Youngkin signs legislation boosting controlled environment agriculture

(The Center Square) – Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed legislation to expand sales tax exemptions for controlled environment agriculture commercial facilities.

The new law will promote emerging agriculture cultivation systems, which proponents believe will create a source of sustainable, nutritious food options – aiding worldwide food insecurity.

“Innovation is critical to creating a resilient food system that prevents a rapidly growing world population from suffering food insecurity, while responding to consumer demand for healthier, more sustainable food options,” said Youngkin.

Not all controlled environment agriculture facilities receive sales tax exemptions for purchases they make. The new law will expand exemptions used during the construction of facilities, such as "tangible personal property items."

Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr applauded the commonwealth’s leadership in providing a hospitable environment for the industry to flourish.

“Virginia is quickly becoming the destination of choice for CEA operations to locate and expand, due to the state’s strategic access to domestic consumer markets, plentiful and competitively priced resources, skilled workforce pipeline, and the availability of public and private partnerships,” said Lohr.

Youngkin echoed the need to support emerging technologies in agriculture to become a leader.

“Targeted investments and support for advanced training in cutting-edge agricultural technology training is vital in making Virginia the number one destination in the nation for controlled environment agriculture,” the governor said.

Youngkin signed the legislation while visiting Virginia Tech’s Shenandoah Valley Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Raphine.

The governor used the event to announce a commonwealth symposium to focus on addressing global food security with innovation titled the “Great Indoors,” which will take place in the fall.

The symposium will host innovators in the controlled environment agriculture field to discuss the role of the emerging agriculture sector in addressing global food safety and security. In addition, the event will review the challenges of outdoor farming are impacted by labor costs, extreme weather, soil erosion, water availability and the increase of pesticide-resistant pests.

In Youngkin’s FY2023 and FY2024 budget amendments, the governor provides an additional $1.25 million in agriculture technology grants or loans to boost the industry, develop agriculture products, and improve growth and productivity.

Lohr commended Youngkin’s budget amendments for setting the stage for the commonwealth to lead the nation in innovation.

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