February 8, 2023
St. Thomas, USVI – Today is a new start of possibilities for the agricultural industry in the U.S. Virgin Islands with the enactment of Bill No. 35-0003, Act No. 8700 sponsored by Senator Donna A. Frett-Gregory which provides $2.2 million dollars in funding for the implementation of the Territorial Agriculture Plan. The Territorial Agriculture plan was developed by the Department of Agriculture and the University of the Virgin Islands pursuant to Bill No. 33-0376, now Act No. 8404 also sponsored by Senator Donna A. Frett-Gregory. The Territorial Agriculture Plan delivered to the 34th Legislature in December of 2021 identified eight mandates that are critical to moving the agricultural industry in the territory forward.
“Unlike many plans developed in the Virgin Islands, I did not want to see this plan sit on the shelf and collect dust,” stated Frett-Gregory, “so I immediately got to work finding ways to fund the plan.” Act No. 8700 funds portions of the Territorial Agriculture Plan to include the Agricultural Business Center that will afford local farmers opportunities for assistance; it also funds the Public Private Investment Fund and the Farmer’s Grant Matching Fund.
“The passage of this measure has been a long time coming and is a step in the right direction for the agricultural industry in the territory. It also demonstrates to our federal partners that we are serious about developing the agricultural industry. It is time we put our money where our mouth is when it comes to agriculture. The pandemic showed us the importance of food security and sovereignty,” stated Frett-Gregory. “It is now up to those responsible for implementation to get to work.”
“As the Chair of the Committee on Budget, Appropriations and Finance and a member of the Committee on Economic Development and Agriculture, I am committed to keeping this plan at the forefront of our agenda in the 35th Legislature and seeing it through to full implementation in the future,” concluded Frett-Gregory.
Office of Senate President Donna A. Frett-Gregory