Spanberger Hosts Roundtable Discussion with Farmers in Amelia County, Calls for Crop & Livestock Producers to Make their Voices Heard

This Week, the Congresswoman has Travelled throughout Virginia’s Seventh District to Hear Directly from the People She Serves

Amelia County Farm Bureau

AMELIA COURTHOUSE, V.A. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger hosted a roundtable discussion with crop and livestock producers in Central Virginia to hear about the challenges facing local producers, the local impacts of federal regulations, uncertain commodity prices, tariffs, and implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill.

During a meeting with local farmers at the Amelia County Farm Bureau office, Spanberger—a member of the House Agriculture Committee—listened as area producers discussed their experiences, challenges, and priorities. They discussed the need for improved infrastructure—including roads and internet, hardships created by healthcare costs as both employers and family farmers, and the administration’s proposed cuts to crop insurance.

Last week, Spanberger criticized the administration’s proposed cuts to programs that currently support Central Virginia’s farm economy and rural communities. The White House budget would cut funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by approximately 15-percent, including a $400 million cut to broadband internet grant and loan programs that help expand high-speed internet access in rural areas. Additionally, the budget would lower the average crop insurance premium subsidy from 62-percent to 48-percent.

“As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I’m committed to listening to local farmers, ranchers, and commodity groups—and yesterday’s discussion in Amelia was a productive conversation about the need for increased investment in rural infrastructure like roads and internet, the challenges facings our agricultural communities, and the effects of the administration’s tariffs,” said Spanberger. “Right now, Central Virginia’s rural areas face unique challenges. Amid ongoing trade uncertainty and low commodity prices, we need to preserve—not dismantle—vital programs, and I’ll continue to push back against senseless cuts to crop insurance programs. These proposed cuts demonstrate yet another tone-deaf example of the federal government ignoring the actual needs of farmers, including those in Central Virginia. As I help amplify the voice of our region’s growers in Congress, I’ll keep pushing to expand rural broadband internet access, give farmers a seat at the decision-making table, and build a strong foundation for the next generation of farmers.”

Click here for a tweet on the event from the Virginia Farm Bureau.

Last month, Spanberger participated in her first House Agriculture Committee hearing, where she asked USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue about priorities important to Central Virginia’s farm economy and rural communities—including expanding high-speed, reliable rural broadband internet access. She also invited Secretary Perdue to visit her district to hear directly from Central Virginia farmers and to receive their feedback on current USDA policies and 2018 Farm Bill implementation. He accepted her invitation. Click here for a full video of her remarks.

And earlier this month, Spanberger sent letters to Central Virginia dairy producers to update them on upcoming changes to the USDA’s dairy margin programs. The 2018 Farm bill replaces the Margin Protection Program with the Dairy Margin Coverage program.

This week, Spanberger has been travelling across Central Virginia to meet with constituents and update them on her recent work in Congress, including on the House Agriculture Committee. On Thursday, she hosted her second “Coffee with Your Congressperson” event in Culpeper—and earlier this week, she held her third in-district town hall in Nottoway County.

Background

In January, Spanberger was selected to serve as Chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry. The Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee is responsible for legislation related to resource management, soil health, forestry, and water quality. Spanberger also serves as a member of the Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Subcommittee.

Spanberger represents Virginia’s 7th District Congressional District, which contains all or portions of Amelia, Chesterfield, Culpeper, Goochland, Henrico, Louisa, Nottoway, Orange, Powhatan, and Spotsylvania counties in Central Virginia.

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