Virginia Farmers Push for Eminent Domain Amendment

In their annual meeting, the Virginia Farm Bureau endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that would revise eminent domain policy.

Members of the Farm Bureau meet with their state representatives every year to discuss crucial agricultural policies, voice their concerns about state laws, and explain their positions on various agricultural issues. Face to face meetings, many members say, influences politicians more directly than phone calls or emails.

Of primary concern at this year’s meeting was proposed legislation that would protect private property from eminent domain seizure and drastically limit the power of the state government to seize private land.

The proposed amendment would allow for traditional eminent domain seizures, for schools and transportation projects, but would require adequate compensation for landowners. In addition, the amendment would ban the seizure of private property for the purpose of private economic development. The impetus for this bill was a rash of seizure across the state transferring mom and pop stores, day cares, and small farms to large-scale corporations.

The president of the Virginia Farm Bureau endorsed the legislation, praising its stricter definition of public use and stating that the amendment ensures that farmers have “enough land to farm.”

This is the second time the amendment has passed the Virginia General Assembly and Senate. According to the state constitution, amendments must pass both houses two years in a row before being placed on the November ballot.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer