Farm Groups Step Up Support of New Farm Bill

Capitol buildingThe American Farm Bureau Federation has joined 15 other agriculture organizations urging House and Senate agriculture leaders to complete the federal farm bill by the end of the year.

The groups said the financial security of America’s farmers and ranchers is in jeopardy if the farm bill is not passed. The 2014 farm bill expired Sept. 30.

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Opportunities to Comment on Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Regulations

Elk2019–2020 Terrestrial Wildlife Regulation Review & Amendment Process: Public Scoping Period

This is an opportunity to offer ideas on changes to hunting, trapping, or other wildlife regulations that you would like to see for the 2019-2020 seasons. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries takes public opinion into account when developing regulations, and it is critical for farmers to voice their concerns about areas that affect them, such as wildlife damage to crops and livestock.

Please take the time to complete DGIF’s survey, which can be found here. The deadline for comments is December 14, 2018.

Virginia’s Elk Management Plan

DGIF has developed an elk management plan that will guide the agency’s management of the elk population in Virginia through 2028. A public comment period is underway as part of the plan development process.

Links to the “Elk Management Plan’s Mission, Goals, Objectives, and Strategies” document and comment form can be found here.  The deadline for comments is December 5, 2018.

Farm Bureau Gearing up to ‘Drive Agriculture Forward’ at Convention

TheHomesteadFrontA wide variety of speakers at this year’s Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention will be steering the event’s Driving Agriculture Forward theme.

This year’s largest gathering of farmers in the state will take place Nov. 27-29 at The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs. Convention participants will hear keynote remarks from best-selling author Michele Payn at Tuesday’s Farm to Table Luncheon. Payn’s latest book, Food Truths from Farm to Table, became a No. 1 bestseller on Amazon and features interviews with U.S. farmers who dispel common misconceptions about agriculture.

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EPA Issues New Two-Year Dicamba Label

Soybean_fields_at_Applethorpe_FarmThe EPA has announced the new, two-year label for dicamba formulated for over-the-top (OTT) usage in soybeans and cotton, as well as guidance on air emissions from animal waste at farms. These positive announcements help provide regulatory certainty to Virginia’s row crop and livestock producers.

The EPA’s dicamba announcement provides a two-year registration for dicamba approved for over-the-top (OTT) use. As weed resistance becomes an increasing challenge for farmers, it is important for them to have tools they need to manage their crops responsibly, efficiently, and economically.

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Governor Northam Announces 2018 Specialty Crop Block Grants for Virginia

Northam govGovernor Ralph Northam today announced an award of $556,321 in grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for ten Virginia agriculture-related projects. The project awards resulted from a competitive grant process established by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) for the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant funds.

“Agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry, and in order to stay competitive in a global economy and sustain positive long-term growth in this sector, we must invest in quality, innovative research and technological advancements,” said Governor Northam. “These grants will support projects that improve the competitiveness of Virginia’s specialty crops and generate more economic development opportunities for growers in all parts of the Commonwealth.”

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Virginia Farm Bureau’s Direct Sales Platform Links Farmers with Thousands of Consumers

Lulus_screenshot_CroppedSince becoming a VA FAIRS program in 2016, Lulus Local Food, an innovative online sales platform, has connected more than 350 Virginia farmers to 8,400 families hungry for fresh, locally grown farm products. The platform was launched by the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation and Rural Sustainability (VA FAIRS), which provides technical services to growers who are either transitioning from commodity production to value-added or are expanding their value-added business.

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Congressional Candidates Respond to Farm Bureau Agriculture Questionnaire

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. Click here to view their responses.

Farm Bureau Submits Comments on ELD Rule

livestock haulerEarlier this year, the Congressionally mandated electronic logging device (ELD) rule became effective. The rule required most Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulated motor carriers to convert their records from paper to an electronic format. While compliance with the ELD rule has reached nearly 99% across the trucking industry, it has also brought focus to hours of service (HOS) regulations, especially with regard to certain regulations having a significant impact on agriculture and other sectors of trucking.

For your reference, please visit the FMCSA webpage exclusively devoted to agricultural exceptions and exemptions to the hours of service regulations and commercial driver’s license requirements.

Livestock haulers currently have an exemption from ELDs through December 7th.  Both the House and Senate versions of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bills have ELD prohibition language in them for next fiscal year. Those bills still need to be conferenced before that can move forward.

VAFB, AFBF and a coalition of partners worked together to develop comments to FMCSA. We will continue to work to find additional HOS and ELD regulatory relief through Congress both now and after election day.