A Congresswoman’s recent visit to an Accomack County farm helped broaden her understanding of agriculture.
Rep. Elaine Luria, D-2nd, visited Dublin Farms in Horntown on April 25 and found out how the potato farm operates.
“We are very appreciative that Congresswoman Luria came out to talk with us,” shared Mark Hickman, operations manager for the farm. “Several congressional and state government representatives have been invited to our farm, but she is the first to come and actually speak with us to learn more about Virginia agriculture and the issues we, as farmers, face. Her visit showed us that she is willing to listen and learn.
“I believe this visit opened up a channel of communication between the ag community and our government reps, and that will be very beneficial for agriculture,” he added.
Hickman invited Luria to the farm after attending a Syngenta leadership program in February. The program urged participants to reach out to Congressional leaders and advocate for agriculture. During a meeting with Luria’s staff, Hickman personally invited her to come and tour the farm.
“I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email only a week later informing me that she wanted to come for a visit to help better understand our industry as a whole,” Hickman said.
During the visit, Luria toured a potato field and the farm’s packing facility.
Hickman said he and the other farmers in attendance shared with Luria how recent trade tensions are affecting the price of corn and soybeans, along with their potential effect on Virginia potatoes. Other topics discussed were the importance of local corn crops that support the Delmarva poultry industry, as well as good stewardship practices farmers are using to help protect the Eastern Shore’s environmentally sensitive waterways.
“Everyone who attended the meeting came away from it believing she had genuine interest and concern in what was discussed,” Hickman said, adding that Luria “did seem to understand how regulations and other decisions made in Washington can adversely affect farmers.”
In addition to Luria and her constituent services representative, Caroline Bott, attendees included Lynne Gayle, Accomack County Farm Bureau President; Butch Nottingham, marketing specialist for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Ben Rowe, national affairs coordinator for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation; and Dublin Farms’ Phil, Phillip and Matthew Hickman.