Legislation that will improve food distribution infrastructure while assisting Virginia farmers and local and regional food banks has steadily found success in both chambers of the General Assembly so far this session.
HB 2203 (Madame Speaker) and SB 1188 (Hashmi) establish the Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance Program and Fund (VFAP). The VFAP will provide funding for Virginia farmers and food producers to donate, sell, or otherwise provide agriculture products to charitable food assistance organizations. The Program will also provide funding to local and regional food banks to reimburse farmers or food producers for any costs associated with harvesting, processing, packaging, or transporting agriculture products donated to such charitable food assistance organizations. The bill aims to help the over one million Virginians that are at risk of hunger while also directly assisting local farmers as well as local and regional foodbanks.
HB 2203 reported out of the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, 21-1, and the House Appropriations Committee, 21-0. The bill passed the full House on January 28 by a vote of 97-3.
SB 1188 reported out of the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, 15-0, and the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, 16-0. The bill passed the full Senate unanimously on February 1.
HB 2203 will now be sent over to the Senate for review, while SB 1188 will be taken up by the House. Since the bills are identical, they should have no trouble moving forward.
VACo is pleased to support HB 2203 and SB 1188.
VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.