Recent Accomplishments

Legislative Victories

The Virginia Agribusiness Council is recognized as one of the most effective lobbying organizations in the State. On your behalf, the Council was successful in advocating for you on a wide variety of legislative proposals once again this year:

Agriculture Nuisance Bill

  • In response to lawsuits in other states, the agriculture community felt the need to preemptively add to the Right to Farm Act protections for agricultural operations.  The bill prohibits a person from bringing a nuisance action against any agricultural operation the existence of which was known or reasonably knowable when that person's use or occupancy of his property began. The bill also prohibits anyone other than a person with an ownership interest in the affected property from bringing an action for private nuisance and sets out certain limitations on recovery for compensatory damages.

Land Use Assessment

  • VAC joined an effort to make it easier for new farmers to enter into agriculture businesses by shortening the amount of time a for real estate with no prior qualifying use to qualify for a land use assessment.  The bill specifically provides that (i) land devoted to use includes land devoted to the sale of products made from plants and animals located on the property, (ii) land devoted to horticultural use includes land devoted to plants and the sale of products made from horticultural items, (iii) the agreement pursuant to soil and water conservation programs that qualifies land as devoted to agricultural or horticultural uses may be made with the Commonwealth, (iv) land designated for use value assessment shall not lose such designation solely because of its location in a newly created zoning district that was not requested by the property owner, and (v) if the state uniform standards for eligibility for real estate devoted to agricultural use or horticultural use require a minimum length of time of a specified use, then the use of other similar property by a lessee of the owner shall be included in calculating such time, and the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall include in the uniform standards a shorter length of time for real estate with no prior qualifying use, provided that the owner submits a written document of the owner's intent regarding use of the real estate containing elements set out in the uniform standards.   

Virginia Grown Overweight Permit Over Bridges

  • This legislation provides that no vehicle issued an overweight permit (90K lbs.) for hauling Virginia-grown farm produce, with axle spacing of at least 42 ft., shall cross any bridge or culvert in the Commonwealth if the gross weight of such vehicle is greater than the amount posted for the bridge or culvert as its carrying capacity.  Current law did not allow for the crossing of any bridges under this permit.

Agricultural Products Local Tax

  • There have been issues in certain localities on which farm equipment is included in the definition of farm equipment.  The bill clarifies what is included in  "agricultural products," for the purposes of the classification of tangible personal property for taxation, as any livestock, aquaculture, poultry, horticultural, floricultural, viticulture, silvicultural, or other farm crops. 

Virginia Cattle Assessment

  • Updates the cattle assessment which is an industry supported assessment to pool funds for collectively working together for marketing, promotion and education to help Virginia cattle producers.  The cattle assessment would be $.50 per head sold in Virginia. A producer can choose to opt out if they do not wish to participate in the assessment.  The Cattle Industry Board, comprised of 11 members appointed by the Governor, will administer the funds.

Defeated GMO Labeling at State level

  • We worked to defeat a bill that would have required certain products containing a genetically modified organism (GMO) to bear a label stating, "Congress prohibits states from requiring the on-package labeling of the GMO content of this product.", and required retail food stores to post notices and information sheets regarding bioengineered foods and to install digital scanners to read the matrix barcodes that certain packaged foods may use to provide information on GMO content.

For a complete list, including state budget related issues, click here.

    January 2019

Virginia Agribusiness Council
(804) 643-3555; vac@va-agribusiness.org
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