Virginia' small family farmers are being driven off their farm land because of over regulation. Our inalienable rights are routinely sacrificed on the altar of local county over regulation. Virginia is one of the many states with a Right to Farm codified into law. Farming includes that a producer be able to sell products. This is a bi-partisan issue and a consumer issue as well as a small family farmer issue. This is about liberty, economic freedom and the American Dream! STOP Virginia's Assault on Small Family Farmers today! We demand the adoption of the Virginia Farm & Food Freedom Act. No business in Virginia – and especially our small family farmers – will be safe as long as county officials deny business owners the right to make a living, destroy property rights and the American Dream! STOP THE ASSAULT on Virginia's small family farmers!
VIDEO: Pitchfork Protest as many Virginians gather to protect the rights of American Farmers
Overall agricultural exports from Virginia reached just over $2.61 billion in 2012, an all-time high.
Agriculture and forestry are Virginia's largest industries, with a combined economic impact of $79 billion annually: $55 billion from agriculture and $24 billion from forestry. The industries also provide approximately 500,000 jobs in the Commonwealth according to the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.
Farmer Martha Boneta however was singled out even though she applied for and received a business license for the operation of a “retail farm shop” on 70 acres of FARM LAND in Paris, Virginia. The issuance of the license required the review and approval of the Fauquier County DCD and WAS GRANTED. Furthermore, the property on which the farm is located is zoned Agricultural (RA) surrounded by thousands of acres of farmland, with a small area residential-Village (V), and the current use of the property is that of farms throughout the county, Commonwealth and nation. This "retail farm shop" business license permitted the farmer to sell not only what the farmer produced but what others produced as well. By way of example an adjacent alpaca farm had the same "retail farm shop" license and was able to sell alpaca goods from China and Peru as well as antiques and other items on just 4 acres in a mostly residential community. Farmer Boneta was legally selling farm goods on her farm.
VIDEO: Martha Boneta American Freedom Farmer at press conference
Subsequent to PAA’s receiving its business license, Fauquier County’s Zoning Ordinance was amended to include a “Farm Sale” use category. The county now claims that Farmer Boneta allegedly lacks this additional permit even though the farm had already been in operation and forced the farm to close. This gross violation of property rights and economic freedom must not be tolerated. Poor innocent farmers are being driven off the land by these kinds of rogue anti-American extremists that are enacting ordinances contrary to Virginia's Right to Farm Laws.
The Virginia Small Farm & Food Freedom Act:
Whereas, farmers, farms and farming have historically played a vital role in the economy, traditions, culture, art and literature of Virginia; and
Whereas, the success of farms and farming depends on free-market rewards resulting from farmers’ labor, capital, ingenuity and products; and
Whereas, farmers have the right to just remuneration for their labor, capital, ingenuity, services and products they have produced; and
Whereas, farmers have all rights reserved to all people by America’s supreme law, such as the right to the pursuit of happiness; the right of quiet enjoyment of their land; the right of peaceable assembly on their private property, and the right to exercise religious freedom on their private property; and
Whereas, Virginians deserve access to wholesome and locally produced foods, and small farmers should be able to supply these products without burdensome government regulations; and
Whereas, government must not single out or characterize farmers, farming or farmland in such a way as to diminish their freedoms and rights as guaranteed to all Americans and protected by the United States and Virginia Constitutions; and
Whereas, government must not use laws or the color of law, regulations, zoning ordinances or the dictates of permits to violate, trespass on or restrict the rights of farmers simply based on the fact that they engage in farm-related commerce, and farmers are entitled to fair, reasonable and full remedies from government agencies or political subdivisions that violate or trespass on their rights.
Now be it therefore resolved that We support repeal of state laws and local ordinances inconsistent with this resolution; and
Be it further resolved, that We call upon the General Assembly and the Governor to advance legislation in the 2014 Session of the General Assembly to make the Code of Virginia consistent with the provisions of this resolution.
It is unbelievable that a winery can sell everything from earrings and baseball caps made in China but at the same time a tomato farmer or a peach orchard are discriminated against and can't even sell a cold bottle of water on a 100 degree hot summer day.
Our inalienable rights are routinely sacrificed on the altar of local county over regulation. Virginia is one of the many states with a Right to Farm codified into law. Farming includes that a producer be able to sell products. This is a bi-partisan issue and a consumer issue as well as a small family farmer issue. This is about liberty, economic freedom and the American Dream! STOP Virginia's Assault on Small Family Farmers today! We demand that Virginia adopt The Virginia Small Farm & Food Freedom Act !