Agricultural & Forestry
The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber believes that public policies that do not impede or restrict the important agricultural and forest economies of the Valley are vital to the continued economic success of Harrisonburg and Rockingham. Traditional land uses that support these industries are important to meet the food and fiber requirements of future generations. The Chamber encourages preservation of open space, economically viable working farms, and forest lands while protecting property values of landowners. The Chamber opposes unreasonable restrictions, taxes or mandates on farms, agribusiness, and forestry operations in the region that would adversely impact their viability and ability to produce and market an affordable and safe supply of food and forest products for businesses and families.
Environment and Energy
- The Chamber supports reasonable, scientifically sound, economically sensible solutions to agriculture-related environmental issues (for example, management of manure and other waste products), and supports keeping the responsibility and oversight of these issues at the state level.
- The Chamber supports efforts to find or create markets for agricultural byproducts such as manure and poultry litter. Possibilities include fertilizers for phosphorus-deficient soils and waste-to-energy projects.
Agricultural Education and Research
- The Chamber supports funding of the Land-Grant Mission of research, education and cooperative extension in Virginia’s institutions of higher education.
- The Chamber supports funding of Agriculture-in-the-Classroom programs, 4H, agriculture education, FFA and the Governor’s School for Agriculture.
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
- The Chamber supports adequate funding for Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to support programs in animal and plant health and other agency operations.
- The Chamber supports the responsible use of animals for human purposes, such as food and fiber, and advocates that animal care decisions be based on scientific knowledge and professional judgment.
- The Chamber supports reasonable biosecurity measures to protect the health of animals that are important to the local economy.
- The Chamber supports maintenance and expansion of the rail network for economical transportation of agricultural inputs (such as feed and fertilizer) and products.
- The Chamber supports maintenance of the rural road network (including winter snow removal) to ensure adequate access to farms, for the same reason.
- The Chamber supports a sustained-yield forest industry assisted by essential public services such as research, fire protection, pest control and transportation, to maintain the economic benefits of such an industry as well as the public benefit of watershed protection.