Tell Gov. McDonnell Your Ideas for Regulatory Reform

Governor Bob McDonnell has announced the launch of the Governor’s Regulatory Reform initiative and creation of a new portal for citizens to submit ideas for regulatory reform. Governor McDonnell has also charged regulatory agencies to conduct a comprehensive review of regulations currently in place and repeal regulations that are unnecessary or no longer in use, reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens on individuals, businesses, and other regulated groups, and identify statutes that require unnecessary or overly burdensome regulations. The initiative is an extension of Governor McDonnell’s efforts as Attorney General to eliminate unnecessary and burdensome regulations through his Task Force on Regulatory and Government Reform. The task force made more than 300 recommendations to streamline Virginia’s Administrative Code, and reduce burdensome government regulation.

Speaking about the launch, Governor McDonnell said, “While the regulations contained in the Virginia Administrative Code are important parts of ensuring the safety and well-being of Virginians, these regulations can sometimes also be unnecessarily burdensome on the people and job creators of the Commonwealth. Unnecessary administrative burdens hamper job creation by Virginia employers. Smart regulatory reform will produce a freer and better environment for citizens and businesses. The initiative launched today will result in a reduction in unnecessary regulations and regulatory burdens, and I look forward to receiving recommendations from citizens and business people who understand firsthand the intended and unintended consequences of regulations.” Governor McDonnell continued, “All regulatory activity should be undertaken with the least possible intrusion in the lives of the citizens of the Commonwealth consistent with protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the people of Virginia. Proposed and final regulations should make state government more efficient and should make Virginia a better place to live and work.”

As part of this initiative, Governor McDonnell welcomes recommendations from citizens and stakeholders regarding regulations that are overly burdensome and where reform is appropriate. They may submit their recommendations, here: http://www.RegReform.Virginia.Gov.

Governor McDonnell Announces Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund Now Open to Applicants

Governor Bob McDonnell has announced  that guidelines for the newly created Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund have been finalized and localities are now able to apply for AFID grants that will enable them to support economic development and job creation efforts. With the release of these guidelines, Virginia, for the first time, has an economic development grant program designed specifically to support agriculture and forestry development projects.

“Agriculture and forestry are Virginia’s largest industries, but we learned that too often economic development projects within these important business sectors didn’t meet the necessary criteria for the Commonwealth’s major incentive programs,” said Governor McDonnell, who has made agriculture and forestry key components of his overall economic development and jobs creation agenda. “That’s an omission that we’ve addressed as the AFID clearly recognizes the sometimes unique aspects of agriculture and forestry projects. We hope this program will encourage local governments to work closely with these important industries to create new jobs and increased economic opportunity in communities throughout the Commonwealth.”

The creation of the AFID was part of Governor McDonnell’s jobs creation and economic development agenda during the 2012 session of the General Assembly. The Governor signed the AFID bill into law on May 9 at Cave View Farm in Weyers Cave. Senator Bill Stanley (R – Glade Hill) and Delegate Steve Landes (R – Augusta) sponsored the AFID legislation, which is funded at $1 million in each year of the biennium. AFID funds are broken into two categories with $750,000 going to large grants to assist local efforts in expanding current or attracting new agriculture and forestry processing/value-added facilities using Virginia grown products and $250,000 dedicated to small grants to assist localities in improving local economic development efforts relating to agribusiness. The guidelines being released today are for applicants seeking an AFID grant for a processing or value-added facility. Guidelines for the assistance to localities will be released later this year.

“The AFID is a powerful new tool in Virginia’s already impressive economic development and jobs creation portfolio of incentive options and will further enhance our ‘best for business’ reputation,” said Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling. “The fund is particularly important to rural areas, regions of the state where the Governor and I pledged to focus significant attention and job creation efforts after we were elected in 2009. Agriculture and forestry typically are significant economic drivers in rural Virginia, so new investments in these industries will help to build on these region’s existing strengths.”

Under the processing/valued-added guidelines, program funds are now available to local governments and other political subdivisions as one to one matching grants of up to $250,000 to attract economic development prospects involving agriculture and forestry operations to locate or expand in Virginia. In order to qualify, a minimum of 30 percent of the agricultural or forestry products to which the facility is adding value must be grown or produced in the Commonwealth. Grant awards will be determined based on such factors as amount of private capital invested, projected state and local tax revenue generated as a result of capital investment and jobs created, anticipated amount of Virginia-grown product used by the project, projected impact on agricultural and forestal producers, a total return on investment analysis and an analysis of the impact on competing businesses in the area.

“The AFID’s ‘buy local’ provisions will encourage agricultural and forestry operations receiving grant funds to explore all the ways they can source a significant portion of their inputs from within the Commonwealth,” said Todd Haymore, Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “In addition to allowing investing companies to utilize and enjoy the benefits of Virginia’s high quality agricultural and forestry products, this provision expands existing markets or opens new ones for Virginia producers, helps preserve working farmland, and encourages investments in our rural communities.”

Businesses interested in an AFID grant should first contact their local economic development professional or other appropriate representative of the political subdivision to discuss the proposed project. If the political subdivision is interested in applying for the grant and providing the required local match, they should contact Stephen Versen, AFID program contact at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) at or 804.786.6911 to discuss the program and share initial project details. AFID Guidelines may be obtained on the VDACS website at  Applications will be taken on a rolling basis. The AFID program will be administered by the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry with assistance from VDACS and Virginia Department of Forestry staff.

Agriculture and forestry are Virginia’s largest industries, with a combined economic impact of $79 billion annually: $55 billion from agriculture and $24 billion from forestry. The industries also provide approximately 500,000 jobs in the Commonwealth according to the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.

Uranium Working Group Sets Public Meetings

The Uranium Working Group established by Governor Bob McDonnell has been busy with their work, which includes holding a series of public meetings held around the state. The most recent was held at Chatham High School in Chatham.

You will remember from previous reports, the working group was established to “to provide a scientific policy analysis to help assess whether the moratorium on uranium mining in the Commonwealth should be lifted, and if so, how best to do so.”

Virginia Farm Bureau has been monitoring the progress of the group’s work, including attending each of the public meetings. In addition, VAFB has submitted questions for consideration on the issue from an agricultural standpoint. These questions were the result of surveying each of the County Farm Bureaus for concerns they felt needed to be addressed.

We encourage all of our members to read the current reports on the issue and, if possible, participate in the public meetings. Members can access the reports and also provide comment to the working group through their website at

VAFB will continue to monitor the issue and keep member’s concerns before the Working Group and policy makers. The remaining public meeting dates and locations have been set except the final one, which will be held in Richmond. The actual location and date has yet to be set.

Should you have any questions or comments please contact Andrew Smith in the Governmental Relations Department at or 804-290-1021.

Remaining Public Meetings on the Uranium Working Group

• August 2, 2012 – 6 pm (joint meeting with NRC)
Old Dominion Agricultural Complex
19783 US Highway 29, Suite G
Chatham, VA 24531

• August 28, 2012 – 6 pm
Virginia Beach Convention Center
1000 19th Street
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

• October 17, 2012 – 6 pm
Old Dominion Agricultural Complex
19783 US Highway 29, Suite G
Chatham, VA 24531

• November 2012 (TBA)
Richmond, VA

Governor Signs Property Rights Bills; Coalition Officially Launches Campaign

Virginia landowners will be confident that their private property cannot be taken and given to another private owner under eminent domain if the commonwealth’s voters approve Question 1 on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Bipartisan legislation was signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell yesterday to place a proposed constitutional amendment on this fall’s ballot to protect the private property rights of Virginia’s farmers, small businesses and individuals. The amendment specifies that eminent domain cannot be used unless it is for a true public use and further ensures just compensation for the landowner, including the opportunity for lost access and lost profits to be considered as part of that compensation. The language in the amendment also clarifies what is a true “public use” and specifies that no more land than is necessary can be taken.

The “Private Property Rights” amendment and companion legislation was supported by Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli and patroned by Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg; Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle; and Del. Johnny Joannou, D-Portsmouth.

At the July 16 bill signing, a coalition of private property rights advocates announced the launch of a campaign encouraging Virginians to “Vote Yes for Private Property Rights.”

“Our members are excited about the opportunity that this constitutional amendment will provide. No longer will our farms, homes or businesses be taken and given to another private property owner under Kelo-type eminent domain abuses,” said Wayne F. Pryor, president of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. Martha Moore and Trey Davis, Farm Bureau Governmental Relations staff, were also in attendance.

“Our members are grateful to Gov. McDonnell, Attorney Gen. Cuccinelli and the General Assembly for understanding that, while sometimes the government may want someone’s property for a well-agreed public use, taking someone’s home, farm or business so someone else can develop the land is just plain wrong,” said Nicole Riley, state director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “This amendment ensures that, if property is taken for a legitimate public use, private property owners will be justly compensated.”

Elected officials “have given Virginians the opportunity to approve this historical measure,” added Katie K. Frazier, president of the Virginia Agribusiness Council. “Our job now is to educate the public on what this constitutional amendment does and why it is important to them. We’ll be doing so through grassroots activism and communication.”

The “Vote Yes for Private Property Rights” campaign is supported by Farm Bureau, the NFIB, the Virginia Agribusiness Council, the Virginia Forestry Association, the Virginia Poultry Federation, Americans for Prosperity, the Family Foundation of Virginia and other advocacy groups. The coalition will be posting campaign signs, distributing literature and organizing other activities through the fall.

Uranium hearings scheduled for summer/fall

Andrew Smith
Senior Assistant Director
Governmental Relations

Lifting the 30-year moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia continues to be a hot topic with the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Early this year, Governor Bob McDonnell established the  Uranium Working group to provide a scientific policy analysis to help assess whether the moratorium on uranium mining in the Commonwealth should be lifted, and if so, how best to do so.

Part of responsibility of this work group is to hold public hearings to provide updates and to listen to input from the public. The first of these planned hearings will be June, 18 2012, at 6 p.m. when the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission – Uranium Mining Subcommittee meet at Chatham High School, 100 Cavalier Circle, Chatham.

Interested members are encouraged to attend this meeting to learn more about the study, or provide input. The planned subject matter for this meeting is “Mine Permitting, Environmental Impact Analysis & Environmental Monitoring of Mine Sites, Disposal of Mine Waste, Mine Site Reclamation.“

Other hearings are planned for August, October and November. We will post that information as soon as it becomes available.

To follow the progress of the work group or to find additional information on uranium mining in Virginia go to the Uranium Work Group’s Website. For additional information contact me, Andrew Smith, at

Virginia Farm Bureau News Lead: Easing of Chinese ban on Virginia logs good news for exporters

This story will appear in the May 31st edition of News Leads, the week’s top ag stories sent out by the VFB Communications Department to media across the state.

China has agreed to re-open its market to exports of Virginia logs, turning around an outstanding barrier to trade between the two countries.

Bans by the Chinese government on poultry and logs from Virginia have proven to be ongoing challenges for the state’s agriculture, forestry and shipping sectors.

“China is our second largest agricultural trade partner and the ban was negatively impacting both Virginia’s exporters and our valued customers in China,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell when he announced a six-month pilot project to re-open the Chinese market to Virginia’s hardwood and softwood log exporters. “My administration will continue working with all involved parties to see that this pilot program is successful and eventually leads to full open market access.”

In April 2011, China banned log exports from Virginia and South Carolina after insects were found in some shipments.

Under the terms of the pilot project, Virginia logs will be allowed to re-enter China beginning June 1 via designated ports and with enhanced pest treatment and testing protocols.

J.J. Keever, Virginia Port Authority senior deputy executive director for external affairs, estimated that the ban was stopping the export of 4,000 to 5,000 shipping containers a month from Virginia during logging season.

“Around 80 percent of forestland in the Commonwealth is privately owned; re-opening the Chinese market is great news for these forestland owners. This will again increase the shipment of their timber grown right here in Virginia. “said Andrew Smith, Senior Assistant Director of Governmental Relations for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

Virginia agricultural and forestry exports totaled $2.24 billion in 2010, which is that state’s second-highest amount ever. Exports of some Virginia commodities increased in 2011 including pork, poultry, soybeans and wood products.

At the end of 2011, Virginia’s secretary of agriculture and forestry Todd Haymore said the record-high exports were good news but the Chinese ban on logs and poultry was an ongoing trade barrier.

Governor McDonnell Signs Agriculture and Forestry Development Legislation

Gov. Bob McDonnell

 Governor Bob McDonnell signed agriculture and forestry development legislation passed during the recently concluded 2012 session of the General Assemblyat  Cave View Farm in Weyers Cave yesterday.  McDonnell was joined by members of the General Assembly, representatives from the agriculture and forestry industries as well as local economic development associations and chambers of commerce.

During the event he signed legislation establishing the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund which will function similar to the Governor’s Opportunity Fund. He also signed legislation adding the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and the Secretary of Technology as voting members of the board of directors of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority to increase coordination among economic development entities.

“All this great news emphasizes the importance of agriculture and forestry to Virginia; they are the state’s two largest industries. Together, they have a combined economic impact of $79 billion annually and provide more than 500,000 jobs across the state. But, we can do more to help spur more economic activity in agriculture and forestry. That is one reason we’ve created the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund. This new economic development tool will help incentivize the creation or expansion of businesses that utilize Virginia agricultural and forestry products, thus providing more opportunities particularly in rural areas of the Commonwealth,” McDonnell said. “Recognizing the industries’ importance to Virginia’s overall economic well-being, we also asked the General Assembly to approve legislation that adds the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, along with the Secretary of Technology, to the board of directors of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership so that we can further capitalize on agribusiness and technology potential in Virginia – two important and growing industries in the Commonwealth. All of the legislation being signed today will further strengthen our agriculture and forestry industries, create greater coordination and promotion of the industries by Virginia, and help our growers and producers thrive in the Commonwealth. And all of that means more jobs for our citizens.”

Cave View Farm is a 2,000 acre dairy and crop farm, with 1,100 cows and the highest silo in Virginia, which stands 148 feet high. In 2010, Cave View Farm received the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s “Shenandoah Basin Clean Water Award.” Governor McDonnell first visited the farm as a candidate for governor in August 2009.

“Three years ago we came to this farm to discuss our vision for how to grow Virginia’s agricultural and forestry industries to help create more good paying jobs for our citizens. Today, we can point to the results of that work. Virginia agriculture exports reached an all-time high in 2011, as we exported a record $2.35 billion worth of products,” McDonnell said. “Working with the General Assembly, we’ve significantly increased international marketing funds to help us capitalize on the tremendous growth opportunities in countries like China and India and other key regions in the global marketplace. These efforts are helping our producers and agribusinesses achieve new successes. Since 2010, we’ve helped to facilitate deals that have added more than $150 million in new agricultural exports from Virginia, including major new shipments of soybeans and wine to China; livestock to Russia and Canada; and wine, seafood, and specialty foods to the European Union.”

Bills Signed Today

HB766 (Landes)/ SB128 (Stanley) – Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund
•Creates the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund

•The bill establishes an economic development grant and loan program targeted specifically at agricultural and forestry operations.

•Despite agriculture and forestry being the two largest industries in the Commonwealth, this legislation is the first to create an economic development incentive targeted specifically at these industries.

•AFID is structured much like the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, but is specifically designed to accommodate the unique aspects of agriculture and forestry projects.

•AFID will provide grants for projects that utilize Virginia grown products in value-added or processing facilities.

•These agriculture and forestry value-added or processing facilities can have tremendous impacts on the regions in which they locate.

•Areas where these facilities typically locate are rural with higher unemployment

•Agriculture is already a core economic driver in the area, so facilities of this kind can build on the region’s existing strength.

•These facilities have a greater economic ripple effect as a result of growers in the region having a new market in which to sell products.

•Farm revenue increases as a result of these facilities

•Jobs are created on the farm and in the facility

•Greater opportunities to increase farm profitability lead to more farmland preserved

•The entire region sees an economic benefit from revenue generated on the farms and at the facility

HB292 (Scott, Ed)/ SB405 (Hanger) – Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority; increases membership of board of directors

•Adds the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry (SAF) and the Secretary of Technology (SOT) as voting members of the board of directors of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority

 •Legislation continues the Governor’s strategy to fully integrate agriculture and forestry, the two largest industries in Virginia, into the broader economic development and job creation efforts of Virginia.

•Having SOT on the VEDP board will bring insights regarding emerging technology markets and provide technical insight into the type of infrastructure necessary to support technology adoption.

•SAF membership on VEDP board indicates to prospective companies that agriculture and forestry interests are important parts of Virginia’s economic development efforts.

•As a VEDP board member, SAF will play an even greater role in shaping the programs and policies which will further investment and job creation in agribusiness and related sectors.

•Technology remains an economic engine in the Commonwealth and SOT’s presence on the VEDP board will provide valuable opportunities to leverage expansion/relocation activities in the IT sector into valuable job opportunities.

Governor McDonnell Announces New Virginia Wine Region Signs

Governor Bob McDonnell has announced the unveiling of a new Virginia wine region sign program aimed at attracting more visitors to Virginia wineries. The signs will announce to travelers on selected primary and secondary roads that they have entered a particular Virginia American Viticultural Area (AVA) or wine region. The first phase of this program consists of seventeen signs in four Virginia AVAs and one well-known wine region.

Speaking about the new wine region signs, Governor McDonnell said, “In addition to having one of the fastest growing wine industries, the Commonwealth is blessed with some of the country’s most beautiful wineries and wine regions. The new signs will draw attention to the diverse wine regions and encourage travelers and tourists to see and taste what the Virginia wine industry has to offer.”

The first sign was unveiled earlier today in the Monticello AVA at King Family Vineyards in Crozet by First Lady Maureen McDonnell, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, Interim Virginia Tourism Corporation Director Rita McClenny, and David King, co-owner of King Family Vineyards and a member of the Virginia Wine Board. As one of Virginia’s oldest AVA’s, Monticello is now home to 40 wineries. Throughout the spring and summer, signs will be placed at key points of entry in the Eastern Shore AVA, Northern Neck-George Washington Birthplace AVA, Shenandoah AVA and the Northern Virginia Wine Region.

The wine region sign program was funded by a grant from the federal Transportation Enhancement Program and matching funds from the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB). The Office of the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry worked closely with Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to design the signs and select locations that fit within the rules of the program and were best situated to promote the wine regions. The Virginia Wine Board will assist with any maintenance should a sign be damaged or destroyed. Based on grant fund availability, the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry intend to expand the sign program to other AVAs and wine regions once the initial phase is completed.

“I want to thank Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton, CTB, VDOT, and the Virginia Wine Board for their assistance in making these wine region signs a reality,” said Secretary Haymore. “Cross secretariat cooperation is key to the Governor’s overall economic development and jobs creation agenda. This partnership, along with our on-going work with the Virginia Tourism Corporation, will help spur more growth and opportunities at wineries and their suppliers in rural areas throughout Virginia.”

An AVA is a designated wine grape growing region in the United States distinguishable by certain geographic features. Boundaries of AVA’s are defined by the United States Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) generally at the request of winery and vineyard owners. Virginia currently has six AVAs and another proposed AVA is currently being reviewed by the TTB.

Raising the profile of Virginia wines and wine tourism are key components of the governor’s economic development and jobs creation initiatives. The governor has promoted Virginia wines at the Virginia Executive Mansion and throughout Virginia, on other domestic business recruitment visits, and on international trade and marketing missions to India, Israel, Canada, and countries in Europe and Asia. First Lady McDonnell has incorporated wine and wine tourism promotions into her First Lady Initiative Team Effort or FLITE.

Virginia is home to more than 200 wineries and is fifth in the nation for wine grape production. A newly released economic impact study shows that Virginia’s wine industry contributes almost three-quarters of a billion dollars – or $747 million – annually to Virginia’s economy. Virginia wineries and vineyards support 4,800 jobs that provide $156 million total in wages.

Wine travel in Virginia has gained many recent accolades, including being named one of the ten best wine travel destinations in the world for 2012 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Last year, approximately 1.6 million people visited Virginia wineries. Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2010, tourism generated $19 billion in revenue, supported 204,000 jobs and provided $1.2 billion in state and local taxes.

Uranium: Read the Reports

Photo by Michael Brcak

Few things have generated the headlines more than the possibility of lifting the moratorium on uranium in Virginia. The 30-year moratorium has been in place since the issue was last looked at in the 1980s. The renewed interest in nuclear energy has reignited interest by investors to attempt to gain permits to mine the largest deposit known in Virginia on the Coles Hill property in Pittsylvania County.

Virginia Farm Bureau has had a policy to have any study of the mining of uranium be conducted by the unbiased party such as the National Academy of Sciences, and then the latest policy to keep the moratorium in place until all studies are thoroughly evaluated. Governor Bob McDonnell called for just that on January 19, 2011, in a directive to state agencies to delve into the issue to gain more site-specific information.

The Uranium Working Group is a multi-agency cooperation to pull together more information to aid the General Assembly to make a more informed decision when considering lifting the moratorium. We encourage all of our members to read the reports and follow the progress of the work group. The public is also asked to participate in public forums, submit questions, and comments. Virginia Farm Bureau will be submitting questions and comments and encouraging members to do so as well.

You can monitor the work group and read the state sponsored reports that have been completed to date at the Uranium Working Groups website at

Va. agricultural exports reached record high in 2011

A view of the Port of Norfolk

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced on March 13 that the commonwealth exported a record $2.35 billion in agricultural products in 2011, an increase of more than 6 percent from 2010 and more than 2 percent from 2009.
McDonnell spoke during the opening lunch at the Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade.
“Agriculture and forestry are vitally important to economic growth in Virginia,” he said. “With more than one-quarter of farm cash receipts attributable to export sales, continuing to grow Virginia’s agribusiness exports is a priority for my administration. … Exports are key factors in keeping our economy moving forward, and they support jobs, from our farms to our outstanding air, land and sea ports.”
Virginia’s strong position in the global marketplace is due in part to its diversified portfolio of products and export markets. Top export products in 2011 included soybeans; poultry; wheat; pork; lumber and wood products; corn; animal feed; leaf tobacco; fats and oils; cotton; marine and aquaculture products; fresh vegetables; raw peanuts; hides and skins; processed foods and beverages, including wine.

Virginia’s top three ag export markets in 2011 were Morocco, with exports totaling more than $360 million in 2011; China, which saw its exports from Virginia grow to $304 million; and Canada, with exports of $220 million.

Todd P. Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture, said in a Op/Ed piece in the Richmond Times-Dispatch for every $1 of agricultural products exported, another $1.40 is generated by in-state activities, such as processing, packaging and shipping. Importantly, exports generated nearly 30 percent of annual farm cash receipts last year.

“Virginians have no doubt as to the superiority of our agricultural and forestry products. Now, with the help of an aggressive global marketing strategy implemented by McDonnell, more countries around the world are discovering what Virginia has to offer,” Haymore said.
There is concern, on the national level, about the Obama administration’s approach to a major Asian-Pacific free trade deal currently in the advanced stages of negotiations. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) aims to ease American exporters’ access to major Asian-Pacific markets, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and Taiwan.

However, the administration is considering carving out tobacco leaf and tobacco products from the agreement, a move that would shut out Virginia tobacco farmers from countries that account for 40 percent of global trade and 75 percent of Virginia’s agricultural exports.

Virginia farming and business communities have joined the Farm Bureau and Commissioner Lohr in urging the Obama administration to negotiate a trade agreement that benefits all of Virginia’s farmers. This is something we are monitoring and will continue to keep you posted.