Category Archives: Virginia General Assembly

Virginia Raw Milk and Farming Freedoms Prevail! Virginia is for Food Freedom Lovers.

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kids and cows 045
Connecting with Cows

Persistence Pays Plenty! Virginia is for ‘Food Freedom Lovers’.

Through grass roots efforts, the voices of the multitudes of farm and food freedom lovers has been heard. On Thursday, February 1, 2018, at least 100 Virginians showed up in force at the Richmond, Virginia General Assembly hearing to oppose SB962 Bill. A Bill sponsored by Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26). Many that were not able to attend the hearing spoke up through phone, calls, emails, social media, and by word of mouth to spread through communities. The Farm and Food freedom advocacy group in Virginia VICFA ( Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association), has been working feverishly and diligently since 2001.

VICFA was started by a handful of individuals in central Virginia who were concerned about the over-regulation of small family farm sales direct to consumers. Consumers, (potential customers), were being denied their right to have fresh and wholesome foods from the farmers with whom they knew and had trusted. So VICFA was formed as a non profit corporation with the mission statement “To promote and preserve unregulated direct farmer to consumer trade that fosters availability of locally grown or home produced food products”. 

http://vicfa.org/about.html

The bill, SB962 and what would have been on the docket for next week HB825, is an invasion of private property rights. The herd share agreement is a private contract between the farmer and the consumer giving the consumer an ownership interest in a dairy animal. Distribution of milk through a herd share contract is a private transaction which should not be subject to government regulation.

VICFA

Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association

Here is the update from VICFA

VICTORY!!!

SB 962- killed by 8/7 vote

HB 825 will be struck

Delegate Barry Knight will be striking HB 825 in the upcoming House Agricultural Subcommitte meeting scheduled for this coming Monday February 5, 2018.

This is posted on the agenda-
“PLEASE NOTE-At the request of the patron (Knight) HB 825 will be struck at this meeting. Any citizens interested in HB 825 (Herd Shares) need not attend the meeting.”
Yesterday Senate Bill 962, was heard by a packed house of 100+ citizens who filled the room beyond standing, spilling into the adjacent hall and beyond. In a joint effort, VICFA members, Weston A. Price members, FTCLDF members, herd share farmers, herd share holders, their families, and many others were there to speak against the bill.

Many had visited the General Assembly throughout the week talking with Senators and Delegates on SB 962 and HB 825. The phone lines were flooded and email inboxes were filled Virginians opposing the bill.
Because of the massive public outcry, SB 962 failed to pass and was killed by a narrow 8 to 7 vote..

NAYS–Ruff, Petersen, Stanley, Black, Chafin, Dance, Suetterlein, McClellan–8.

Voted to kill the bill
YEAS–Stuart, Hanger, Obenshain, Marsden, Ebbin, Lewis, Mason–7.
Voted to pass the bill

To see the recorded session, here is the link http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php…
(Start at the 45 min mark to go straight to SB 962)
Thank you!!
We would like to thank all who called, emailed, shared, and came to the General Assembly to speak about these bills.
Please contact the Senators that voted to kill SB 962 to thank them for their support and please thank Delegate Barry D. Knight for striking HB 825,
for striking the bill…

Senator Phon Email
Richard H. Stuart (804) 698-7528
district28@senate.virginia.gov

Emmett W. Hanger, Jr.
(804) 698-7524
district24@senate.virginia.gov

Mark D. Obenshain
804) 698-7526
district26@senate.virginia.gov

Frank M. Ruff, Jr.
804) 698-7515
district15@senate.virginia.gov

J. Chapman Petersen
(804) 698-7534
district34@senate.virginia.gov

David W. Marsden
(804) 698-7537
district37@senate.virginia.gov

William M. Stanley, Jr.
(804) 698-7520
district20@senate.virginia.gov

Richard H. Black
(804) 698-7513
district13@senate.virginia.gov

Adam P. Ebbin
804) 698-7530
district30@senate.virginia.gov

Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr.
(804) 698-7506
district06@senate.virginia.gov

A. Benton “Ben” Chafin
(804) 698-7538
district38@senate.virginia.gov

Rosalyn R. Dance
804) 698-7516
district16@senate.virginia.gov

David R. Suetterlein
(804) 698-7519
district19@senate.virginia.gov

T. Montgomery “Monty” Mason
(804) 698-7501
district01@senate.virginia.gov

Jennifer L. McClellan
(804) 698-7509
district09@senate.virginia.gov

Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources

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Got Raw Milk in Virginia? The State Wants to Restrict You.

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Raw Milk..Don't Tread on Me

An important message from Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia:

Whether or not you drink raw milk, Virginia is moving to virtually outlaw the choice.

Two bills, SB962 and HB825 are wending their way through this session of the General Assembly to clamp down on the right to drink milk from your own cow. So deep and wide is the hatred of food choice by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and numerous legislators that these bills all but eliminate herd share viability.

For the uninitiated, raw milk sales are illegal in Virginia, although more than 20 states allow it. Yes, Virginia, freedom exists elsewhere, but not here. We all know those states are seeing massive deaths and illnesses due to such liberty. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

For Virginians, the work-around is to own a portion of a cow, or a portion of a herd, so that you can drink your own milk from your own cow. This has been ongoing for many years. Now, in the wisdom of the bowels of Richmond, this freedom is no longer acceptable.

In general, the proposed legislation would require farms whose cows are owned by shareholders to send the names and addresses of those shareholders to government officials in Richmond. Government officials, who for decades have voiced and written their antagonism toward raw milk, would be allowed warrantless inspections of herd share farms. If all that were not egregious enough, the legislation would criminalize other family members from partaking of the milk brought home by a herd share member.

In other words, when I bring home a gallon of milk from my cow, my spouse can’t drink it; my child can’t drink it; a friend can’t drink it. This draconian measure shows the diabolical creativity of those who seek to deprive you and me of food choice. It’s all done in the name of safety, of protecting us from ourselves,
of course. As if government-sanctioned food, from school lunches to Twinkies, is wholesome, nutritious,
and land healing.

These bills have nothing whatsoever to do with raw milk sales. Courts have ruled over and over that herd share arrangements are not sales; they are cow owners drinking milk from their own cows. This is sacred property ownership territory. For Richmond insiders to threaten this area indicates a heightened creativity and aggression toward deceit and tyranny. Strong words, but anything less lets them erode the few freedoms we have left.

I urge you to acquaint yourself with these bills as they go through subcommittees and hearings, and to
make a call to the appropriate legislators to voice your concern. Daily updates are available through
the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund action alerts and the VICFA(Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association) action alerts. This is the time to be vigilant, and for good people to do something.

Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin Preaching about grass

Preach It Joel!

Try and get over to the Virginia General Assembly hearing on Bills HB825 and SB962 today (February 1, 2018) in Richmond, Va. at 1:30 to lobby to oppose these proposed amendments. Or call your local delegates and senators ( lists with #”s in link articles).

http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/

https://www.farmtoconsumer.org/blog/2018/01/24/virginia-oppose-these-herd-share-bills-now/

Oppose Virginia Herd Share Bills

SB 962 is on the docket for a vote by the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee this Thursday, February 1, 2018. Attend the meeting if you are able and show that you OPPOSE this bill.

The meeting will take place 1/2 hour after adjournment of the full Senate Session, sometime after 2 p.m. at:

Senate Room A, Ground Floor
Pocahontas Building
900 East Main Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

If you’re free, please help to pack the meeting room. Those who oppose the bill will be meeting in the lobby between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. Allow time for parking.

TALKING POINTS

  • The right to privacy is at stake: with this bill herdshare members’ names and addresses would be turned over to the government. Because herd shares are a closed loop arrangement, registration with the state should not be required since the direct relationship between farmers and shareholders makes traceability a non-issue. No other food is targeted in this way.
  • If passed, the bill would require that the consumers assume joint liability for all milk produced by the herd, which is completely inappropriate and unprecedented.
  • With HB 825, herd shares would be open to unwarranted premises and paperwork inspections and would have to adhere to yet-to-be-written stipulations put forward by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).
  • This bill would negatively affect peoples’ rights to acquire the foods of their choice because some herd share sellers would likely be forced out of business.