Book of the Year to be Read to Thousands During Agriculture Literacy Week

PB&JHoorayPeanut butter and jelly will be used to help educate Virginia children about agriculture.

That’s because PB&J Hooray! by Janet Nolan was selected as the Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom 2020 Book of the Year. Volunteers will read it in classrooms across the state during the annual AITC Agriculture Literacy Week, March 9-13.

The book traces the paths of grapes, peanuts and wheat as they make their way from the field to a lunchtime favorite. Starting in the kitchen, the story works back through the shopping, delivering, producing, harvesting, farming and planting processes.

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President Trump to Speak with Farmers at Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention

TrumpPresident Donald J. Trump, for the third year in a row, will address farm and ranch families at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 101st Annual Convention. The address is scheduled for January 19 in Austin, Texas, at the Austin Convention Center.

“The American Farm Bureau is honored President Trump will return for a third consecutive year to speak with farmers and ranchers who work tirelessly to produce the quality food and fiber our country needs,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We are grateful that he has made agricultural issues a priority and look forward to welcoming him to Austin at a time when there is much to talk about, from trade progress to important regulatory reforms.”

Other officials currently scheduled to attend are: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

Senators Kaine and Warner Show Support for USMCA

US CapitolThis week, both Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine showed support for the U.S. Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Estimates indicate the United States will gain more than $2 billion in additional farm exports and $65 billion in gross domestic product once the agreement is in place

Earlier this week, Sen. Warner and the Senate Finance Committee passed USMCA moving the agreement one step closer to a full Senate vote and ratification.

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With Hemp Regulations in Place, Growers Warned of Saturated Market

hemp2As the U.S. Department of Agriculture finalized hemp production regulations, Virginia growers were being cautioned about an increasingly saturated market.

The public has until Jan. 29 to comment on interim final regulations, including licensing, maintaining information on land where hemp is grown, complying with procedures and provisions, testing THC contents and handling policy violations. Although many of the regulations remained unclear through the first full year of legal hemp growth in 2019, registered hemp acreage boomed from 78,176 acres in 2018 to 511,442 acres in 2019. With a market expected to surpass $10 billion by 2025 and regulations being put in place by the USDA, that trend is expected to continue.

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USDA Reports Pesticide Residues Well Below Benchmark Levels

Spraying PeanutsMore than 99% of food samples tested in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program had pesticide residue levels well below the acceptable levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Additionally, data from the USDA’s 2018 PDP summary released at the end of 2019 revealed 47.8% of samples tested had no detectable pesticide residue at all.

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Vote for Virginia’s Hemi for People’s Choice Pup

HemiIf Hemi the Virginia border collie could talk, he’d have a lot to say. He is one of 10 dogs across the U.S. selected for the 2020 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year Contest created by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite farm dog on social media by Jan. 17 to select the People’s Choice Pup. The winner will be announced in January at the AFBF Annual Convention in Austin, Texas.

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Farmers Will Meet Legislators Face-to-Face Jan. 27

Kristal Leg DayFarmers will step away from the fields and into the statehouse on Jan. 27 to discuss agricultural issues and concerns with legislators during the 2020 Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Legislative Day.

This year’s theme is Farmers In Action to emphasize the importance of farmers being politically active. Pittsylvania County farmer Kristal Harris said putting a human face on the issues affecting Virginia’s agricultural community means lawmakers can make decisions informed by real relationships.

Harris has participated in VFBF Legislative Day the past few years.

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Va. Farmers will Help Set National Farm Bureau Policies for 2020

46028682724_5afbfa89ee_oVirginia Farm Bureau Federation delegates will join farmers and ranchers from across the country to shape national policies during the 101st American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention & Trade Show.

Five VFBF delegates and two alternates will attend the event, which will be held Jan. 17-22, in Austin, Texas.

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