Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Boneta Bill Supporters Threaten Farm Bureau Boycott

Patricia Evans sent this e-mail, parts of which were written by Mark Fitzgibbons and Donna Holt. Because we're all busy with the Bill Reading Marathon, and because these people have donated their good work to this site in the past, I've taken the liberty of posting this article, editing format only:

"The Virginia Farm Bureau is opposing HB1430 The Right To Farm Act amendment. ("The Boneta Bill") Small farmers are leaving the Farm Bureau in response. We need farmers and those who support them on the phone calling their legislators and their local Farm Bureau representatives.The Virginia Farm Bureau email: Phone Number, Main Office in Richmond: 804-290-1000

Boneta Bill Supporters Begin Boycott of Farm Bureau: Virginians Standing up for Property Rights

Paris, VA – Property rights activist, constitutional lawyer and an organizer of the August 2012 Pitchfork Protest in Warrenton, Virginia, Mark Fitzgibbons issued the following statement today:

“Small farmers are leaving Farm Bureau in response to its Virginia division’s opposition to H.B. 1430, the Boneta Bill, introduced and championed by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter of Woodbridge, Virginia.

“The Boneta Bill is named after Martha Boneta, the Paris, Virginia farmer who gained national attention in 2012 with the ‘Pitchfork Protest’ on her behalf. She was charged and threatened with fines up to $5,000 per violation by Fauquier County for hosting a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls without a permit, and selling her produce, homemade pies, farm crafts and wool products even though she had a business license. The bill amends Virginia’s Right to Farm Act (VRFA) by clarifying its protections of traditional farming commerce, expressly protecting constitutional rights on farm land, and providing remedies for violations of the VRFA.

“It is the height of political arrogance for Virginia Farm Bureau to oppose the bill for the reason that they did not ‘bless’ it before it was introduced. Virginia Farm Bureau wrote the VRFA that failed to protect the commerce of small farmers, which pays Farm Bureau’s insurance premiums, and failed to include remedies for violations. Farm Bureau’s legislative failures have abandoned Martha Boneta and all small farmers, leading to economic hardship for small family farms.

“This notion that special interests must control the introduction of legislation offends all Americans. But the hypocrisy of Farm Bureau’s opposing the constitutional, property and long-held commercial rights of small farmers ranks among the most politically -- and now, economically -- tone-deaf actions by any big business.

“Small farmers posting comments at Richmond Sunlight, Virginia Farm Bureau’s social media site, blogs, etc. have already stated their intention to leave Farm Bureau. Insurance companies may swoop in to pick up small farmers as new customers, and small farmers will look for new leadership for their legislative needs.

“75 percent of Virginians voted for the eminent domain amendment in November despite opposition from the real estate industry, and the Boneta Bill’s bipartisan popularity of H.B. 1430 may exceed even that. Farm Bureau has become another special interest beholden to big business and out of touch with small farmers, and constitutional and property rights of the little guy,” said Mr. Fitzgibbons.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kevin McVicker at Shirley & Banister Public Affairs at (703) 739-5920 or .

More from Donna Holt, Virginia Campaign for Liberty:

You might be interested to know that Martha Moore is the vice president for governmental relations at Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and is also on the Board of Directors for "Virginia Forever". "Virginia Forever" is a coalition of public and private environmentalist groups to include The Nature Conservancy. They launched the campaign to "garner increased public understanding, support, and funding for conservation". They are proponents of Agenda 21. The Nature Conservancy has acquired and is in control of more than 40,000 acres of protected land on the eastern shore. No human activity is allowed there. They work with local governments to create a hostile environment to put the squeeze on anyone they think they can to lock away more land. They only pretend to protect small farms.

Look at what they have been up to -

Just a few:

(1)The Virginia Outdoors Foundation permanently protected 26,375 acres of open space through 127 conservation easements in 2012. VOF recorded easements in 53 localities, including about 120 miles of streams, 11,000 acres of U.S. Department of Agriculture-designated high quality farm soils, and 1,700 acres along state-designated scenic roads and rivers, among other conservation values. VOF now protects about 675,000 acres— more than 1,000 square miles—across 107 localities.

(2)250 Acres Along Roanoke River Put in Conservation Easement

(3)A dozen grants totaling $1.55 million have been awarded by the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation to protect 1,642 acres of farm and forestland, natural areas and historic tracts. The grants, which require a minimum 50 percent match, are going to the Shenandoah Battlefields Foundation, the Civil War Trust and to Sundance LLC, among others.

(4)Five miles of undisturbed forest, sand hills and waterfront in Isle of Wight County along the Blackwater River will be preserved by the state, protecting it from future development. Officials are still debating how to utilize the land but it has the potential for ecotourism activities and limited timbering.

"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." - Thomas Jefferson Virginia Tea Party Patriots Danville Patriots "