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Retired State Sen. Frank M. Ruff Jr. honored with Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award

Former Sen. Frank M. Ruff Jr. , who served in the General Assembly for 30 years, recently was honored with the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award by Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. The award was presented to Ruff during a private event with his family on March 26.

Ruff had a long track record of supporting the state’s No. 1 industry and historically sought to understand the unique needs of the farming population, VFBF said in a news release announcing the presentation to Ruff.

He served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1994 until 2000, when he was elected to the Virginia Senate. He retired from the Senate in December, 2023.Ruff held seats on key committees in the Virginia General Assembly that influenced policy impacting farmers, including the Agriculture, Appropriations, and General Laws & Technology committees. He also chaired the Virginia Tobacco Region and Revitalization Commission and the Center for Rural Virginia board of trustees.

“You were there to support tobacco farmers during one of the most challenging times, when the Master Settlement Agreement was signed, leaving tobacco farmers without a seat at the table,” VFBF board member William F. Osl noted as he presented the award to Ruff. “You were part of the group of legislators who stood by them by including indemnification payments to compensate farmers and quota holders for the loss of tobacco quota, and ensuring monies were there to help revitalize the economies in those impacted rural communities.”

Martha Moore, VFBF senior vice president of governmental relations, added that Farm Bureau is grateful for Ruff’s 100 per cent voting record with Virginia Farm Bureau Federation AgPAC for the last decade, “and we are pleased that he continues to be a true advocate for farmers. Without his leadership and seniority, Virginia Farm Bureau would not have been as successful on numerous critical issues.”

In the last few years, Ruff introduced budget amendments to provide funding for FFA, the Center for Rural Virginia, the Wildlife Damage Cooperative Fund, the Forest Sustainability Fund, soil and water conservation districts, Virginia Cooperative Extension and the state’s agricultural best management practices cost-share program.

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