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Halifax County Farm Bureau adds voice to anti-uranium chorus

South Boston News
The Halifax County Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors are, from left, first row, Charles Fears and Thomas Burton, Susan Simonson, Woman’s Committee Chair, and Scott Crowder, President. Second row, Bruce Pearce, and Billy Arrington, board members, Chad Francis, vice president, John Voss, secretary/treasurer, Tom West and Jay Reese, all board members. Not pictured are directors Billy Wooding, Jimmy Anderson and Bill Abbott.
SoVaNow.com / September 27, 2012
The Halifax County Farm Bureau went on record Tuesday evening with a resolution stating its opposition to uranium mining in the state of Virginia.

The resolution read: “We support the continuation of the current moratorium on the mining and/or milling of uranium in the state of Virginia. We believe farms and agri-interest should be protected and be adequately compensated if and when they are adversely affected.”

Bureau President Scott Crowder said the group’s opposition to uranium mining was based on a number of factors: “While we believe that uranium may be mined safely, we feel there is a stigma attached to having a uranium mine in our community. We are afraid it will adversely affect our agricultural products and should there be a catastrophic accident affecting our water or land, it would be great.

“Once such a thing happens, it’s done — there’s no going back. The risk is just too great.”

During the annual Farm Bureau dinner meeting, held at the Bright Leaf Forum, some 500 participants — including members, family, and friends — also approved a resolution stating their opposition to any attempts to regulate the use of any wood burning appliances as a source of heat or utility. “This includes wood stoves, fireplaces, outdoor wood furnaces or any appliance used to generate heat that produces smoke,” according to the resolution.

The group expressed support for a temporary foreign worker program that pays the average prevailing wage rate for foreign temporary workers, in a particular agriculture or forestry occupation and region, when wages required by law are in excess of the minimum prescribed in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Members also called for ceasing the referrals of workers once the U.S. Department of Labor certifies the employer to utilize the H-2A workers. Arbitrary surcharges above actual worker travel cost should not be allowed. Finally, transportation costs and other expenses for foreign temporary workers should be deferred until after 50 percent of the contract period is complete, the resolution stated.

A fourth resolution which was approved called for permanent elimination of the estate tax.

Members also voted to support the current American Farm Bureau policy of opposing any tax on capital gains. “Until the capital gains tax is repealed, we support cutting the tax rate on capital gains, indexing capital gains to inflation; an exclusion for the sale of agricultural land that remains in production and an exclusion for payments for farm land preservation easements and development rights,” the resolutio read.

Members also supported a tax exclusion for the transfer of a business, including farms between parent and children, and want to allow a taxpayer to defer taxes from the sale of property and machinery by investing the proceeds into a retirement account with taxes due at withdrawal. They also supported the elimination of the $3000 limit on capital losses and an exclusion for land taken through threat of/or eminent domain.

Their final resolution touched on a local issue, asking that the Halifax County Board of Supervisors immediately resume the application process for Agricultural and Forestal Districts in the county. The Board cancelled the application process for new special tax use districts last year, citing the cost to the budget during current tight economy times.

Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt was a guest speaker at the annual meeting. He told listeners he is honored to represent their interests in Congress as congressman for the sprawling district, which extends from the North Carolina border to the outer reaches of the suburban D.C. area. Hurt also said he is working hard to make things easier for farmers and small business owners.

Hurt added that he is working to ensure that the Farm Bill is passed by the House of Representatives this year. The agriculture bill has been approved by the Senate and cleared House committee on a bipartisan vote, but it has languished on the House floor.

The Halifax County Farm Bureau elected officers for the coming year: Scott Crowder was re-elected as president, Chad Francis as vice-president and John Voss as secretary treasurer.

The crowd gave a standing ovation for retiring Marilyn Nichols, Member Service Specialist, who is retiring after 54-plus years of service to the organization. Rebekah Slabach, elected in June as vice-president of the state FFA chapter, was also recognized.


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Comments

Weird, I thought Farm Bureau was in favor of the referendum on the ballot favoring property rights? Apparently Mr. Cole with his land does not qualify? I am extremely disappointed as a member of Farm Bureau for over 30 years that they chose this path. I am considering changing my insurance and dropping my 30 year membership as are other farmers I have talked too. Farm Bureau siding with Jack "Chicken Little" Dunavant and the sky is falling mentality is weird.
Good luck Farm Bureau, you have disappointed a large number of your membership in Halifax County. Thanks. Oh and I guess we need to vote AGAINST private property rights in November!

Comments

The problem is that it is not private. Falls under chemical drift. It would end up in the air, water, and on the crops we eat. Would be terrible for farmers and everyone else.

Comments

Private BJ??? With the EPA, DEQ, NRCS, USDA, and I don't know how many more state and federal agencies involved with numerous regulations, PRIVATE. What about the spray drift from tobacco farmers, the dust drift from grain farmers and many more that are sparsely regulated? Wow, Private!

Comments

Go to http://www.radiation.org and look at the Tooth Fairy Project. I sent my grandson's baby teeth in because this area was having very high brain tumor rates in children. Our childrens teeth came back high in strontium 90. Some parents thought the tumors were due to all the pesticides used in our area and others thought it was the Nuke plant. You will never get a straight answer from the chemical industry or the government. You can sue your farmer if pesticide drifts, see the August issue of Our Toxic Times, http://www.ciin.org. And a lot of work has been done over the years via http://www.beyondpesticides.org. These groups are good at organizing. And the public can be involved in pesticide regulations, http://www.epa.gov/pesticides under public involvement. This is all about money and politics. One does have to be careful when dealing with these large corporations. But nothing is worse for a parent than watching their small child slowly die. Good night.

Comments

Maybe the farmer pesticide project should be the next on the Halifax County Farm Bureau to do list. Sounds like they have more problems in this county without going outside to fight uranium. Wonder where the county politicians stand on farmers and chemicals?


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