State legislators will learn more about issues important to the commonwealth’s farmers Jan. 28 during Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Legislative Day.
The theme of the event is “Farmers in Action” to emphasize the importance of farmers being politically active. County Farm Bureau leaders from across Virginia will meet with their state senators and delegates, as well as with legislators whose districts are primarily urban.
“Even though much of their time is spent working to provide food and fiber for all Virginians, farmers are closely watching what happens in the General Assembly and are committed to voicing their concerns about specific agricultural issues to their legislators,” said Kelly Roberts, VFBF governmental relations assistant director for member engagement. “They understand how invaluable that face-to-face interaction with their legislators truly is.”
Farm Bureau’s member-identified critical issues for the 2019 session of the state legislature are:
- supporting adequate and stable funding for the agriculture best management practices cost-share program and appropriate funding for technical assistance;
- opposing pro-animal rights legislation, including legislative or regulatory changes that would restrict the use of animals for agricultural purposes;
- supporting a specific goal for having broadband in place for every Virginian, as well as appropriate additional funding to expand rural broadband;
- supporting funding for Virginia Cooperative Extension positions that represent gaps identified by county Farm Bureaus; and
- supporting amendment of Virginia’s timber theft code to help reduce landowners’ financial loss from theft or fraud, and enabling the state forester to assist in timber theft investigations.
“Virginia Farm Bureau is proactively working to tackle some of agriculture’s biggest challenges in the 2019 General Assembly session and raise awareness of other possible legislative initiatives that could impact the farming community,” said Stefanie Kitchen, VFBF governmental relations legislative specialist. “These issues are not all of the issues that Farm Bureau is working on, but some of those that are most critical to our members.”