As the operator of a grassfed beef to consumer farm in Albemarle for more than 40 years, I am particularly invested in ensuring that our farms continue to thrive. I have strengthened agriculture and forestry activities County-wide through clarification of by right ability for direct sale to customer and careful management of valuable land use programs.
- For the fourth year I will support in the General Assembly legislation to require simple safety measures in state building codes for agricultural buildings open to the public. The public assumes that these structures are inspected and safe. What should be required are exit door lights, outward opening hardware on sufficient escape structures, fire extinguishers, and a fire alarm system.
- Led the effort to ensure that our Property Tax Land Use Deferral Program is well managed, that anyone eligible for this program can use it, and that the County receives bi-annual compliance reporting from landowners. Proper management of the land use program is critical, to ensure the future of the program and the benefits it provides;
- Guided a county-wide effort to simplify establishment of farmers markets and to allow on-farm and off-farm sales by producers;
- Championed revised regulations for wineries, breweries, and event spaces, to prevent General Assembly interference in local public process;
- I am always Working to keep a balance between rural quality of life and events on farms and at wineries. Ongoing discussions with constituents are crucial in upcoming decisions;
- In 2000, I supported the implementation of the Acquisition of Conservation Easements Program (ACE), which purchases easements from willing sellers on a sliding income scale. As of 2023, Albemarle has the highest acreage in easement in Virginia. Preservation of land for agriculture and open space are important for our quality of life, the agricultural economy and for reduction of greenhouse gases through forest preservation.