Governor Northam Announces Over $600,000 in Farmland Preservation Grants

clouds-countryside-crop-206893Governor Ralph Northam today announced the recipients of fiscal year 2019 farmland preservation grants. Six localities have been awarded a total of $633,831 from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (VDACS) Office of Farmland Preservation. The funds will be used to permanently preserve working farmland through local Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) programs. PDR programs compensate landowners who work with localities to preserve their land permanently by voluntarily securing a perpetual conservation easement.

VDACS has allocated funding to Albemarle, Clarke, Fauquier and Stafford counties as well as the cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. These grant allocations bring the total allocation of state matching funds to $12.4 million since 2008, when PDR funds were first distributed.

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Virginia Young Farmers Win National Awards at AFBF Centennial Convention

amy fannon afbfVirginia Young Farmers once again garnered national recognition as they competed at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s centennial convention Jan. 11-16.

Amy G. Fannon of Lee County was named first runner-up in the AFBF Excellence in Agriculture Award competition, and John and Lydia Shepherd of Nottoway County took third place in the national Achievement Award contest. Jesse Martin of Rockingham County competed in two rounds of the AFBF Discussion Meet.

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USDA to Reopen FSA Offices for Limited Services During Government Shutdown

getstoredimageU.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18, in addition to Tuesday, January 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21.

In almost half of FSA locations, FSA staff will be available to assist agricultural producers with existing farm loans and to ensure the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline.

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Farm Bureau Adopts Policies on Government Shutdown, Trade, Opioids, Cell-Based Food and Broadband

46028682724_5afbfa89ee_oFarmer delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Convention today adopted policies to guide the organization’s work during its centennial year on key topics such as farm bill implementation, cell-cultured food products, trade, rural broadband access and rural mental health programs.

“As our organization has done for the last 100 years, grassroots delegates from across the nation came together to express a unified voice on issues vital to the success of our farms, ranches and rural communities,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said. “It was fitting to have President Trump and numerous members of Congress among our attendees as we kicked off our centennial celebration. We continue to face a challenging farm economy and we stand ready to work with Congress and the Trump administration to address the issues important to our farm and ranch families.” Continue reading

Farm Bureau Gives Agricultural Trade Outlook for 2019

Port of VirginiaAmerican Farm Bureau Federation policy experts gave an overview of the issues expected to affect farmers and ranchers in 2019 in a workshop at the organization’s 100th Annual Convention.

David Salmonsen, senior director of congressional relations for AFBF, said the diverse impacts of tariffs, the outcomes of free trade agreement negotiations and the future of relations with China are all critical for the future of ag exports and the growth of American agriculture

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Duvall Reviews Achievements, Plots Course as Farm Bureau Moves Toward Centennial

31790599707_e944b0a11d_oIn front of a celebratory gathering of approximately 7,000 farmers and ranchers from across the nation, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall opened AFBF’s 100th Annual Convention by outlining a few of the organization’s many historic accomplishments – from leading the way on the nation’s first farm bill in the 1930s to helping develop the Food for Peace Program in the 1950s. As AFBF heads toward a new century of service to America’s farm and ranch families, Duvall said the organization will continue to be guided by the honorable principle that “farmers want to feed people.”

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Virginia Farm Bureau Recognized for Outstanding Member Programs and Achievement

31790842337_a0c750e3c9_oThe American Farm Bureau Federation presented awards to state Farm Bureaus at the organization’s 100th Annual Convention. The awards recognized excellence in implementation of outstanding member programs and membership achievement in 2018.

The Pinnacle Award, the highest honor a state can be awarded for program and membership achievement, was given to Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.

New Horizon Awards, honoring states with the most innovative new programs, were presented to Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, New York and Wisconsin.

The Awards of Excellence are awarded to state Farm Bureaus that demonstrate outstanding achievements in four program areas: Advocacy; Engagement and Outreach; Leadership and Business Development; and Membership Value. Virginia was recognized in all four categories.

Virginia farmers will mark American Farm Bureau centennial; Trump to attend

27785818639_cc8c9b5d6a_oVirginia farmers will help mark a milestone this month when they attend the 100th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention.

The Jan. 11-16 event is expected to draw about 6,000 farmers and ranchers and their families.

President Donald Trump is slated to take part in the convention’s general session on Jan. 14, and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will deliver keynote remarks that day as well. Two speakers with ties to Virginia are on the agenda as well. Tammy Maxey, senior education manager for Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom and president-elect of the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization, will lead a workshop on boosting agricultural literacy locally. Dr. Amy Johnson, a family nurse practitioner for Centra Medical Group in Bedford County and president of Bedford County Farm Bureau, will speak on “Incorporating a Culture of Safety in Farm Bureau.”

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