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HomeNewsArchivesBrief: V.I. Stands to Benefit from Farm Bill

Brief: V.I. Stands to Benefit from Farm Bill

May 16, 2008 — The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed and sent to President Bush a multibillion dollar farm bill that includes provisions to benefit agricultural and environmental projects in the Virgin Islands.
The Senate voted 81-15 after Wednesday’s 318-106 House vote to approve the five-year extension of the nation’s farm programs, including a major expansion of the food stamp program.
The bill extends the Specialty Crops Block Grant program to the Virgin Islands for the first time. Gov. John deJongh Jr. said Friday that under this program, the Virgin Islands will receive a minimum allocation of over $800,000 over the next five years to assist V.I. farmers and the production of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and other horticultural products in the territory. "This program will provide a significant boost to our efforts to grow our own fruits and vegetables in the Virgin Islands and to lessen our dependence on high cost produce from the mainland and other islands," deJongh said.
The federal legislation also provides instructions to the Secretary of Agriculture to give priority consideration to the V.I. and other U.S. territories for funding environmental projects like court-ordered repairs to the sewer system and landfills in the territory, as well as for projects to strengthen the territory’s infrastructure such as burying WAPA's electric lines.
DeJongh expressed his appreciation to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who included the V.I. provisions in the Senate bill at his request, and to Delegate Donna Christensen for her efforts on the House side.
President Bush has threatened a veto of the bill, but deJongh noted that the vote margins in both Houses are large enough to override any veto attempt.

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May 16, 2008 -- The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed and sent to President Bush a multibillion dollar farm bill that includes provisions to benefit agricultural and environmental projects in the Virgin Islands.
The Senate voted 81-15 after Wednesday’s 318-106 House vote to approve the five-year extension of the nation’s farm programs, including a major expansion of the food stamp program.
The bill extends the Specialty Crops Block Grant program to the Virgin Islands for the first time. Gov. John deJongh Jr. said Friday that under this program, the Virgin Islands will receive a minimum allocation of over $800,000 over the next five years to assist V.I. farmers and the production of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and other horticultural products in the territory. "This program will provide a significant boost to our efforts to grow our own fruits and vegetables in the Virgin Islands and to lessen our dependence on high cost produce from the mainland and other islands," deJongh said.
The federal legislation also provides instructions to the Secretary of Agriculture to give priority consideration to the V.I. and other U.S. territories for funding environmental projects like court-ordered repairs to the sewer system and landfills in the territory, as well as for projects to strengthen the territory’s infrastructure such as burying WAPA's electric lines.
DeJongh expressed his appreciation to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who included the V.I. provisions in the Senate bill at his request, and to Delegate Donna Christensen for her efforts on the House side.
President Bush has threatened a veto of the bill, but deJongh noted that the vote margins in both Houses are large enough to override any veto attempt.