New Agriculture Tourism Bill

By: Mary Pulley Email
By: Mary Pulley Email

Delegate Matt Lohr has plans for a new bill that would create a state director of agricultural tourism in the hope of bringing more visitors to the Commonwealth.

The cost of Lohr's request is $80,000, and some Republicans are unhappy with plans showing from where the money would have to come.

Lohr says agriculture is the number one industry across Virginia and says this new position will help advertise to tourists what the state has to offer.

"Pumpkin patches, bed and breakfast, wineries, corn mazes, hay rides, all of those things that will allow people to come to a farm, and to experience a little about agriculture," says Lohr.

Opponents to the bill say it could potentially mean money out of taxpayer pockets.

"In general, when you increase spending and new programs, new positions, essentially the pressure builds to raise taxes and that's what we want to avoid," says Senator Brandon Bell.

Bell suggests Lohr should find a way to make the position a non-government position instead of a government one.

"It should, preferably, be a non-government entity, that is an association or cooperative, that got together and said lets pull our resources together to promote this," says Bell.

Lohr is calling the bill an investment and says it has the potential to pay for itself with some extra left over.

"I think it makes sense. That if you spend $85,000 to get $250,000 in return, then that's a good investment for your money," says Lohr.

Lohr says he's putting the bill before the General Assembly next week when the session starts. The position would take effect in july.


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