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Farm Bureau ambasssador speaks at gathering

South Boston News
Scott Crowder, president of the Halifax County Farm Bureau, welcomed William Lloyd, the 2010 Farm Bureau Ambassador and Wayne Pryor, president of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation to the annual meeting, held at the Bright Leaf Forum. (SOMcL photo) / October 12, 2010
Halifax County Farm Bureau members on Thursday evening welcomed William Lloyd of Abingdon to their annual meeting held at the Bright Leaf Forum on Seymour Drive.

The 19 year old Lloyd, who is entering King College in Bristol this fall, is the 2010 Farm Bureau Ambassador. His position allows him to promote farm activities and industry and make speeches at Youth Day sessions as well as at legislative meetings. “I’ve traveled some 11,000 miles and lost count of the number of speeches I have made,” Lloyd said. Before being named as the Bureau’s Youth Ambassador, he was named the Young Agriculturist in 2008.

Lloyd said he has grown up on a farm, primarily a beef cattle operation with over 120 cow-calf pairs. His family also raises burley tobacco with their production now down to some three acres, although in years past the family has raised as many as 15 acres of burley. He says they now have a contract, just as most producers do, with Phillip Morris.

Lloyd, who receives money to cover all his travel expenses, as well as $3,000 in scholarship money, says he has enjoyed the job which extends from March of 2010 to March of 2011.

“I have enjoyed meeting the people I have encountered,” he says, noting that he is particularly looking forward to the annual Farm Bureau meeting which will be held at the Homestead in November where he will be making a presentation during Family Night.

Also attending the Thursday meeting of the local Farm Bureau was Wayne Pryor, President of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. Pryor stressed the priorities that his organization is focusing on this year, namely the efforts at cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay area. Pryor says the Bureau is stressing the need for the state to follow the regulations that already exist and to not expand federal oversight. He noted that state farmers have already taken steps to protect water quality voluntarily and opposes more federal oversight.

Another issue that Pryor is concerned about and one that Farm Bureau members are worried about is the estate tax, from which he wants a $5 billion exemption. Pryor said members are being urged to write their elected representatives by December protesting a return to the $1 billion exemption and a rate of 55 percent. Pryor said he hopes the exemption will be raised to $3.5 billion with a tax rate of 45 percent above that level.

Pryor also said a major concern is the state budget and the cuts to local school systems. He also worries that the economy could affect the state tax revenues that have enabled the agricultural community to take advantage of land use taxation and Agricultural/Forestal tax district incentives.

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