We promote the economic growth and development of Virginia agriculture, provide consumer protection, and encourage environmental stewardship.
We envision the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as a nationally and internationally recognized agricultural development, marketing, consumer protection, animal health, and environmental organization that achieves world class customer service and results for the citizens of the Commonwealth; is a model agency known for the quality leadership of our people and excellence in agency operations; uses strategic planning and management along with partnering with clients to provide the highest quality, innovative services to the Virginia agriculture and agribusiness industry, consumers and all citizens; and promotes the highest standards of competency, ethics, fairness and respect in all aspects of work and employment for department staff in order to attract and retain a highly effective work force.
In dealing with customers, commitment to: providing quality professional service in a timely manner; treating customers with courtesy, openness, fairness and equity; soliciting customer input during the development of policies and procedures; and ensuring that programs, policies and procedures effectively meet customer needs.
In dealing with each other, commitment to: valuing agency employees, empowering and supporting them to accomplish agency goals; demonstrating mutual respect; working together as a team; fostering integrity and trust, expecting high standards of performance and practicing quality improvement; ensuring accountability by linking authority with responsibility; enhancing inter-divisional communications; contributing to innovation through participation, recognition and reward.
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' diverse programs are supported by a variety of funding sources including general fund support (52.9 percent), federal grants (14.2 percent), commodity board self-assessments (13.6 percent), commodity grading fees (10.5 percent) and user fees (8.8 percent).
(Changes to Initial Appropriation will be 0 when the plan is created. They will change when the plan is updated mid-biennium.)
|Initial Appropriation for the Biennium||33,176,063||29,581,211||33,523,116||29,581,211|
|Changes to Initial Appropriation||-142,900||0||-196,062||0|
Anticipated Changes to Customer Base
Current Customer List
|Potential Number of Annual Customers|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Food manufacturers||2,043||2,400||Increase|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Food warehouses||740||900||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Frozen dessert plants||16||17||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Grade A milk tank truck wash station||2||3||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Health spas||472||600||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Livestock dealers||337||407||Increase|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Livestock markets||39||45||Increase|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Manufacturers needing calibrated standards||200||600||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Meat Processing/slaughter facilities ||179||200||Increase|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Membership campgrounds||6||10||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Milk pickup haulers permitted to weigh and sample milk||392||392||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Milk tank truck operators||124||124||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Plants processing manufactured grade milk||28||30||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Retail food stores||9,399||9,500||Increase|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Retail frozen dessert shops||340||360||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Travel clubs||3||10||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Weights and measures service agencies||425||500||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Weights and measures service technicians||1,600||2,000||Stable|
|Energy||Petroleum dealers using measuring devices||4,852||4,852||Increase|
|Environmental Pollution and Control||Business licensees||2,000||2,500||Increase|
|Farm/Forest Owner||Farm and farm related employment||400,000||400,000||Increase|
|Farm/Forest Owner||Licensed producers||1,109||1,065||Decrease|
|Farm/Forest Owner||Livestock producers - cattle||26,000||27,000||Stable|
|Farm/Forest Owner||Livestock producers - equine||41,000||45,000||Stable|
|Farm/Forest Owner||Livestock producers - goats||3,934||4,000||Stable|
|Farm/Forest Owner||Livestock producers - poultry||5,283||6,000||Stable|
|Farm/Forest Owner||Livestock producers - sheep||2,100||2,300||Increase|
|Farm/Forest Owner||Livestock producers - swine||1,000||1,200||Increase|
|Farm/Forest Owner||Virginia's farmers||47,383||47,383||Increase|
|Federal Agency||Federal agencies||3||3||Stable|
|Health Professions||Veterinary practices||990||1,027||Increase|
|Health Professions||Veterinary practitioners||2,781||2,899||Increase|
|Local or Regional Government Authorities||Government agencies needing calibrated standards||100||200||Stable|
|Local or Regional Government Authorities||Local animal control agencies||216||216||Stable|
|Local or Regional Government Authorities||Local governments, economic development entities, other state agencies||100||500||Increase|
|Local or Regional Government Authorities||Municipal pounds and private shelter entities||146||160||Increase|
|Local or Regional Government Authorities||Local governments||100||100||Stable|
|Manufacturing||Agriculture and forestry processing/value added facilities using Virginia grown products||100||1,000||Increase|
|Non-Profit Agency (Boards/Foundations),||Charitable organizations||17,148||25,000||Increase|
|Non-Profit Agency (Boards/Foundations),||Commodity Boards||15||15||Stable|
|Non-Profit Agency (Boards/Foundations),||Institutions||124||136||Stable|
|Non-Profit Agency (Boards/Foundations),||Permitted organizations||414||414||Decrease|
|Non-Profit Agency (Boards/Foundations),||Public school dstricts||132||132||Stable|
|Non-Profit Agency (Boards/Foundations),||Regional food banks||6||6||Stable|
|Non-Profit Agency (Boards/Foundations),||State or private schools||68||97||Decrease|
|Non-Profit Agency (Boards/Foundations),||Summer camps and summer feeding programs||132||132||Stable|
|Organization||Land conservation organizations||250||500||Stable|
|Student||Virginia school children||1,234,400||1,700,000||Increase|
|Volunteer||Home-based animal rescue organizations||200||300||Increase|
|Wholesale/Retail Trade||Businesses selling retail packaged commodities||4,600||10,000||Increase|
|Wholesale/Retail Trade||Businesses using weighing devices and scanners||10,000||25,000||Increase|
|Wholesale/Retail Trade||Licensed manufactures of electronic pull-tab systems||5||10||Increase|
|Wholesale/Retail Trade||Licensed processors and distributors||179||180||Decrease|
|Wholesale/Retail Trade||Licensed suppliers of charitable gaming supplies||22||22||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Ag/forest product exporters||100||150||Increase|
|Agriculture and Food||Agricultural producers||47,604||47,604||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Beekeepers||100||800||Increase|
|Agriculture and Food||Cotton growers||400||750||Decrease|
|Agriculture and Food||Dairy farms ||689||689||Decrease|
|Agriculture and Food||Direct marketers||700||1,700||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Export shipping agents||10||10||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Fruit and vegetable growers||500||500||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Fruit packers||100||100||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Ginseng growers/dealers||8,000||10,000||Increase|
|Agriculture and Food||Grain dealers||107||107||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Grain handlers||125||125||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Licensed agricultural businesses||1,400||1,400||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Livestock auction markets||27||27||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Nursery dealers (retailers)||350||1,700||Increase|
|Agriculture and Food||Nursery dealers (retailers) and nursery growers (wholesalers)||725||2,075||Increase|
|Agriculture and Food||Nursery Growers (Wholesalers)||375||375||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Potato and vegetable packinghouses||17||17||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Poultry plants||6||8||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Processed food companies||400||900||Increase|
|Agriculture and Food||Produce warehouses||39||39||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Retail chain stores||400||929||Increase|
|Agriculture and Food||Retail farmers markets||215||227||Increase|
|Agriculture and Food||Seed producers||500||500||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Shell egg plants||1||3||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Vineyards||100||320||Increase|
|Agriculture and Food||Virginia farmers||47,383||47,383||Increase|
|Agriculture and Food||Virginia grain producers||3,000||3,000||Stable|
|Business and Finance||Credit services businesses||2||10||Stable|
|Business and Finance||Extended service contracts||170||250||Stable|
|Consumer||Citizens filing complaints||600||750||Increase|
|Consumer||Citizens of Virginia||7,100,000||8,000,000||Increase|
|Consumer||Clients served by charitable and correctional institutions||40,808||46,247||Increase|
|Consumer||Consumers obtaining information||20,000||20,000||Increase|
|Consumer||Print and broadcast media||100||130||Stable|
|Consumer||Schools, food pantries, public hospitals, and soup kitchens||929||1,845||Increase|
|Employee||Certified pesticide applicators||20,000||25,000|
|Employee||Employees working in meat processing/slaughter facilities||1,800||1,900||Stable|
|Employee||Legal services plan sellers||6,000||7,500||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Agricultural brokers||43||43||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Contract milk haulers||21||21||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Cooperative associations representing licensed producers||7||7||Stable|
|Employer/ Business Owner||Dairy plant samplers||105||105||Stable|
|Agriculture and Food||Livestock producers, dealers, markets||80,109||81,867||Stable|
|Wholesale/Retail Trade||Petroleum dealers using measuring devices||4,852||4,852||Increase|
|Wholesale/Retail Trade||Retail food stores, markets, and shops||9,399||9,500||Increase|
|Non-Profit Agency (Boards/Foundations),||Permitted charitable gaming organizations||555||605||Stable|
|Department of General Services|
|Marine Resources Commission|
|Internal Agency Partners||Other programs and staff throughout the agency.|
|Local and State Economic Developers/Offices||Local agricultural economic development officers, Virginia Economic Development Partnership|
|Department of Conservation and Recreation||The organizations here are listed in the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan as support agencies for Emergency Support Function 11, Agriculture and Natural Resources.|
|Department of Corrections|
|Department of Environmental Quality|
|Department of Forestry|
|Department of Game and Inland Fisheries|
|Department of Health|
|Department of Social Services|
|Department of Transportation|
|Department of Virginia State Police|
|USDA||United States Department of Agriculture|
|Virginia Agribusiness Council||Organization representing agriculture and forest related businesses.|
|Virginia Cooperative Extension||Technical assistance providers for farmers.|
|Virginia Farm Bureau Federation||Organization representing farmers.|
|Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters|
|Virginia's Land Grant Universities||Universities providing production research. |
|• ||Enhance opportunities for the growth, profitability, diversity and continued viability of the Virginia agriculture industry.|
Promoting the growth, profitability, diversity and continued viability of Virginia’s agriculture industry provides opportunities for business advancement and economic development. Increasing the profitability of Virginia agriculture also provides an opportunity to protect and conserve our natural resources.
Economy: Be a national leader in the preservation and enhancement of our economy.
|» ||Increase the value of Virginia’s agricultural and forestry products in the international marketplace through marketing services provided to producers and processors.|
Provide services and administer marketing offices to expand international marketing of Virginia's agricultural and forestry products.
• Create and implement market development activities for a three-pronged approach to international markets: emerging, mature and unconventional. Activities will include hosting reverse trade missions that generate new export sales, participating in trade shows, and conducting buyer missions in emerging markets.
• Each overseas representative office will successfully introduce new products that result in repeat export sales. The product need only be new to that market from Virginia or from a Virginia exporter that has never sold into that market.
• Coordinate export promotional activities with the Virginia Marine Products Board primarily though Southern United States Trade Association funded activities, including participation in the Boston Seafood Show (International Show). All of the agency's overseas offices and representatives will assist with seafood promotional activities, including arranging buyers with the Virginia Marine Products Board and conducting overseas trade missions and exhibits.
• Use United States Department of Agriculture Cooperator funding to enhance international market development goals.
• Administer contracts with overseas agency representatives.
|» ||Attract new and support the expansion of existing agriculture and forestry processing/value-added facilities using Virginia-grown products.|
Implementation of the Governor's Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund.
• Continue outreach of Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to localities, economic development allies and potential business beneficiaries.
• Administer Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund grants/projects within established policies and procedures including summaries, return on investment calculations, and reporting requirements.
• Administer Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund Planning Grant program, in consultation with the Agency/Secretariat Review Committee, and establish documentation and audit procedures to ensure program’s compliance with statutory and administrative requirements.
|» ||Increase the value of Virginia agricultural products through official grading and inspection by the agency. |
Grading and inspection services increase the value of agricultural products and encourage a healthy marketplace by ensuring that quality standards are met.
• Provide audit services and training, related to the United States Department of Agriculture audit matrix, to Virginia’s agriculture industry.
• Meet clients’ requests for services by maintaining management and certified technical staff in five comprehensive commodity inspection programs (Poultry and Egg, Grain, Fruit and Vegetable, Peanut and Livestock).
• Provide continued education to producers, 4-H, and Future Farmers of America members regarding United States Department of Agriculture quality grades and their relationship to market and industry trends and demands.
• Assist in the development of exhibit material and participate in industry trade shows, conferences and field days.
|» ||Enhance the viability of Virginia agriculture by maintaining consistent market news programs to obtain current agricultural price information and market trends.|
Provides unbiased reliable information and market analysis on agricultural prices and market trends.
• Collect, analyze, and disseminate marketing information on livestock, grain, poultry, fruit, vegetables, peanuts, cotton, oilseeds, and hay using network reporting systems: internet, print, and broadcast media.
• Maintain United States Department of Agriculture certification and training of Livestock staff to collect and analyze livestock market information.
|» ||Improve the operations of individual commodity boards and expand multi-commodity marketing promotions.|
Assist commodity industry producers in seeking methods to better manage operations and risks, and ensure compliance with state regulations. Coordinate, integrate and target state and national commodity board programs in order to strengthen commodity marketing, research and education successes.
• Maintain and enhance working relationships with Virginia commodity boards to include multi-commodity promotions.
• Provide marketing and administrative support to 15 agricultural commodity boards to assist in accomplishing their programs, promotion, education and research.
|» ||Enhance the economic viability of agriculture and forestry products through the movement of products in the interstate and international marketplace.|
The successful export of Virginia agricultural and forestry products is dependent upon expedient and effective inspections and the timely issuance of Phytosanitary Certificates.
• Process phytosanitary certificates using United States Department of Agriculture’s electronic Phytosanitary Certificate Issuance and Tracking system.
|» ||Provide marketing services to Virginia’s agricultural and forestry producers and processors that will increase their products’ value in the domestic marketplace. |
Effective marketing programs will maintain and expand current markets for Virginia food, agricultural and forestry products in the domestic marketplace.
• Monitor, search and apply for additional grant funding primarily through United States Department of Agriculture programs, e.g., Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program, Specialty Crop Block Grant, Foreign Agricultural Service Cooperators, and others as announced.
• Develop, submit and implement projects for United States Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program as notifications are published.
• Continue to expand and enhance the agency's Marketing website to increase traffic and offer a more user-friendly format for all clients.
• Provide oversight on the policy and operation as well as marketing assistance for shipping point markets in the Virginia Farmers’ Market System.
• Continue and strengthen cooperation with Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and the Farm Service Agency/Virginia to expand the array and outreach of education programs.
• Create and implement market development activities that will increase usage of locally-produced farm products by restaurants to include tours for restaurant owners, operators, and chefs.
• Expand and enhance the growth and development of Virginia’s agritourism enterprises and initiatives through workshops, conferences, and one-on-one counseling.
• Expand and enhance the growth and development of retail farmers' markets in Virginia by maintaining and updating the operational manual for vendor farmers.
• Increase producer exposure to marketing options including cooperative marketing, organics, and farmers markets that have the potential of enhancing farm viability.
• Increase awareness of the quality and diversity of Virginia agricultural products through promotional activities, publicity, tradeshow participation and special events. This will include participating in consumer-related events under the Virginia Grown and Virginia’s Finest umbrella.
• Conduct trade calls and production area tours with prospective buyers, wholesalers, brokers and grocery chains, as well as respond to requests for marketing assistance from Virginia producers of food, agricultural and forestry products.
• Partner with appropriate state agencies (Department for the Aging and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Social Services and Department of Health) to expand federal food aid programs with retail farmers' markets through the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/Electronic Benefit Transfer.
• Provide continued assistance and management of the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association Beautiful Gardens plant introduction program for the purpose of providing Virginia producers with increased opportunities for the production and sale of plants grown in Virginia.
• Provide staff leadership and direction to the Farm-to-School program enhancing opportunities for Virginia grown and processed foods to be sold through schools and other educational institutions.
• Develop new contacts and maintain current customer contacts with cattle feedlot operators and buyers in Midwestern and Northern states and assure their continued level of information and participation in Virginia’s special graded feeder cattle livestock auctions.
• Increase small livestock producers’ exposure to and participation in cooperative marketing options by assisting new and existing local livestock marketing groups.
• Provide assistance to cattle producers and groups by targeting and expanding the growth and development of customized feeder cattle sales such as “Breed Influence," “Natural," “Health Program," and “Back Grounded” feeder cattle sales.
• Expand and improve electronic marketing and promotional opportunities for Virginia livestock by utilizing tools such as Tel-O-Auction and the Internet.
• Increase producer awareness of the meat industry through the Carcass Educational Seminars, buyer tours, feedlot data dissemination to buyers, trade show participation, and special events.
• Provide services that facilitate interstate and international movement of livestock and poultry such as monitoring and approving certificates of veterinary inspection and providing technical assistance to accredited veterinarians.
• Provide an outreach program to assist prospective and existing meat and poultry operations by providing technical information and continuing education.
|» ||Distribute all United States Department of Agriculture donated food to eligible recipient agencies in order to maximize the nutritional benefits for Virginia citizens.|
Provides for improved nutritional health and well being of the Commonwealth's school children; improved food security and nutrition assistance to needy citizens and economic benefits to agricultural producers, processors and distributors.
• Maintain working relationships with commercial distributors to enhance food distribution programs.
• Make trade calls to schools and institutions to increase the use of Virginia food products.
• Offer, allocate and distribute USDA-donated foods to eligible recipient agencies in order to enhance sales of Virginia products.
• Provide consistent support for expanding United States Department of Agriculture/Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program with public schools.
|» ||Increase the level of capital investment in agribusiness.|
Agribusiness development services.
• Market and promote Virginia as an exceptional site for development of agricultural business so as to support 20 companies in their decisions to locate, expand, or remain in the state over the biennium.
• Target for special development efforts those specific sectors of Virginia agriculture that show the best prospects for investment and employment growth.
• Target the tobacco producing areas as a priority for agribusiness development initiatives through the referral of three leads over the biennium.
• Target two specific commodity based sectors that are competitively challenged as a priority for value-added or high-value added initiatives over the biennium.
|» ||Increase the amount of permanently preserved working farms and forest land in Virginia.|
Assistance with the development of local farmland preservation programs and allocation of state purchase of development rights matching funds.
• Provide technical assistance to localities through the Office of Farmland Preservation in the development and implementation of farmland preservation programs and activities.
• Support the development of three additional (for a total of 25) local purchase of development rights programs.
• Allocate state matching funds to local purchase of development rights programs and explore alternative methods for allocating state matching Purchase of Development Rights funds more effectively.
• Conduct comprehensive outreach programs to educate farmers, Virginia Century Farm families, and the general public about farmland preservation options and tools.
• Coordinate efforts with allied organizations and agencies involved in land conservation.
• Explore ways to utilize the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill.
|» ||Increase the number of successful farm transitions from exiting farmers to beginning and active farmers.|
Assistance with the development and delivery of farm transition efforts.
• Enlist the assistance of allied organizations/programs (such as Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Outdoors Foundation and the Virginia Century Farm program) to recruit viable farmers/land owners to the Virginia Farm Link database.
• Add new functions to the Virginia Farm Link database and the Certified Farm Seeker program to better facilitate farm transitions.
• Increase the number of certified farm seekers from 10 to 65 through Memorandum of Agreement with Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.
• Fund, develop and deliver additional farm link workshops with Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and Virginia Cooperative Extension.
|• ||Enhance public health by ensuring the food supply is safe and wholesome.|
An integrated system of food safety inspection and testing is implemented to ensure that Virginia continues to have high food safety standards. These standards enable the public to enjoy quality, safe and wholesome food that enhances the well being of Virginia citizens, the environment and the economy. This goal aligns with the Council on Virginia's Future goals on health and family and public safety.
Health & Family: Inspire and support Virginians toward healthy lives and strong and resilient families.
|» ||Protect and enhance the safety of the milk supply for citizens of the Commonwealth. |
Inspect each Grade "A" dairy farm and each manufactured grade dairy farm a minimum of once each six months. Collect and test milk samples for each Grade "A" dairy farm and each manufactured dairy farm a minimum of four times in each six month period. Evaluate each milk hauler weighing and sampling milk at least every two years. Inspect every milk pick-up and milk transport tank once each year. Inspect each milk and dairy processing plant and frozen dessert plant at least once each three months. Inspect each retail dip shop and mobile unit at least once each six months.
• Evaluate a minimum of 80 percent of permitted milk haulers/samplers once every two years to comply with interstate milk requirements.
• Complete the process to amend the regulations governing Grade A milk by adopting the requirements contained in the 2013 Pasteurized Milk Ordinance by June 30, 2015.
• Inspect a minimum of 80 percent of permitted milk tank trucks each year to comply with Interstate Milk Shippers' requirements.
• Monitor dairy field activities to ensure that inspections, sampling, investigations, and educational efforts are structured to ensure that industry needs are addressed and public health is optimized.
|» ||Enhance food safety and security programs for citizens of the Commonwealth.|
Inspect food manufacturing, processing, storage and sales facilities for general sanitary conditions and practices and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Investigate consumer complaints relating to sanitation of food establishments and food products suspected of being adulterated or having caused food-borne illness. Evaluate food manufacturing, processing, storage and sales facilities to determine adequacy of food security focus and plans. Evaluate dietary supplements offered for sale in food establishments for safety, appropriate claims, and proper labeling. Collect food samples during inspections and visits for adulterants as well as proper labeling.
• Monitor food safety field activities to ensure that inspections, sampling, investigations, and educational efforts are structured to ensure that industry needs are addressed and public health is optimized.
• Maintain a food protection rapid response team that encompasses both the food and feed protection programs with the expertise and training to investigate foodborne illness outbreaks and other food and feed hazards or emergencies.
• Participate with the State Food Safety Task Force to enhance food safety and food defense.
• Complete the design, development and implementation of Phase II of the new database and inspection software system by June 30, 2015.
|» ||Ensure the continued supply of safe, wholesome, unadulterated, properly labeled and humanely processed meat and poultry products for Virginia consumers.|
To ensure the continued supply of safe, wholesome, unadulterated and properly labeled meat and poultry products for Virginia consumers by inspecting and providing technical expertise and advice to Virginia's Talmadge-Aiken plants, state inspected plants, and custom plants to maintain Virginia's "equal to" inspection program.
• Provide information on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, foreign animal disease, and sanitation requirements to approximately 133 custom exempt establishments in Virginia.
• Evaluate humane handling practices and provide assistance in meeting the standards in all Talmadge-Aiken, state and custom exempt slaughter facilities.
• Continue to develop and use management control system to assess and verify performance of the inspection program. Management control system, a federal requirement based on the Performance Based Information System, will have to be adapted to the Public Health Information System.
|» ||Strengthen food safety and food defense programs for citizens of the Commonwealth and promote uniformity with nationwide retail food regulatory programs. |
In an attempt to provide greater consistency among its state counterparts, the United States Food and Drug Administration is recommending that state based food regulatory programs adopt uniform standards that provide a unified regulatory foundation (Food Code) as well as provide inspection and investigation protocols designed to mitigate food borne illness risk factors.
• Complete the process necessary to adopt the 2013 Food and Drug Administration Food Code by June 30, 2015.
|• ||Provide agricultural and consumer protection services that support economic growth, meet consumer needs and encourage environmental stewardship.|
By providing agricultural and consumer protection services that support economic growth, meet consumer needs and encourage environmental stewardship, the department promotes a balanced and reasonable approach to regulations, which protects the public’s interest and supports economic growth.
Economy: Be a national leader in the preservation and enhancement of our economy.
|» ||Provide assistance to the Commissioner in administering the Agricultural Stewardship Act and in responding to requests for assistance and technical advice on other water quality issues.|
Providing assistance to the Commissioner in administering the Agricultural Stewardship Act through on-site inspections and technical assistance on water quality issues related to agricultural activities.
• Process Agricultural Stewardship Act complaints, ensuring that they are handled expeditiously and efficiently and in accordance with the Commissioner’s direction and state law.
• Increase the awareness of environmental stewardship among agricultural producers, local officials, and landowners by coordinating and participating in outreach efforts with federal, state, and local agencies.
• Represent the agency in working with federal and state agencies and industry stakeholders in addressing water quality issues related to the Chesapeake Bay and agriculture.
|» ||Promote the economic viability of Virginia’s agricultural and horticultural industries and resources and protect Virginia’s endangered and threatened plant and insect populations through inspections, certifications and compliance monitoring activities. |
The successful export of Virginia agricultural and forestry products is dependent upon expedient and effective inspections, and the timely issuance of Phytosanitary Certificates.
• Provide timely disease detection, accurate diagnosis, and effective disease control recommendations for the nursery industry.
• Provide timely detection, control and eradication services to prevent the introduction or slow the spread of exotic harmful plant pest species and noxious weeds.
• Pursue external funding for and collaborate on recovery and conservation projects for endangered and threatened plant and insect species.
• Provide timely inspections and certifications to support sustainable populations of Virginia grown ginseng.
• Promote healthy beehives and encourage wider use of pollinators by conducting inspections and educational site visits and through the administration of the Beehive Grant Program.
|» ||Support agriculture and provide consumer and environmental protection by seeking to ensure compliance with agricultural commodity laws and regulations. |
This service area inspects manufacturers and producers of agricultural commodities to ensure compliance with good manufacturing practices. This service area also samples and analyzes agricultural products for compliance with established standards and truth in labeling requirements.
• Provide timely registration and inspection services for animal feed, animal remedies, fertilizer, and liming materials.
• Continue priority response to consumer complaints.
• Meet the contractual obligation with the United States Food and Drug Administration for the number of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy surveillance inspections.
• Provide timely inspections of animal feed manufacturing facilities.
• Provide timely review and processing of applications submitted under the Certified Fertilizer Applicator program.
|» ||Provide effective consumer protection services through the timely registration of regulated entities and the thorough investigation of related complaints. |
Consumer spending is the primary driver of the economy. As such, it is of critical importance to ensure that complaints between regulated entities and consumers are resolved promptly and effectively in order to reduce the incidence of fraud, deception, and illegal practices in the marketplace.
• Continue priority response to consumer complaints.
• Provide timely registration of industries regulated by the program.
|» ||Protect the integrity and competitiveness of the Virginia grain industry through compliance with Virginia Grain Laws.|
The integrity and competitiveness of the Virginia grain industry will be maintained by monitoring for compliance with Virginia Grain Laws.
• Visit all Virginia grain handlers and dealers annually to ensure compliance of testing equipment and sampling procedures and results.
• Initiate within twenty-four hours all investigations on complaints from producers claiming nonpayment, fraud, deceit or negligence of a grain dealer or handler.
• Provide marketing and technical assistance to grain producers on an ongoing basis and provide information on current grain market quality demands.
• Review license applications of grain dealers to ensure their license renewal by December 31 of each year.
• Assist with the development of exhibit materials and participate in trade shows, conferences and field days.
|» ||Strengthen compliance with Virginia’s Comprehensive Animal Care Laws and promote humane care and treatment of animals.|
Strengthen compliance with Virginia’s Comprehensive Animal Care Laws, prevent cruelty to animals and promote humane care and treatment of animals by conducting at least one inspection of each of the public animal shelter facilities, monitoring Animal Control Officer training standards and providing local jurisdictions assistance in investigations concerning commercial dog breeding and animal fighting.
• Serve as a technical resource for local governments and other public and private partners in support of enforcement of the Comprehensive Animal Care Laws and related local ordinances.
• Facilitate compliance with Virginia’s Comprehensive Animal Care Laws and regulations in public and private animal shelters by inspection, consultation, and enforcement actions and by provision of humane animal euthanasia training.
• Cooperate with criminal justice academies and other animal control officer training providers to facilitate the development, availability and approval of basic and continuing training courses for Animal Control Officers.
• Work closely with localities to ensure data entry of dangerous dogs into the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry.
• Convene stakeholder groups to develop recommendations for potential enhancements or revisions to the Comprehensive Animal Care Laws and pursuant regulations, programs, and initiatives.
|» ||Protect and enhance the economic viability of Virginia's animal agriculture industries by providing accurate, timely and accountable testing services for diseases of economic and public health significance.|
The mission of the Animal Health Laboratory System is to provide quality diagnostic and regulatory testing of specimens from animals, raw foods and limited environmental origin to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost. These testing services provide assistance to producers, regulatory offices, and private veterinarians in diagnosing disease problems, are a vital link in the monitoring and surveillance for both animal and human diseases of regulatory concern (e.g. Brucellosis, Tuberculosis, Salmonella, E. coli), and provide certification of animals and their products necessary for interstate and international export.
• Add at least two new testing services each year.
• Research, and evaluate quality management software to aid in the documentation and continued establishment of a statewide quality management system for regional health animal laboratories.
• Expand the scope of OIE/ISO 17025 accreditation to include tests at all five regional health animal laboratories.
• Maintain National Animal Health Laboratory Network certification for the Harrisonburg Regional Animal Health Laboratory.
• Research and evaluate a process to electronically link automated laboratory equipment and the Laboratory Information Management System in each regional animal health laboratory.
• Operate the five regional animal health laboratories.
• Conduct at least one outreach event for producers and laboratory users per year at each regional animal health laboratory.
|» ||Promote the integrity of charitable gaming activities.|
This service area provides permitting functions for non-profit organizations that wish to conduct bingo games and raffles in the Commonwealth. The service area also registers bingo managers, bingo callers, and manufacturers and vendors of charitable gaming equipment and supplies. The service area conducts inspections of gaming venues, audits financial records, and investigates player complaints and suspected fraud.
• Conduct an audit or financial review of all permitted charitable gaming organizations once every three years.
• Conduct an annual compliance review of all permitted suppliers and manufacturers of distributed pull-tab systems.
• Provide for timely and accurate processing of all permit and registration applications received by the program.
• Conduct semi-annual inspections of the gaming operations of all charitable gaming organizations permitted to conduct bingo.
• Continue priority response to consumer complaints.
|» ||Maintain a system that supports an orderly state milk market to promote the production of a supply of competitively priced fluid milk that satisfies Virginia consumer demand.|
The provision of an adequate and constant supply of fluid milk products, a vital and healthy food source, to the citizens of the Commonwealth promotes public welfare and health.
• Communicate with producers/cooperatives and processors any audit findings requiring a financial adjustment and follow-up to ensure that audit adjustments are made. All completed audits will have findings communicated within 20 working days.
• Establish an adequate monthly supply of base milk production to processors to meet their processing requirements for fluid milk product sales in Virginia markets.
• Establish and communicate advanced monthly Virginia class producer prices by regulatory due dates to enable producers to make business decisions.
• Provide producers/cooperative associations and processors with requisite calculations of values of class utilization of producer deliveries by regulatory due dates in order to ensure timely billings and payments.
|» ||Enhance the protection of human health and the environment by promoting and seeking to ensure compliance with applicable pesticide laws and regulations. |
Enhance the protection of human health and the environment by promoting and seeking to ensure compliance with Virginia pesticide laws and regulations. The proper use of pesticides is essential to elimination or containment of pests that could cause disease and economic damage. Because of their inherent toxicity, pesticides must be handled in accordance with specific instructions that are printed on the labels and which must be observed. Non-compliance with applicable laws or label instructions could result in serious public and environmental health dangers, hence the need to continually strive to increase compliance.
• Collaborate with Virginia Cooperative Extension to ensure that pesticide applicator training manuals and certification examinations reflect current federal and state requirements.
• Continue to coordinate the pesticide disposal and pesticide container recycling programs.
• Continue to provide outreach to Virginians regarding the safe use of pesticides.
• Continue to provide priority response to complaints by initiating contact with complainant within 24 hours of receipt of complaint.
• Provide timely certification of pesticide applicators.
• Provide timely licensing of pesticide businesses.
• Inspect licensed pesticide businesses in accordance with a neutral-based inspection plan.
|» ||Ensure pesticide products offered for sale meet all applicable federal and state laws and regulations. |
Pesticides enable Virginia growers to produce agricultural products economically and to price them competitively. Staff will seek to ensure that the approval process for new pesticides is timely and that said pesticides are used in a safe manner.
• Conduct timely review and processing of (i) registrations for all applicable pesticide products, (ii) Federal insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Section 24(c) requests for Special Local Need pesticide product registrations, (iii) Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Section 18 requests for pesticide product emergency exemptions, and (iv) requests for pesticide product Experimental Use Permits.
|» ||Protect and enhance Virginia’s crop industries through the efficient and effective operation of the agency's Seed Laboratory.|
Perform analytical seed testing in support of mandated regulatory compliance activities, as well as independent testing services conducted for seed producers in Virginia.
• Provide timely and accurate analysis of all seed samples submitted to the agency's Seed Laboratory.
|» ||Protect and enhance the economic viability of Virginia’s animal agriculture industries through the prevention and management of foreign and emerging livestock and poultry diseases of economic and public health significance. |
Protect and promote Virginia's animal agriculture industries by conducting livestock market and sales inspections; reviewing and issuing animal health certificates; conducting investigations and tracebacks; issuing quarantines and eradication notices; maintaining Virginia's Tuberculosis, Brucellosis and Pseudorabies free status; and enforcing livestock and poultry regulations and entry requirements on a continuous basis.
• Train, certify or recertify staff through United States Department of Agriculture or other courses on Brucellosis, Tuberculosis, Pseudorabies, Scrapie, Avian Influenza, Foreign Animal Diseases, the Live Bird Marketing System, and Animal Disease Traceability as these courses and funding are made available.
• Coordinate with the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries on diseases of mutual concern in support of the “One Health” Initiative, in which it is recognized that many diseases affect both animals and humans.
• Continue training and information exchange for regional veterinary supervisors and selected staff by conducting quarterly regional meetings.
• Work to educate cattle, goat and sheep producers on the need for and the benefit of participation in the Virginia Voluntary Johne’s Disease Control and Prevention Program.
• Support the livestock industry by inspecting, monitoring, auditing and disinfecting livestock markets; assisting with animal disease traceability through the provision of official identification devices and data collection equipment; monitoring livestock dealers, records and registrations; maintaining the Cattle Brand Registration program; monitoring for humane handling of livestock at livestock markets; and ensuring compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
• Work to ensure compliance with state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to animal movement, animal transport, and disease control by inspecting or monitoring equine events, county and state fairs, shows, exhibitions, sales and other animal gatherings to the extent allowed by resources.
• Coordinate efforts with state agencies and localities to enhance compliance with regulations pertaining to interstate movement of animals.
• Participate in all state and federal programs and ensure compliance with all federal and state laws and regulations to maintain Virginia’s United States Department of Agriculture designated Tuberculosis-free, Brucellosis-free and Pseudorabies-free status.
• Support Virginia’s poultry industry and reduce the potential for highly contagious poultry diseases by monitoring, testing and auditing the commercial and non-commercial poultry flocks in the state; participating in the National Poultry Improvement Plan; issuing importation approval numbers and monitoring the importation of hatching eggs and poultry into the state; and inspecting feed and farm stores for the presence and sale of poultry.
• Work to prevent the incursion of Contagious Equine Metritis by inspecting quarantine facilities, monitoring testing for the causative organism, and monitoring quarantines placed on horses imported into Virginia from countries known to have Contagious Equine Metritis.
• Promote programs and work to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and regulations that help control diseases of economic concern to Virginia’s animal agriculture such as Scrapie, Johne’s Disease, Neurological Equine Herpes Virus-1, Equine Infectious Anemia, Avian Influenza, Pullorum, and other infectious or contagious diseases as they may occur.
• Monitor all Certificates of Veterinary Inspection; conduct investigations into violations of state import regulations; and monitor, approve and conduct investigations into violations of the issuance of Certificates of Veterinary Inspection.
• Conduct the orientation training for private practitioners to be approved to perform United States Department of Agriculture accredited duties in Virginia including regulatory animal disease testing and to issue Certificates of Veterinary Inspection.
• Work to facilitate private practice veterinarians to provide services such as the provision of Certificates of Veterinary Inspection at livestock markets and consignment sales.
• Conduct animal health and drug residue violation investigations as authorized by state and federal laws and regulations.
• Approve and monitor the use of veterinary biologicals and veterinary vaccines in Virginia.
• Work with Information Systems to research and evaluate an electronic system for animal importation.
• Initiate the Secure Milk Supply Program for interested producers, haulers, and processing plants, which is a continuity of business plan that will allow participants to ship non-infected raw milk to processing plants within disease management areas in the event of a foreign animal disease.
|» ||Ensure that quality motor fuel products are available to the public.|
The inspection and testing program is designed to protect the consumer and end user of petroleum products against inferior quality products from entering the market.
• Continue priority response to consumer complaints.
• Provide timely registration of motor fuel products.
• Conduct systematic sampling and analysis of motor fuel products offered for sale to the public.
|» ||Promote equity and consumer confidence in the marketplace through periodic calibration, testing, and inspection of weighing and measuring devices. |
Staff conducts inspections statewide involving devices used in industrial weighing, packaging and direct sales transactions. Periodic testing activities involve the inspection of petroleum dispensers, fuel oil trucks, retail computing scales, vehicle scales, livestock weighing scales, and others.
• Collaborate with service agencies to ensure service agency technicians comply with applicable statutes and regulations.
• Continue priority response to consumer complaints.
• Ensure that the Metrology Laboratory maintains accreditation by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program.
• Ensure that service agencies submit their weighing and measuring standards to the agency's Metrology Laboratory for verification and calibration in accordance with the schedule established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
• Inspect weighing and measuring devices in accordance with an inspection strategy that is based on device type and available resources.
• Provide timely registration of service agencies and service agency technicians.
|• ||Enhance Agency services and productivity through efficient work process and procedures, technology, e-government applications, and training.|
Through the integration and maintenance of new technology and e-government applications, streamlined work processes and procedures, and training, the department is able to operate more efficiently and enhance service levels both internally and externally, while making the most prudent use of tax dollars.
Government and Citizens: Be recognized as the best-managed state in the nation.
|• ||Enhance Virginia's ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from agricultural infestations, animal disease events, foodborne illness outbreaks and other natural and man made disasters.|
By instituting measures that improve our emergency response capacity, the department is able to help minimize the impact to citizens and reduce economic losses to Virginia businesses. Providing services that help to protect public safety and security will improve the quality of life for all Virginians. This goal aligns with the public safety and economic goals of the Council on Virginia’s Future.
Public Safety: Protect the public’s safety and security, ensuring a fair and effective system of justice and providing a prepared response to emergencies and disasters of all kinds.
|» ||Facilitate the prevention and management of foreign and emerging livestock and poultry diseases of economic and public health significance.|
Prevent and manage foreign and emerging livestock and poultry diseases by being proactive, as well as maintaining ongoing activities to assure that animal diseases are not introduced into the Commonwealth that could have a negative economic impact. Plans must be in place to minimize the economic impact of an introduced disease or natural disasters that may occur.
• Continue to work with various sectors in the livestock industry to develop and implement an effective animal disease traceability program in Virginia, contingent on funding for such a program.
• Continue to review and improve the Highly Contagious Livestock and Poultry Disease Emergency Operations Plan and the Avian Influenza Rapid Response Plan and to exercise strategic portions of the plans, contingent on available personnel.
• Continue work to revise the regulations for livestock markets and livestock dealers to ensure effective animal disease traceability.
• Continue to examine animals with pathologic conditions found at inspected slaughter plants so that reportable diseases can be identified.
• Ensure that staff veterinarians are trained through the United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostician Course and related continuing education courses as available.
• Participate in the Virginia Poultry Disease Task Force, the Delmarva Poultry Industry Emergency Disease Task Force and seek to maintain a strong working relationship with poultry producers throughout Virginia.
|» ||Act in the interest of the citizens of the Commonwealth and its infrastructure during emergency situations.|
It is critically important that staff be prepared to carry out assigned emergency responsibilities. Training and exercises enhance staff's ability to execute emergency response plans.
• Emergency Policies and Procedures and the Continuity of Operations Plan will be reviewed/updated annually and State Wide Alert Network semi-annually.
• Conduct a training session, a test or an exercise of a component of the Continuity of Operations Plan at least once annually.
• Coordinate with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Social Services, and other partners to meet the needs of individuals with household pets or service animals during a disaster.
• Coordinate with stakeholders to encourage the development of local animal emergency response capabilities.
|» ||Provide timely response to plant health emergencies.|
This service area, in conjunction with other state and federal agencies, effectively works to mitigate the impact of plant health emergencies that result from the natural, accidental or intentional introduction of plant pests or diseases that would have an adverse impact on Virginia's agricultural, horticultural, and forest communities.
• The Office of Plant Industry Services will maintain the Plant Pest Emergency Response Plan.
• The Office of Plant Industry Services will pursue external funding that will enhance its ability to respond to plant health emergencies.
VDACS products and services fall within six categories:
Promoting Virginia Agriculture – Agricultural marketing and promotion (domestic and international), agricultural business development and growth, farmland preservation and fostering the next generation of farmers, and assisting commodity boards.
Assuring food safety and quality – Inspection of meat, poultry, food and dairy operations to protect public health and ensure consumer confidence.
Assuring animal health and care – Protecting the economic viability of livestock and poultry industries, disease control and surveillance, animal health diagnostic laboratories, evaluation of shelters, training of animal care organizations, animal medication and remedies regulation, and commercial animal feed regulation.
Assuring crop and plant health and productivity – Inspection and prevention of the spread of plant pests and diseases in nursery stock and crops, fertilizer and soil products regulation, seed and plant propagation inspection and regulation, and apiary inspection and regulation.
Protecting public health and Virginia’s environment – Pesticide use and storage, endangered plant and insect protection, agricultural stewardship and food safety.
Ensuring fair trade practices in commerce – motor fuels labeling and preventing adulteration, weights and measures regulation, commodity grading and standards, regulation of certain consumer transactions, charitable solicitations and charitable gaming regulation, and milk marketing regulation.
The department is achieving its mission within the parameters of the resources that are available. The department has been able to achieve this service level by streamlining the organization, reducing levels of supervision, utilizing technology, partnering with industry and consumer groups, pursuing and obtaining federal grant resources, and the outstanding productivity of a highly skilled, dedicated, and experienced workforce.
The department has increased the promotion of Virginia's agriculture internationally, and a presence is established through market representation contracts in Canada, India, China, Latin America, and the European Union. This facilitates interactions between Virginia's producers and international buyers for commodities, specialty foods and wine, and wood products.
In 2012 General Assembly authorized the Governor's Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to attract economic development projects involving agriculture and forestry operations to locate in Virginia. The fund is an important tool in growing the Commonwealth’s agriculture and forestry sector and helping to make Virginia a leading exporter of agricultural and forest products.
Significant performance indicators are listed below, including those designated as key measures (indicated by an asterisk).
|Authorized Maximum Employment Level (MEL)|| ||526|
|Wage Employees|| ||100|
|Contracted Employees|| ||14|
The limited staff and funding resources available are a key risk for VDACS. Changes in Virginia agriculture, animal health responsibilities, information technology security issues, and the increase in consumer protection demands severely challenge the department. Staffing and resource limitations are forcing the agency to be selective in setting priorities and objectives. International marketing, farmland preservation, niche and specialty crop marketing and small farmer assistance, animal disease, plant disease and pests, and food safety remain priorities. Other program areas and issues may not be served or services may be limited, if resources are not available to support them.
Another key risk is that of disasters, both natural and man-made. The threats of animal disease, plant diseases and pests, and food contamination or food borne illnesses have been amplified by the global economy. The opportunities for the spread of diseases, pests, and terrorism have increased worldwide because of travel and international movement of people, commodities, food, and animals.
Factors affecting the department's workforce also pose a risk. With retirements there is a loss of institutional knowledge and "transition speed bumps" as new employees assume duties. Limitations on filling vacant positions may lead to low employee morale, lack of needed skill sets, and difficulty producing quality when quantity is demanded.
In addition, the department is threatened by federal budget uncertainty. The pervasive loss of public confidence in government and anti-regulatory sentiments may also create changes in the department’s approach to program delivery.
General Information About Ongoing Status of Agency
VDACS is providing increased services with fewer resources than in the past as a result of increased productivity. The agency serves more customers with fewer employees and less funding than were available ten to twenty years ago. For example, the maximum employment level decreased by 24 percent (from 701 positions in 1991 to 526 today). The department has maintained a strong customer service focus, and we benefit from good working relationships with industry, agricultural interest groups, universities, and state and local government agencies.
One of the challenges the agency faces is integrating new technologies in customer interaction. There is a focus on offering service delivery through the internet to customers, and providing opportunities for transactions such as registrations and fee payments over the web. However, with limited resources available for this initiative, implementation has been difficult.
A continuing demand for streamlined services from constituents; an increasing requirement for compliance with central agency standards, policies and procedures; and minimal funding and staffing resources hinder the agency’s ability to move forward with information technology initiatives. The Commonwealth of Virginia Security Standards, Governmental Accounting Standards Board Pronouncement 51, audit requirements, budget reductions, data standards, and other central agency requirements have stretched information technology resources. The infrastructure partnership requires management of their activities by existing agency staff, again adding to the time constraints.
The department is working on a number of information technology solutions, such as increasing technology capabilities, providing services on-line through the web portal, and updating legacy mainframe applications. The department has almost 100 agency-specific computer applications.
Estimate of Technology Funding Needs
The department is facing the challenge of losing many of our long-tenured staff to retirement. Currently, 16.7 percent of employees are eligible to retire and an additional 16.7 percent will be eligible within the next five years, which is one-third of the workforce. Additionally, many of our wage employees are former retirees who may not choose to continue working. This will result in a great loss of institutional knowledge, skills and experience. The average age of VDACS employees was 49 as of March 1, 2014. Approximately 234 of 440 employees are age 50 and over, and approximately 103 employees have over 25 years of state service.
With an anticipated increase in turnover due to retirements, the department continues to explore avenues to improve staff retention. Job satisfaction involves many factors; however, VDACS' ability to attract, recruit, and retain a qualified workforce is adversely impacted by agency salaries that are not competitive and changes in fringe benefits. In most cases, salaries are not market competitive when compared to the private sector, federal government, and local governments. The lack of funding for the performance management system and salary increases has an impact on employee morale and our ability to retain younger workers.
Additionally, funding to support employee training is limited. In many cases, this is negatively impacting employees' ability to maintain required certifications and improve job skills.
The department operates and maintains 307,450 square feet at 18 facilities, ranging from small office buildings to complex laboratories to large wholesale farmers market facilities. The facilities are located statewide, from Warrenton to Wytheville to Onley (on the Eastern Shore of Virginia). The facilities include a network of regional animal health laboratories, regional office buildings, farmers markets, and a seafood processing facility. The farmers markets and seafood processing facility are operated through contracts with local grower associations. In addition, the department leases space at other locations for smaller offices and storage.
Like many other aspects of agency operations, funding for facility maintenance has been limited in recent years. Also, as new facilities have come on-line, additional operating support has not been provided. A number of improvements, such as upgrading the controls systems, are being undertaken to extend the usefulness of the buildings.