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HomeNewsArchivesFYI: Sen. James Explains Sustainable Farming Act of 2006

FYI: Sen. James Explains Sustainable Farming Act of 2006

Oct. 13, 2006 – A major stumbling block to local agricultural production was the farmers' lack of equipment to prepare land and reap harvests. It has been a hardship for struggling farmers to purchase or rent expensive farm equipment from retail establishments. For a community to grow and prosper, it must be able to sustain itself. That is the main reason why I prime sponsored the 2006 Sustainable Farming Act.
The Sustainable Farming Act of 2006 Gives Farmers Access to Farming Equipment
The Act provides $1.2 million to purchase land preparation equipment, including tractors, land clearing machinery and other items needed for farming. The list of needed equipment was put together by the Commissioner of Agriculture who was integrally involved in the formulation of the legislation. Access to state of the art farming equipment would greatly enhance the farmer's ability to grow, harvest and sell their crops.
The Agriculture Department in both districts will house the equipment for farmer's use. Farmers would request the use of the equipment through the department. The Act also provides $500,000 in annual appropriations to the Agriculture Revolving Fund.
Agricultural Sciences to be Taught In and Out of the School System
The Act mandates that agriculture be taught in public schools beginning in kindergarten. This includes agricultural science courses as part of the curriculum throughout the school system.
The Act also considers youth outside of the school system including school dropouts, juvenile delinquents and first time criminal offenders and those being released from the prison system by providing alternative programs, such as agricultural training camps.
As the provisions of this act are put into practice throughout the Virgin Islands, for the first time in many years, the V.I. is insuring the survival of the farming industry by introducing it in the schools at a young age and utilizing agriculture as a profession to those who had trouble with the law.
The Act was Supported by a Wide Range of Individuals in the Farming Industry
The 2006 Sustainable Farmers Act would not have been possible without information support and input from those who work in, support and regulate the industry. Thanks to the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture, the University of the Virgin Islands Co-Operative Extension Service, Farmer's in Action, Virgin Islands Farmer's Co-operative Inc., and numerous individual farmers who were consulted.
On November 7, I ask you for your vote to keep progressive thinking and action alive Vote for Neville James #15 on your voting machine.

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