Governor Glenn Youngkin today signed his first piece of legislation into law in a small ceremony in the Capitol. H.B. 828, introduced by Delegate Tony Wilt, which supports dairy producers in the Commonwealth by streamlining requirements to participate in a federal program.
“Agriculture is Virginia’s number one industry and plays a critical role in Virginia’s economic growth. Therefore, it is not lost on me that the first bill I signed assists Virginia’s dairy farmers. Virginia’s farmers can count on me to advance our economy and provide job growth opportunities in all corners of the Commonwealth,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.
“Since 2017, Virginia has seen a 35% decline in the number of dairy producers yet the dairy industry continues to generate over $9 billion annually in economic activity. This legislation will bring much needed relief to Virginia dairy farmers as they continue modeling excellent stewardship while providing for their families and supporting our communities,” said Secretary of Agriculture Matt Lohr.
The bill makes adjustments to the Dairy Margin Coverage Premium Assistance Program due to a significant delay in the passage of the Federal Farm Bill last fall. In current code, the state premium assistance program closed Feb. 1, well before the close date for the federal program. The bill contains an emergency clause so that upon the Governor’s signature, the state program will reopen for applicants through May 15.