Governor Albert Bryan on Sunday announced former St. Croix former Senator Positive T.A. Nelson as his commissioner-nominee for the Department of Agriculture, Government House made known via release.
Government House described Mr. Nelson as a longtime educator and former seven-term senator for the district of St. Croix, and the sponsor of the Agriculture in the Classroom Act. The former lawmaker was also instrumental in the passage of the Sustainable Agriculture Act, the release said. Of course, Mr. Nelson is the chief sponsor of a bill recently signed into law by Mr. Bryan that legalized medicinal marijuana in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“I am excited to announce former Senator Positive Nelson as Commissioner Nominee to the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture. Former Senator Nelson, as a life long educator and longtime advocate for farmers, will bring a new approach to the Department,” Mr. Bryan said.
He added, “I am certain his relentless spirit and passion for teaching, coupled with his advocacy and legislative history will cultivate a new generation of Farmers who will transform our Agriculture Industry to become a key driver of our territory’s economy.”
As commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Mr. Nelson will focus his key initiatives around developing the Virgin Islands’ Agricultural Industry and creating a ready market for local foods and value-added products, Government House said.
“I will endeavor to build the Virgin Islands Agriculture Industry to a point where we recognize food production as a matter of national security, good health, and economic opportunity. I have a vision of an Agricultural Depot which will create a ready market, processing, storage, and wholesale/retail outlets. This, I believe, will incentivize growth, consistency, and availability of local produce, meats, and value-added products,” Mr. Nelson said.
He added, “I commit to bringing the VI Department of Agriculture up to the twenty-first century. A fresh source of food is equivalent to healthy living. I am, again, humbled but excited at being able to participate in this dawning of a new day.”
Government House said as commissioner, Mr. Nelson intends to also focus on employee morale, food production, water restoration, market distribution and educating the next generation of farmers, as some of his immediate priorities.
The former senator also said he would also focus on restoration of indigenous plants and forestry, according to the release.