February 4, 2013
Mr. Trey Davis
Virginia Farm Bureau
P.O. Box 27552
Richmond, VA 23261-7552
Re: H.B. 1430
We the undersigned understand that a reason that the Farm Bureau opposes the Boneta Bill is that the commerce provisions will make people begin to question why farmers on large farms should receive tax and other government subsidies even though they may sell products consistent with the varied and traditional nature of farming protected under the Boneta Bill. That is distinguished from the catch-all bogeyman of “unintended consequences” for small farmers who engage in commerce but do not receive subsidies.
The easy response is that large farms receiving subsidies can decline the Boneta Bill’s rights of commerce, or pay sales taxes as small farmers would, thereby adding to the state’s tax coffers.
The intended consequences of the commerce protections in the Boneta Bill are to cure flaws in the Right to Farm Act so that small farmers can pay their mortgages and preserve their farm land.
Also, please understand that we (and others) will make the nature of those objections known, and that small farmers and other taxpayers should not be subsidizing farmers who oppose free markets for small farmers. We will begin a statewide and national conversation about subsidies for large farmers at the expense of small farmers’ being able to engage in traditional farm commerce to pay their mortgages and preserve their farm land. That conversation will address the special interests and public officials who operate against the rights and best interests of small farmers.
The original Boneta Bill also cured other flaws in the Right to Farm Act such as protecting farmers’ constitutional rights and providing remedies for when counties violate the Act, which is currently a toothless paper tiger. We fully expect that Farm Bureau will vocally and aggressively back these provisions and protections for farmers instead of siding with those who prefer to allow counties to violate the law and the rights of farmers.
(Organizations named for identification purposes only)
Mark Fitzgibbons, Fauquier County
Cameron Jones, Fauquier County
Rick and Toni Buchanan, Warrenton
Milari Madison, Waterford
John Grigsby, 10th CD Coordinator, VA Campaign for Liberty
Tom DeWeese, President, American Policy Center
William J. Navarre, Warrenton
Patricia Evans, Danville
Donna Holt, Executive Director, VA Campaign for Liberty
Bonner R. Cohen, Arlington
Nancy and David Almasi, Alexandria
cc: Commissioner Matt Lohr
Delegate Michael Webert (via email)
Delegate Margaret Ransone (via email)