Virginia Farm Bureau Federation leaders will tell their state legislators which issues matter most to the state’s farmers during the annual VFBF Legislative Day on Jan. 24.

When Farm Bureau leaders visit elected officials at the state Capitol, one of the key issues they will discuss is a constitutional amendment to protect private property rights from eminent domain abuse.

They also will share concerns about other issues of significance to the agricultural community.

“It is so important for our members to meet face to face with their legislators about the issues affecting their lives and businesses,” said Kelly Pruitt, VFBF governmental relations grassroots coordinator.

“Legislative Day gives us the opportunity to educate our representatives about Virginia agriculture so that they will make better-informed decisions in this session.”

Eminent domain has been at the forefront of Farm Bureau’s concerns in recent years. The state’s largest farm organization has supported an amendment to the Virginia constitution that would protect private property rights by clearly defining public use.

“The only way to protect homeowners and landowners is to have a constitutional amendment that ensures land cannot be taken and given to another private owner,” said Trey Davis, VFBF assistant director of governmental relations.

The 2011 General Assembly passed a resolution to amend the Virginia constitution. The amendment must pass in the 2012 legislature with the same wording in order for it to be on the ballot for Virginia voters in November.

Other critical legislative issues Farm Bureau leaders will discuss with their representatives include animal care, Chesapeake Bay regulations, funding for Virginia Cooperative Extension and wildlife damage.