Governor to discuss farmers' contributions to environment, economy

HOT SPRINGS—Gov. Terry McAuliffe will kick off the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Convention Nov. 29 at The Omni Homestead Resort.

McAuliffe is expected to discuss farmers’ contributions to the environment and economy at the Tuesday luncheon. Since the convention theme is “Growing for the Greater Good,” these are timely topics.

The growth of Virginia’s agricultural and forestry exports are likely to be discussed as well. In 2015 those exports totaled $3.19 billion. The state’s top farm exports included leaf tobacco, pork, lumber and logs, soybeans and soybean meal.

The governor also is expected to talk about the work farmers are doing to protect the Chesapeake Bay, and ways in which the state plans to recognize that work.

“This past year Gov. McAuliffe announced a historic level of investment—over $60 million—for implementation of agriculture best management practices,” said Martha Moore, VFBF vice president of government relations. “We hope he will discuss how we can partner together to keep the momentum going on the improvements to meet the commonwealth’s water quality goals.”

Other featured speakers at the convention include American Farm Bureau Federation President Vincent “Zippy” Duvall and political analyst Dr. Robert Holsworth. Duvall also will speak at Tuesday’s luncheon, and Holsworth will address attendees at Wednesday’s lunch.

Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Ga., is the 12th president of the AFBF, which is the nation’s largest agricultural advocacy group. He will speak on “Working ‘Beyond the Fencerows’” and provide an update on AFBF’s accomplishments and anticipated challenges.

Holsworth is a managing principal of DecideSmart. His address, “Now What? Implications of the 2016 Elections for Rural Virginia,” will touch on public policy issues important to both rural Virginia and the farming community. Holsworth is a former director of the Center for Public Policy and the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The convention will conclude Dec. 1 with the election of VFBF officers and four state-level directors. With 126,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group.

Media: Contact Greg Hicks, VFBF vice president of communications, at 804-290-1139.

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