Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Denver Riggleman (VA-5)
Washington, D.C. — The American Farm Bureau Federation honored Congressman Denver Riggleman with the prestigious “Friend of Farm Bureau” Award in recognition of his commitment to supporting America’s farmers and ranchers during his time in the 116th Congress.
Congressman Riggleman was nominated by the Virginia Farm Bureau, and received the award from the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Board of Directors as a result of his impressive voting record. Congressman Riggleman has worked diligently and tirelessly to promote policies that support farmers in the 5th District and around the country.
“I am honored to have been named a ‘Friend of the Farm Bureau’. Fighting for the farmers of the 5th District has been a priority during my time in Congress and I am proud of the successes we have had: introducing Hemp Opportunity Zones Bill, passing the USMCA to expand access to foreign markets for Virginia farmers, expanding Hemp Crop Insurance in Virginia, and co-sponsoring the Voluntary Checkoff Program Act,” said Congressman Riggleman. “I will continue to fight for Virginia farmers through the remainder of my term.”
Congressman Riggleman has sponsored numerous pieces of legislation to support American agricultural producers and provide great economic opportunity to farmers and ranchers all across Virginia.
In August, Congressman Riggleman sponsored H.R. 8131 – the Hemp Opportunity Zone Act of 2020. This legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to establish Hemp Opportunity Zones, which would provide tax incentives to farmers that produce hemp in low-income communities designated by the governor. Additionally, in 2019, Congressman Riggleman successfully led the initiative to have Virginia added to the Hemp crop insurance pilot program in order to safeguard Virginia farmers from unforeseen disasters.
Congressman Riggleman worked with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Chief Agriculture Negotiator to examine strategies in U.S. trade that benefit American farmers. You can read his letter here. Congressman Riggleman has also maintained a partnership with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to develop tools to support farmers in the district. Specifically, Congressman Riggleman created the 5th District Agricultural Committee to facilitate discussions about the issues facing the producers in our community. In July, the town of Halifax received over $125,000 in grants and loans through the USDA Rural Development Program.
Congressman Riggleman has continued to support rural communities during the coronavirus pandemic. The United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) passed the House in December with Congressman Riggleman’s support. The USMCA has been a big win for agricultural producers across the country, as it has expanded markets for farmers, and hastened economic recovery from the pandemic.
Congressman Riggleman also sent a letter to USDA Secretary Purdue asking him to ensure that the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments are extended to support small cattle farmers across the country.
This year, Congressman Riggleman introduced H.R. 5699 – the Voluntary Checkoff Program Participation Act to cut regulation and help small farmers by prohibiting mandatory checkoff programs and require that any farmer participation in these programs be completely voluntary. For too long, regulation and red tape have hindered small farmers by requiring them pay into a system that does not always benefit local agricultural producers and consumers. This bill would go a long way in ensuring that smaller scale producers have flexibility and control over their own investments.
You can read a copy of the letter Congressman Riggleman received notifying him of his award here.