It’s Harvest Season, Time for a Farm Vehicle Refresher!

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Andrew Smith Associate Director, Governmental Relations

It’s harvest season and many of you will be on the road in your farm trucks, whether between your fields and farm or to the market. I thought it an appropriate time to remind folks of some of the basics concerning farm vehicle laws.

Most in Virginia operate farm trucks as a registered farm vehicle (F-tag from DMV) or use the exemption from registration and run as a “Farm Use” vehicle.

Those operating “Farm Use” for the proper activities can travel up to 75 miles. The current law also requires operators to be prepared to supply the location of their farm or farms to law enforcement officials. Any officer may request the address of the lands used by a vehicle’s owner for agricultural purposes or, if the address is not known, the real property parcel identification number of the land.

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Va. Agriculture in the Classroom Receives National Grant

Ag in the ClassVirginia Agriculture in the Classroom is one of six programs that recently received a grant from the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization.

NAITCO, a nonprofit organization representing AITC programs in most of the 50 states, selected six state AITC projects for funding as part of a competitive grant program called ‘Fire-Up Grants’ to support the growth of agricultural literacy in kindergarten through 12th grade.

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Produce Farmers Can Schedule Free On-farm Review to Determine Readiness for Produce Safety Rule

apple-apple-tree-apples-574919Changes are coming in the way farmers grow, pack, hold and distribute ready-to-eat produce, and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is offering producers the opportunity for a free, on-farm readiness review.

Farmers who sell more than $25,000 in applicable produce per year may be subject to the new federal Produce Safety Rule. Regulatory inspections are expected to begin in mid-2019, but growers can find out now if they are ready for the changes, with time to make any necessary adjustments.

VDACS’ Produce Safety Program is partnering with Virginia Cooperative Extension to conduct the reviews, which are confidential. A VDACS produce safety specialist and an Extension agent will meet with farm management to walk through the operation. A review typically takes two hours and is designed to help answer farmers’ questions about the Produce Safety Rule.

To schedule a review, visit vdacs.virginia.gov/food-produce-safety.shtml or call 804-786-4003. To learn more about the Produce Safety Rule, visit fda.gov.

Trade Mitigation Package Details Announced

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Ben Rowe, National Affairs Coordinator

In July, the President announced a package of agricultural assistance to provide a measure of temporary relief to our farmers experiencing the financial effects of the trade war. Secretary Sonny Perdue was tasked with crafting a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on trade deals to open more markets, in the long run, to help American farmers compete globally the trade mitigation package is an acknowledgment by the administration that the current trade war is exerting significant financial pressure on our farmers and will buy us some time while work continues ironing out the trade situation.

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American Farm Bureau, Coalition Seek Reprieve from Order Reviving Flawed WOTUS Rule

WOTUS 2On behalf of America’s farmers and ranchers, the American Farm Bureau Federation on Monday asked a federal district court in South Carolina to stay its order striking a rule that delayed implementation of the flawed 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule. Without a stay, the court order has the effect of immediately reviving and implementing the controversial WOTUS rule in 26 states. The 2015 rule has been blocked by other court orders in the remaining 24 states.

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