The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced today that the USDA has issued disaster designations for counties affected by Hurricane Michael in Oct. 2018. The designations are for extensive flooding and winds caused by the hurricane. These were contiguous designations for counties adjacent to North Carolina counties named by USDA as primary disaster areas. This is the second round of designations for Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg, They also received designations in late 2018.
A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible for consideration for assistance from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes FSA emergency loans.
Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply. FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm and the security and repayment ability of the operator.
Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with additional information.
County Farm Bureau presidents and other Farm Bureau volunteer leaders crowded the halls of the Pocahontas Building Jan. 28 to meet with delegates and senators during the annual Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Legislative Day.
A group from Pittsylvania County met with Sen. Frank M. Ruff Jr., R-Clarksville, and discussed issues that have an impact on agriculture, including the farmers’ ability to grow industrial hemp, expansion of rural broadband service and funding for Virginia Cooperative Extension personnel.
Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler
Virginia farmers received praise for their stewardship and political involvement Jan. 27 from a state official and a delegate whose district is urban and suburban.
County Farm Bureau presidents and other volunteer leaders gathered Jan. 27 and 28 for a Virginia Farm Bureau Federation conference for county presidents and the annual VFBF Legislative Day. Participants in the latter met with state senators and delegates about issues that have an impact on agriculture.
Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler commended farmers for their work to protect the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries and other waterways. “These are exciting times” for those with an interest in farming and food, he said.
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.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that all Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices nationwide will soon reopen to provide additional administrative services to farmers and ranchers during the lapse in federal funding. Certain FSA offices have been providing limited services for existing loans and tax documents since January 17, and will continue to do so through January 23. Beginning January 24, however, all FSA offices will open and offer a longer list of transactions they will accommodate.
Additionally, Secretary Perdue announced that the deadline to apply for the Market Facilitation Program, which aids farmers harmed by unjustified retaliatory tariffs, has been extended to February 14. The original deadline had been January 15. Other program deadlines may be modified and will be announced as they are addressed.
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Governor 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.
Virginia 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.