 enrollment, and farmers can apply through Dec. 11.

The DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. More than 23,000 dairy farming operations enrolled in DMC in 2019, and more than 13,000 enrolled in 2020.

To determine the appropriate level of coverage for a specific dairy operation, producers can use the recently updated online decision tool, which helps farmers calculate premium costs and administrative fees.

In addition to DMC, USDA has provided $1.75 billion in direct relief to dairy farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 1. Signup is underway for the CFAP 2, which provides another round of assistance for dairy farmers.  For more information, visit farmers.gov DMC webpage, or contact a local USDA Service Center.

Vote for Va.’s Dasher for National People’s Choice Pup Award

Having evolved from a hard-to-place rescue to an agility champion and working farm dog, Dasher is one of 10 dogs across the U.S. competing in the 2021 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year Contest sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite farm dog on social media by Dec. 18 to select the People’s Choice Pup. Likes on dogs’ photos will be counted as votes. The winner will be announced during the AFBF virtual convention in January.

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VDACS Office of Pesticide Services Partners With Virginia Pesticide Management Association to Offer Pesticide Testing Opportunities

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Office of Pesticide Services is collaborating with the Virginia Pest Management Association (VPMA) to offer pesticide applicators additional opportunities to take Commercial Applicator and Registered Technician tests. VPMA has made the following dates and locations for in-person testing available:

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American Farm Bureau’s 102nd Convention Goes Virtual

The American Farm Bureau Federation announced today that its 102nd Annual Convention will be held online following the cancelation of all events through Jan. 31, 2021, at the San Diego Convention Center where the convention was scheduled to take place.

“Our top priority at every Farm Bureau gathering is the safety of our attendees and staff,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “While we are saddened to not meet in person for this convention, we are eager to bring this event safely to farm and ranch homes across the country and excited to offer the same top-level content our members have come to expect from our in-person events.”

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Final Opportunity for Farmers to File for Disaster Assistance

Farmers suffering losses due to hurricanes or wildfires have until Oct. 30 to apply for assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus.

WHIP+ compensates producers for losses due to hurricanes, floods, snowstorms, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, drought, excessive moisture and wildfires that occurred in calendar years 2018 and 2019. Drought and excessive moisture were added as eligible losses for the program in March 2020. To date, FSA has received more than 133,000 applications for WHIP+ disaster assistance and paid out nearly $1.4 billion in WHIP+ benefits. For more information or application assistance, visit farmers.gov WHIP+ webpage, or contact your local USDA Service Center.

Order a State Fair of Virginia Holiday Ornament by Oct. 20

The State Fair of Virginia has begun a commemorative ornament series for fair fans to create their own blue-ribbon Christmas trees.

The first ornaments are available for pre-order until Oct. 20. The etched glass ornament features the new State Fair logo and is dated 2020. A portion of the net proceeds will support the fair’s scholarship program. Ornaments will be shipped in November. To order, visit StateFairVa.org

Consider Safety First When Buying ATVs This Holiday Season

Riding all-terrain vehicles is a fun outdoor activity for many children—but as accidents increase, parents are urged to use caution if buying ATVs for the holidays.

A recent report from Marshfield Clinic Research Institute revealed ATV injuries among children are on the rise, and are likely linked to the pandemic, as children got a head start on summertime activities when schools closed early.

“Children are home more than they were in previous years,” said Dana Fisher, chairman of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Farm Safety Advisory Committee. “More home time means more opportunities to use ATVs, and unfortunately that means more opportunities for accidents.”

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