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Bring back ag forestal districts, says Farm Bureau

SoVaNow.com / September 26, 2013
The Halifax County Farm Bureau called for the resumption of ag forestal districts at its annual banquet meeting held Tuesday night in the Halifax County High School cafeteria.

A large contingent of Farm Bureau members turned out for the meeting, which produced seven policy recommendations.

Locally, the farm organizations wants the Board of Supervisors to reverse course and reinstate the application process for inclusion of farms and timberland in Agriculture and Forestry Districts (AFD). Land included in an AFD is assessed at use value, not open market value.

Supervisors last year suspended the policy, citing the loss of tax revenue amid tight budgetary times.

Halifax County Farm Bureau also approved resolutions calling for other tax changes. The group favors permanent elimination of the estate tax and opposes imposition of capital gains taxes. Until the capital gains tax is repealed, Farm Bureau supports cutting the tax rate; indexing capital gains to inflation; excluding the sale of agricultural land that remains in production; excluding payments for farm land preservation easements; and granting development rights and an exclusion for the transfer of a business, including farms, between parents and children.

The group also supports being able to defer taxes on the sale of property and machinery by investing the proceeds into a retirement account, with taxes due at withdrawal; also, eliminating the $3,000 limit on capital losses and an exclusion for land taken through threat of or by eminent domain.

The first resolution approved by the group expresses opposition to lifting the ban on uranium mining or milling in the state of Virginia.

A follow-up resolution calls for protection for farms and agribusinesses should the moratorium be lifted.

That resolution further asks that should the moratorium be lifted or regulations developed for mining and milling, producers should have a voice in developing those regulations. Furthermore, the Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and a representative from the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation should be appointed to any board or commission responsible for developing such regulations.

Any regulations that may be developed must provide protection for the agricultural industry, Halifax County Farm Bureau declared, and farmers should be compensated for damages incurred due to any result of mining or milling activity. A process should be set forth for a farmer to follow in seeking compensation, clearly defined and economically feasible to pursue.

Another resolution opposes changes like the proposed open-visa and three tier pay scale to the H2A program. The program furnishes guest workers for tobacco and other crops throughout an entire growing season.

“We believe they should all be paid the same, “said Farm Bureau president Scott Crowder, referring to the program’s pay scales.

Farm Bureau also opposes any introduction or reintroduction into the state of any plant, insect or animal species that adversely affects agricultural enterprises. The board supports the population control of wildlife and predatory birds by whatever means necessary in order to lessen damage to crops, livestock and personal property.

Members also requested that Farm Bureau work to design or modify its insurance products and services in a way that will allow coverage to be offered to young farmers and beginning farmers who are trying to get established in farming.

Local members oppose recent changes made to the state’s motor vehicle inspection regulations, which they feel place undue costs and burdens on shops and facilities providing inspection services.

Three long term board members were awarded special recognitions for their service on the board including Thomas Burton who has served 27 years as a director and also holding various offices including being president, Tom West who has served 22 years on the board and Bruce Pearce, who not only served on the board for a number of years, but who also worked with the Soil and Conservation District for 34 years before retiring.

Elected to serve for another year were president Scott Crowder, vice president Chad Francis and secretary/treasurer John Voss.

During the meeting members heard from the two candidates, Mike Freshour and Tracy Quackenbush Martin, seeking election or re-election as Halifax County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney. Members were also invited to attend the Candidates Forums, sponsored by the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce and the Farm Bureau which will be held in ED-2, ED-3, ED-6 and the Town of South Boston during October.



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Comments

Kind of ironic that these people want the government out of eminent domain, but they want to tell the uranium folks that they should keep a moratorium on the use of the land with uranium on it. I am ashamed to say that I used to be a member of this backward organization. Shame on you looser's!


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