May 31, 2013

Kaine Discusses Farm Bill In Charlottesville and Gordonsville

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Tim Kaine participated in a roundtable with local farmers in Charlottesville today to discuss the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 (the Farm Bill), which was voted out of committee with bipartisan support, and how it will help Virginia farmers and local markets. Kaine expressed his support for a full five-year arm bill to provide farmers in Virginia and across the nation with the long-term certainty they deserve.

"The uncertainty surrounding the farm bill over the past year has made it very hard for people in agriculture to plan, so I'm very excited we have a very comprehensive farm bill on the floor of the Senate," Kaine told the group of Charlottesville area farmers. "This bill dramatically increases funding for specialty crop and local farmers markets. It also transitions us away from direct farm subsidies, which are expensive and often had negative effects on markets, in favor of a subsidized crop insurance model."

Following the roundtable, Kaine visited Ted's Last Stand Farm and Gardens to tour the property and discuss how passing the long-term farm bill will benefit family farms and the rest of the agricultural industry in Virginia. With the 2008 farm legislation slated to expire September 30, the Senate has negotiated a new version of the farm bill to continue resources for one of the largest sectors in the country. Agriculture is Virginia's leading industry, supporting more than 357,000 jobs and generating more than $55 billion each year in the Commonwealth. 

"What the farm bill means for small farms like Ted's Last Stand is more focus and funding to help farmers who grow specialty crops and local produce," Kaine said. "There's also an increased effort to ensure folks who receive SNAP benefits can use them to buy healthier food at local farmers markets. The more farmers markets we have, the more accessible they will be for SNAP recipients who may otherwise not have access to fresh produce. 

Kaine's stops in Charlottesville and Gordonsville conclude his work week in the Commonwealth. Yesterday, Kaine toured the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and received feedback from shipyard employees ahead of Armed Services Committee negotiations on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the coming weeks.