Rapidly Evolving Industry Attracts Virginia Farmers to Hemp Summit

Industrialhemp2The second Industrial Hemp Summit took place Feb. 25 and 26, on the heels of the 2018 Farm Bill’s passage in December. That legislation lifted restrictions on growing hemp in the U.S.

Legalization is just the first step in building America’s hemp industry, and summit participants discussed the opportunities and challenges ahead. The event drew more than 300 people from 18 states, Canada and Great Britain. Entrepreneurs, university researchers, farmers and other stakeholders discussed issues of establishing a supply chain and building markets for hemp products such as food, paper, clothing, building materials and personal care products.

Continue reading

Farm Groups Demand Justice for North Carolina Hog Farmers

pig-214349_1920A judgment stemming from a $50 million verdict must be overturned, farm groups told a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, yesterday.

Earlier last year, juries in three separate trials in Raleigh, North Carolina, awarded punitive damages of more than $500 million to neighbors of North Carolina hog farms. Plaintiffs claimed the odor and truck noise related to the farms should be declared a nuisance. The first judgment from these trials is the subject of this appeal.

Continue reading

Farm Bureau to Help Honor Ag Entrepreneur in Va. Women’s Monument

MonumentThe state’s largest agricultural organization has made a significant donation to honor an ag entrepreneur in the Virginia Women’s Monument.

Leaders from Virginia Farm Bureau Federation presented a donation of $100,000 to the Virginia Capitol Foundation on Feb. 25 to support installation of a statue of Laura Copenhaver of Smyth County. About one-fifth of the donation came from county Farm Bureaus.

Continue reading

Trade Conference Highlights Winter of Discontent, Hope for Spring

Trade Conference 2019Speakers’ remarks evoked a mix of hope and frustration at the 11th annual Virginia Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade. The event was held March 5 in Richmond and drew more than 300 participants, including representatives from 15 foreign embassies.

Gov. Ralph Northam made brief luncheon remarks, reporting that, as of November 2018, Virginia farm and forestry exports for the year were valued at $2.7 billion, which represents a 16 percent increase over exports for all of 2017.

Continue reading

Advance Purchase is a Sure Bet for Horse Festival Tickets

Horse FestHorse and dog enthusiasts can save money by purchasing advance online tickets to the annual Virginia Horse Festival.

This year’s event will be held May 3-5 at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County and will coincide with the May 4 running of the Kentucky Derby.

Early bird tickets are on sale now, and through March 31 guests can buy an adult ticket for just $10, which is $5 off the gate admission price. From April 1 through May 2 at 11:59 p.m., advance adult tickets are $12, which saves $3 off gate pricing.

Children 12 and under will be admitted free, but a ticket is still required. These can be added to online carts or obtained at ticket booths during the event.

Continue reading

Take Action: Send Comments on Livestock Haulers’ Hours of Service

livestock hauler 2The ability to safely and efficiently haul livestock is critical not only for animal welfare but also for the viability of Virginia’s livestock operations. Farm Bureau recognizes that livestock haulers need flexibility in the hours they are permitted to be on the road so they can address the unique challenges of hauling live animals. Farm Bureau has been working towards hours of service reform in recent years and continues to push for reasonable and workable reforms.

Continue reading

A VFBF Lobbyist’s Typical Day is Anything But Typical

Andrew and StefBy Kathy Dixon, VFBF Communications

At 5 a.m. on Jan. 24, Stefanie Kitchen walked her dog. She had to take him out that early so she could attend a 7 a.m. legislative sportsman’s caucus meeting in downtown Richmond.

At the meeting, Kitchen networked with legislators who are interested in hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. When it ended at 8, she called a delegate to discuss an issue. By 8:45, she was at the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries building to attend a 9 a.m. DGIF board meeting.

“One of my areas is wildlife and game laws, so I attend these meetings to ­represent Farm Bureau’s policy ­position on DGIF regulations,” remarked Kitchen, who is a Farm Bureau ­legislative specialist and one of the ­federation’s four lobbyists.

Continue reading