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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Farm Bureau endorses McDonnell over Deeds

I was flipping through this month's issue of the Farm Bureau News, and I noticed that AgPAC has made a number of endorsements in this year's races.

For those who don't know, Farm Bureau is a very large (146,000 members) association of Virginians. They provide insurance to members, marketing services, rural health programs, and legislative lobbying.

AgPAC is the "political action committee of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation". Farm Bureau members can add $50 or $100 to their annual dues to be used for legislative lobbying.

The shocker, at least to me, is that AgPAC has endorsed of Del. Bob McDonnell over Sen. Creigh Deeds.

Although the bulk of Sen. Deeds district is the liberal Charlottesville region, many in the media and in the blogosphere have been touting Sen. Deeds as the kind of rural Democrat who can win statewide. After all, Sen. Deeds owns a donkey and Del. McDonnell is from a suburban part of Virginia Beach.

I have no idea what issues factored into AgPAC's decision, but I've heard that Del. McDonnell did a lot of work on Virginia's eminent domain reform, an issue near the top of AgPAC's agenda.


Anonymous Gus said...

Don't be misled by AGPAC's endorsement of McDonnell over Deeds. Deeds has consistently been a supporter of small family farms, and he has made sure that they've not been screwed at the expense of huge corporate conglomerates. He supported eliminating the estate tax for family-held farms and businesses, while McDonnell voted for an estate tax relief plan that would have increased the tax and fee burden on these family-held farms. Deeds also introduced an amendment to exempt family farms from a prohibition preventing them from selling goat's milk and cheeses, something McDonnell opposed. The bottom line: Deeds supports farming, but won't screw family farms to give huge corporate farms a tax break; McDonnell will do whatever it takes to replenish his depleted campaign war chest (for example, $27K from Smithfield Foods, a huge farming conglomerate).

9:49 AM

Blogger GOPHokie said...

gus, I am not a farmer, but I would think the Farm Bureau's major buyers are not Smithfield, but small farmers.
Why then would they go against Deeds if he such a great defender of those things you just listed?

10:25 AM

Anonymous Waldo Jaquith said...

the bulk of Sen. Deeds district is the liberal Charlottesville region

That's certainly not true. I don't know the square mileage of the district, but I'll estimate, on the low end, that it's 3000 square miles. As Charlottesville is 10 square miles, that would be 0.3% of Sen. Deeds district. Absolutely not "the bulk."

Perhaps what you mean is that a good percentage of the population of Sen. Deeds district is "liberal Charlottesville." One need look no further than the Republican Board of Supervisors to see that Albemarle County is certainly not liberal (would that it were!), while it has a population significantly larger than Charlottesville. In terms of population (aggregated by municipality), 75% of his district is non-liberal, 25% is liberal. Such a low number is surely not "the bulk."

I suspect that liberal Charlottesville's Rep. Virgil Goode would agree with me on the matter.

11:03 AM

Anonymous Rural Not Stupid said...

Farm Bureau has gone off the deep end with this one. Their endorsement of McDonnell just shows how devoted they are to the corporate side of agriculture without any regard for family farms. If they want to stand up for Corporate Ag and continue to make it harder for small farms to survive they can go ahead, small farmers know that farm bureau stopped caring about them years ago. When Deeds, Pollard and a few others stood up for small farmers in the legislature this year, McDonnell refused to stand with them because he was hoping for an endorsement like this one. Agri-Business thinks small farms hurts their business and farm bureau, who is supposed to stand up for the little guy, has sided with agri-business.

It's ridiculous how Farm Bureau has forgotton all about the little guy. Somebody explain to me how it hurts agri-business for someone to milk their own goats at home or for Granny to sell the pie she just baked? Because Deeds' support of these small producers is the only reason he didn't get the farm bureau endorsement.

11:29 AM

Anonymous gus said...

gophokie, the Family Farmers of Virginia PAC, who describe themselves as "a group of farmers and consumers dedicated to promoting public policy that allows farmers to make a better living by selling directly to customers without unnecessary government regulation," are endorsing Creigh Deeds for AG. Deeds fought for House Bill 2903 in the 2005 legislative session which would have granted broad exemptions from government regulations to farmers who wanted to sell their products directly to consumers. McDonnell voted against the measure.

12:51 PM

Blogger GOPHokie said...

I apologize gus, I thought the Farm Bureau was for the small farmers, I guess not.
Waldo, if you check the populations of District 25 you find that Albemarle/Cville makes up over half the district population wise.
Cville is obviously liberal but commands only about 25% of the district.
Albemarle is at best a 50-50 county. Maybe the BOS is GOP but the county as a whole hasn't voted GOP since 2000 in a statewide race (except John Warner).

1:20 PM

Blogger GOPHokie said...

But perhaps Jerry will change that and win Albemarle this time, but I'm doubting it.

1:21 PM

Blogger Addison said...

Two comments:

1) The Virginia Farm Bureau is studying the pasteurization issue and might modify their position. Right now it's driven by their desire for the public to be confident in the food supply.

2) The idea that the Farm Bureau has sold out to corporate farming is just silly. They are very much speaking for all of Virginia agriculture. You don't get to 145,000 members by only working for the big boys.

5:53 PM

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