Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed HB 1563 and SB 1240, highlighting the Commonwealth’s continued commitment to Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). The bills expand the agricultural sales tax exemption to include items used to produce agricultural products for market in a CEA commercial facility. Following the signing at Virginia Tech’s Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Raphine, Va., Youngkin announced that the “Great Indoors” Virginia symposium to address global food security through innovation is scheduled for September 25-26.
“Targeted investments and support for advanced training in cutting-edge agricultural technology training is vital in making Virginia the number one destination in the nation for controlled environment agriculture,” said Youngkin.“Innovation is critical to creating a resilient food system that prevents a rapidly growing world population from suffering food insecurity, while responding to consumer demand for healthier, more sustainable food options.
Under current law, CEA facilities may receive sales tax exemptions for some, but not all, of the purchases they make. The agricultural technology tax exemption legislation, supported by Sen. Mark D. Obenshain and Del. Hyland F. “Buddy” Fowler, Jr., expands the exemption to include tangible personal property items that are used in construction of a CEA facility.
The planned “Great Indoors” symposium will bring together leading innovators to explore CEA’s role in helping address global food safety and security concerns. The conference will bring senior leadership across the public and private sectors together to discuss how to scale new technologies to address food insecurities, while also addressing challenges often faced in outdoor farming, including extreme weather, labor costs and availability, soil erosion, water availability and pesticide resistance.
“Virginia is quickly becoming the destination of choice for CEA operations to locate and expand, due to the state’s strategic access to domestic consumer markets, plentiful and competitively priced resources, skilled workforce pipeline and the availability of public and private partnerships,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “The Governor’s budget amendments seek to capitalize on these advantages and solidify Virginia’s position as the best state for CEA business in the nation.”
Youngkin’s 2023 budget amendments provide $1.250 million more in both FY2023 and FY2024 for agricultural technology grants or loans to advance the industry, assist in the development of agricultural products and improve infrastructure growth, productivity or efficiency. From the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) program, $1 million is provided in FY2024 to fund agricultural technology research projects over the biennium.