The Virginia Agribusiness Council (of which the VTA is a member) is celebrating their successful advocacy in support of the legislative goals of its membership in the 2009 Virginia General Assembly.

“The Council was unified in conveying to legislators the impacts of some key policy issues to our industry, including funding support for Agricultural Best Management Practices, alternative energy generation, and reasonable agriculture animal policies,“ noted Council Board chairman Jim Saunders of Saunders Brothers in Piney River. “I’m very pleased to report that the Council’s efforts to represent agribusinesses across the Commonwealth were met with successful results during this General Assembly session.”

Agricultural Animal Policies: During a time of fiscal constraint, the legislature lent their support to an industry funded study by the Va. Md. Regional College of Veterinary Medicine to assess a critical shortage of large animal veterinarians across the state.

“We were glad to be a part of the effort to secure a legislative study on the shortage of large animal veterinarians. This problem is not only critical to our profession, but to every sector of agricultural animal production,” commented Dr. Tom Massie, of Rose Hill Veterinary Practice in Washington Va. and current President of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association.

Environmental Stewardship: Through working with the “Partnership for Water Quality”, the Council was successful in maintaining level funding of agricultural best management practices of $20 million for FY 2010, furthering the public-private partnership between the agricultural industry and the Commonwealth. The BMP Programs will enable farmers to continue improving conservation practices on their farm, such as fencing cattle out of streams, animal waste storage facilities, alternative watering systems and cover crops.

Energy: As legislators turned their attention toward energy issues during the session, the Council continued to advocate for streamlined processes to encourage alternative energy generation from agribusinesses.

The Virginia Agribusiness Council represents agricultural and forestry producers, suppliers, marketers, processors and commodity associations in the Commonwealth with a unified voice through its government affairs activities. The Council has a combined membership of over 40,000. For more information on the Virginia Agribusiness Council, visit