Lovettsville’s Chris Van Vlack
Lovettsville’s Chris Van Vlack, the President of the Farm Bureau, and the Urban/Ag Conservationist for the Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District, has been fighting to save Loudoun County Farming from shrinking any more than it already has.
The way to do so, Chris says, is an agriculture task force that goes beyond Loudoun’s concerns and cooperates with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). Continue reading
Loudoun’s Todd Morrison has invited farmers and neighbors “to discuss and share news about the free exercise of traditional agriculture in Loudoun County. In particular, it has been brought to our attention,” Todd said, “that Loudoun County has started to increase valuations and apply assessments …”
Todd said, “This seems to have been extended to requiring zoning permits with a $165 fee for chicken coops, and even fencing.”
The Loudoun County Assessors taxing farmers in Western Loudoun and not gradually, the assessments go from zero last year (2016) to tens of thousands of dollars on pole barns this year (2017), farmers never assessed for taxes before.
They are not sweeping up all farmers. It may take 5 years to get them all. They are not sure who all the farmers are. But they’ve already come down on the first fifth of the farming community this year. Many families purchase an aerial flyover view of their farm or homestead. The tax assessor has been getting the same aerial pictures, received in the office of the Commissioner of the Revenue, Robert S. Wertz Jr. The Commissioner’s Office is using those pictures to identify buildings on farms and assessing the farms for tax purposes.
The County Commissioner apparently can’t find all the farmers from the air. The County Commissioner therefore asked the Loudoun County Farm Bureau, Inc., in a meeting to identify who all the farmers are that he couldn’t find. The Farm Bureau said no way.
Todd makes it clear why farmers and citizens are concerned, “This is detrimental to the future of traditional farming and local food production in Loudoun County.” Continue reading