2012 Virginia General Assembly convenes Jan. 11

This busiest time of year for the Governmental Relations team is upon us. The 2012 Virginia General Assembly will convene next Wednesday in Richmond, and we’ve been busy preparing to fight for the legislative priority issues that you, our producer members, deemed the most important.

A big thank you goes out to all of you who attended our Senatorial District meetings across the state, as well as our Field Services Directors who helped set up the meetings. We had a great turn out this year and were very successful educating our legislators about our issues.

We will be updating you on the statuses of these issues and other issues that affect agriculture as they arise in a few different ways. We will be updating the blog every Tuesday and Thursday with important articles, so please make sure you bookmark this page under your Favorites folder or subscribe by e-mail on the left of this page.

 We will also be sending out important action and information alerts on Wednesdays and Fridays. I can already foresee us calling on your support and action several times during this session, so please make sure you are receiving these important e-mails from the VFB Capitol Connections Action Center by e-mailing kelly.pruitt@vafb.com.

There is a change this year–we will only be sending out three paper General Assembly update mailings. Those will be on: January 27, February 17 and March 23. These are the only times we’ll be sending out updates through the mail, so, if you can, please sign up for the blog and the Capitol Connections Action Center when you can.

Legislative Day is January 24. We have an exciting day planned starting with the United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance training session in the morning, lunch with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, meeting with legislators and delivering the Stand Our Ground: Property Rights postcards, and ending with our legislative reception hosted by the VFB Women’s Committee. I know a lot of you have registered, and we look forward to seeing you at the Capitol.

Thanks to your action and support, we’ve had much success over the years at the General Assembly. We hope you will step up again to help us keep you and all of Virginia agriculture in business.

Thanks for all that you do,

Martha

Virginia Farm Bureau joins U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance

The Virginia Farm Bureau recently joined the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, a newly formed alliance consisting of a wide range of prominent farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners. This marks the first time agricultural groups at the national, regional and state levels have collaborated to lead the dialogue and answer Americans’ questions about how we raise our food – while being stewards of the environment, responsibly caring for our animals and maintaining strong businesses and communities.

USFRA recently held town hall meetings across the country to discuss concerns uncovered by surveys commissioned by USFRA, and answered questions from audience members and online participants.

The surveys found that Americans think about food production a lot, yet 72 percent of consumers say they know nothing or very little about farming or ranching. Many consumers think the United States is on the wrong track with regard to the way the nation produces food.

 Consumers surveyed said some of the agricultural topics with the most confusing information include the use of pesticides and antibiotics and genetic engineering in crops. Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed said that producing healthy choices for all consumers is very important for farmers to consider when planning farming practices.

For more information, visit http://www.usfraonline.org/

**Farm Bureau is offering a USFRA message training program on the morning of Legislative Day, January 24, 2012, for County Farm Bureau leaders. At this message training program, you will

  • Learn how to better communicate with consumers
  • Receive a brief overview of USFRA’s communications strategies, and learn why it’s important to listen to consumers to better understand their concerns. Increased consumer skepticism about the food production system should be addressed with the right language 
  • Learn to view different scenarios and various reactions
  • Be able to communicate more comfortably and effectively with consumers
  • Be able to incorporate research-tested messages when communicating about your farm

Seats for this program are limited. Please register as soon as you can if you are a County Farm Bureau leader. Contact your Field Services Director for details.