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Farming a priority in Virginia


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For those into farming.




By Linda McNatt

The Virginian-Pilot

© March 12, 2008



Todd P. Haymore wouldn't be surprised to hear any time that his family farm in Pittsylvania County, near Danville, will be sold. It sits at an intersection near a major highway and is ripe for development, he said.


Haymore, the state's commissioner of agriculture, spoke at the city's annual Farm Family lunch Tuesday, and he talked mostly about preserving the family farm in Virginia.


More than 100 farmers, city officials, friends and relatives gathered to honor the family of David and Audrey Page Bosselman, who won the Farm Family award this year.


The award is handed out annually by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. Living in rural, northwest Suffolk, the Bosselmans noted that development moving in on their own farm is one of their greatest concerns in the coming years.





"You are part of Virginia's oldest and largest industry," Haymore told the family. "Agriculture represents $36 billion a year on an annual basis."


As for the commissioner, "I've been trapped in Richmond for the last 60 days," he said. And he - along with others - have been trying to talk state lawmakers into putting more money toward farm preservation. Neighboring states, such as Maryland, are well ahead of Virginia in preserving farms, he said.


Farmland preservation in this state, he said, is one of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's top priorities. Kaine has set a goal of saving 400,000 acres of farmland during his term. "We're in the process of distributing $4.24 million to purchase development rights," Haymore said. "We're trying to find a few more dollars this year. We're talking about millions and millions of dollars in Richmond."


Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Isle of Wight County recently were among 14 Virginia localities to get farm preservation funding.


Linda McNatt, (757) 222-5561, linda.mcnatt@pilotonline.com

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