Farmers from across Virginia are preparing to deliver letters opposing the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act of 2010 to Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb and to Virginia’s congressional delegation.

Senate Bill 1816, they say, could spell disaster for farms and rural communities in the Bay’s six-state watershed.

Virginia Farm Bureau Federation opposes the bill because it places the goal of Bay restoration above all economic and social considerations and stands to impose severe economic hardships on farmers.

"The environmental, cultural and historical significance of the Chesapeake Bay is not lost on Virginia’s farmers, and a great many of them have already taken voluntary steps to protect the Bay and its tributaries. Others already operate under careful regulation to protect the bay," said VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor. "In light of their responsible actions, this bill is overkill, to put it mildly.

"Our producer members are asking their congressional representatives to recognize that."

VFBF and other state Farm Bureaus in the Bay watershed have voiced support for another Bay improvement bill — H.R. 5509, sponsored by Reps. Tim Holden of Pennsylvania and Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. Farm Bureau representatives will deliver letters from producers to Goodlatte’s district office in Roanoke on Sept. 9.

Delivery of letters to other Virginia representatives’ district offices also have been planned, and others are being finalized:

• Sept. 7 to Rep. Randy Forbes, R-4th, in Emporia and Rep. Tom Perriello, D-5th, in Charlottesville and Martinsville;

• Sept. 8 to Rep. Rick Boucher, D-9th, in Pulaski.

• Sept. 10 to Rep. Eric Cantor, R-7th, in Richmond.

Contact Wilmer Stoneman, VFBF associate director of governmental relations, at 804-290-1024.