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Virginians Standing up for Property RightsPARIS, Va.,
Jan. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Property rights activist, constitutional lawyer and an organizer of the
August 2012 Pitchfork Protest in
Mark Fitzgibbons issued the following statement today:
"Small farmers are leaving Farm Bureau in response to its
Virginia division's opposition to H.B. 1430, the Boneta Bill, introduced and championed by Delegate
Scott Lingamfelter of
"The Boneta Bill is named after
Martha Boneta, the
Paris, Virginia farmer who gained national attention in 2012 with the 'Pitchfork Protest' on her behalf. She was charged and threatened with fines up to
$5,000 per violation by
Fauquier County for hosting a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls without a permit, and selling her produce, homemade pies, farm crafts and wool products even though she had a business license. The bill amends
Virginia's Right to Farm Act (VRFA) by clarifying its protections of traditional farming commerce, expressly protecting constitutional rights on farm land, and providing remedies for violations of the VRFA.
"It is the height of political arrogance for Virginia Farm Bureau to oppose the bill for the reason that they did not 'bless' it before it was introduced. Virginia Farm Bureau wrote the VRFA that failed to protect the commerce of small farmers, which pays Farm Bureau's insurance premiums, and failed to include remedies for violations. Farm Bureau's legislative failures have abandoned
Martha Boneta and all small farmers, leading to economic hardship for small family farms.
"This notion that special interests must control the introduction of legislation offends all Americans. But the hypocrisy of Farm Bureau's opposing the constitutional, property and long-held commercial rights of small farmers ranks among the most politically -- and now, economically -- tone-deaf actions by any big business.