Sixth District outlook with Congressman Ben Cline – 14 April 2022 – Royal Examiner


It was a great week to be home in Virginia’s beautiful Sixth District, where I had the opportunity to travel throughout our region to meet with businesses and constituents. As we celebrate National Agriculture Week, I wanted to take a moment to let residents know about the important role the agriculture industry plays in our district. Additionally, I enjoyed spending time in Roanoke where I both honored our Vietnam veterans and learned about the significant impact Delta Dental has on our community. Additionally, I had the pleasure of joining hundreds of New Market residents this week in celebrating the 250th anniversary of the founding of Shenandoah County. Rest assured that I am bringing back to Washington the concerns I have heard from constituents over the past few days as the House prepares for several weeks of session.

National Agriculture Week:
Agriculture is the Commonwealth’s largest private industry and accounts for 9.5% of the state’s total gross domestic product, much of which is grown in the Shenandoah Valley.

Virginia’s Sixth District is home to more than 8,000 farms covering more than 1.2 million acres. Augusta and Rockingham counties play a major role in agriculture across the Commonwealth, being two of the top five agricultural counties in Virginia, with Augusta leading the way topping the list. Raw materials and products sourced from the District represent 37% of all agricultural sales here in Virginia, with our poultry industry being the primary economic driver. Our farmers and their families have deep roots in the heart of the Sixth District, where 97% of the farms are family owned and operated for many generations.

Across the Shenandoah Valley, we have more than 13,000 farmers, 35% of them women, working the land more efficiently than ever before feeding six times as many people as they did in the 1960s. as a whole creates 334,000 jobs and has an economic impact of $70 billion a year. From farm to fork, our producers’ impacts extend beyond the Sixth District, and I’m grateful to live in a place where so many individuals and families work to feed, feed and clothe the world. As we celebrate National Agriculture Week, I remain committed to supporting our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and producers.

To that end, I recently took action to support the agriculture industry by joining my colleagues in writing to the Chairman of the United States International Trade Commission regarding the price of fertilizer, which is one of the most major concerns that I have heard about recently from farmers. . In fact, many see fertilizer prices four to five times higher than the same time last year – and that’s on top of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecast that agricultural production spending will increase by 6.6% from 2021 to 2022. This is why I have urged the International Trade Commission to reconsider the duties imposed on phosphate fertilizer products imported from Morocco and to suspend the current process of imposing new duties on ammonium nitrate and urea fertilizers from Trinidad and Tobago.

Eliminating these fertilizer import duties provides the most immediate opportunity to partially address the short-term high fertilizer costs facing U.S. farmers before the end of the 2022 planting season. Currently, At a time of tight global supply and demand for corn, soybeans, wheat and other commodities, planting decisions are increasingly being made based not on market fundamentals, but rather based on the cost of production determined by the price and supply of fertilizer. Congress must continue to look for ways to support farmers and producers during these tough economic times. The full letter can be found here.

Tribute to Vietnam Veterans:
This Saturday, I had the pleasure of joining Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 81 at Freedom Plaza in Roanoke to celebrate National Vietnam Veterans Day, which is celebrated on March 29 every year.

Throughout the war, approximately 2.7 million American men and women served in Vietnam, including 230,000 from Virginia. We have come together to honor those who served there, those who were injured, those still missing and the more than 58,000 brave souls who gave their last full measure to defend the values ​​held dear to this country. I appreciated the opportunity to thank the veterans in attendance for their service, as well as to highlight how Congress continues to work to address issues related to their overseas service time. For example, in 2019, I had the pleasure of co-sponsoring and seeing the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act enacted.

This bill now guarantees veterans who served in specified offshore areas near Vietnam the same presumption of Agent Orange exposure as those who served in the field, allowing them to receive medical care and disability award they deserve. Going forward, I will continue to seek out similar bipartisan bills that seek to create a VA that provides timely, quality health care and meets the growing needs of Vietnam-era veterans.

Celebrating Shenandoah County:
Over the weekend, it was a pleasure to join people from across the Commonwealth in New Market to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Shenandoah County. Originally known as Dunmore, the county was created by the Virginia General Assembly on March 24, 1772. However, shortly thereafter the county was renamed Shenandoah in 1778 to reflect the occupiers’ dedication to the patriot cause during the American Revolution.

Since its inception, Shenandoah County has had a long history of local businesses, farming, health care, tourism, manufacturing and award-winning education. Coupled together, these qualities make the county a remarkable place to live. At the event, I was pleased to present local officials with a copy of the Congressional Record highlighting their anniversary and marking the many successes the county has enjoyed over the past 250 years.

Delta Dental:
Founded in 1954, Delta Dental is the largest provider of dental care in the United States, serving more than 83 million Americans. Here in the Commonwealth, the company is headquartered in Roanoke, but has additional offices in Richmond, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia. Not only does the company provide coverage to 2 million Virginians, but it is also committed to giving back to our community. Last year, Delta Dental of Virginia awarded $500,000 in grants to provide oral health services to 3,568 children and adults.

During my visit to corporate headquarters this week, I was delighted to learn that the company was involved in the creation of the Local Impact for Tomorrow (LIFT) program, which partners with Fallon Park Elementary School to provide health care services to families in need. To date, Delta Dental has contributed over $100,000 to the program. Our community appreciates all of his efforts.

COVID-19 Update:
Last week in Virginia, there were an average of 9.7 daily cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people. This is down from an average of 11.3 cases from the previous week. The positivity rate this week was 3.9%, compared to 5.1% last week. For more information, click here.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your congressman. If my office can assist you, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

For the latest updates from Washington and the Sixth District, please follow me on Facebook, instagramand Twitter for the latest updates.


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