Farmer Dan’s Daughter

Farmer Dan's Daughter   The following is a blog post from Christy Vanderwende Wright, from her Farmer Dan’s Daughter blog site. Considering the Vanderwende family is a long time and well respected farming family in the 35th Representative District, I believe what she has to say is extremely important for the voters to hear.

Delaware’s Grassroots Ag Champion

Every cause longs for a well-spoken, trusted advocate and they aren’t easy to find. There’s no doubt about it, Delaware agriculture has a champion in Rep. Dave Wilson. Only second to his constituents, Delaware agriculture is Rep. Wilson’s #1 priority. His commitment to securing farm land preservation state funds is critical to securing the future of Delaware farmers; not to mention its relation to preserving open space for all Delaware citizens. He pushed through House Bill 124 this past legislative session to fight for realty transfer tax dollars that were originally earmarked for ag land preservation. Needless to say, Delaware’s ag land preservation fund has only received a small fracture of these funds. Keep in mind, this bill would change our state Constitution, which requires 2/3 passing vote by each house in two consecutive general assemblies. This is a tough feat, for any cause. Rep. Wilson even told me that a prominent agricultural leader discouraged him from pursuing it because of budget constraints. But Rep. Wilson pursued it anyway. Why? Because that’s exactly what champions do! They aren’t afraid to be the underdog and in the process, they bring positive media attention and education about land preservation to those who have no clue that agriculture is Delaware’s #1 economic industry. The bill did not pass the first leg but it was close! He garnered 20 yes votes from his colleagues and he promises to try again.

More recently, his primary opponent brought attention to Rep. Wilson’s own participation in the ag preservation program (all public information on the DDA website). While I understand and appreciate the transparency, I believe most of the agricultural community know the history. You see, if Rep. Wilson wanted to get in when the “getting was good”, he would’ve taken advantage of the program in its earlier inception years when the average collective discount was well below 50%. If you really care to dig more on this issue, then let’s just mention the two former sitting legislators who DID take advantage early on: Rep. Wallace Caulk (Round 1, 1996, 27% collective discount, total over $770,000) and Rep. George Carey (1997, 33% collective discount, total over a million dollars). And guess what? Neither are public champions for the program nor currently advocate for funding such as Rep. Wilson.

Let me try explaining another way. Farmers who participate in this program, sell their development rights back to the state at a fracture of what they’re worth. It can never be sold for development or non-agricultural use.  You may only see large dollar sign totals but again, this is a fracture of what the land is appraised. For the state, it provides open space preservation for the future and ensures funding to our #1 economic industry. For farmers, it is a funding source that gives them some value for their property without selling out and can ensure their future relatives remain in farming practice. Let’s face it, they’re basically doing the state a favor by promising to never develop their land for minimal cost.

In other words, Rep. Wilson has nothing more to gain. All of his land is being preserved, which tells me he believes and trusts in the program enough to participate and wants to garner more funds for his fellow farming colleagues. Most probably know he was a farmer, horse breeder, and auctioneer first and our only active farmer in Delaware’s legislative body. Even better than an advocate is an advocate who has been on the ground, actively involved in the work, known as “grassroots”. There is NO other current Delaware legislator that can say his or her priority is Delaware agriculture. Based on this, I believe Delaware agriculture has a “grassroots” champion in Rep. Dave Wilson. We need to keep him in our legislature to preserve ag lands and our future in farming!

For more information, click here. To get involved in Rep. Wilson’s campaign, click here.

24 Comments on "Farmer Dan’s Daughter"

  1. Fish Bites says:

    Ben Franklin supported freedom of the press…. BUT HE OWNED A PRESS!

  2. Rick says:

    Why is the state involved with farmland in the first place? If a farmer wants to sell his land, sell it. If the farmer can’t turn a profit, then go out of business, like any other entrepreneur who loses money.
    What makes the maintaining of farmland sacrosanct? Farming is just another business.

    Maybe Delaware should fund failing bowling alleys and tanning salons, too. We wouldn’t want them to become liquor stores or cigarette outlets.

  3. mouse says:

    Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses

  4. Frank Knotts says:

    Rick, I agree but for a different reason, I think it is a bad choice for the farmers who have no idea what the future will bring. They have sold away one very important option, and they still have to pay taxes on the properties.
    And to you mouse? Bah! Humbug!

  5. delacrat says:

    “Why is the state involved with farmland in the first place?” – rick

    Why is the state involved with [_______] in the first place? – every “free market” yahoo

  6. mouse says:

    Farms, local food supplies and open space are all in everyone’s interests to have around.

  7. mouse says:

    I for one don’t want to have to purchase all my food from an ADM GMO factory farm in the irrigated desert where they have a patton on all the seed DNA and sue you if you grow your own. But I realize the only thing government is supposed to do is carry on wars for the 1% monopoly oil crowd, deny reproductive rights, enforce religion like Isis andassure the laws are fixed for the1% to screw everyone else. And of course every angry uneducated bitter old white man is going to be in the CEO class so he votes for them.

  8. Fish Bites says:

    Why did the government make the Louisiana Purchase? Why did the government coordinate the homesteading process that settled much of this country? Gee, since when has the government been involved in land use? Ummm, like, forever.

  9. Rick says:

    Why did the government make the Louisiana Purchase?

    To add land for settlement.

    Why did the government coordinate the homesteading process that settled much of this country?

    To add land for settlement.

    The Delaware farm handout program?

    To deny land for settlement.

  10. delacrat says:

    “The Delaware farm handout program?

    To deny land for settlement.”

    Delaware to Rick, Delaware has been settled since 1631.

  11. Fish Bites says:

    Rick, you seem to be ignorant of how much of the country was in fact settled. It wasn’t by building residential subdivisions, but involved massive government programs which parceled out land FOR FARMING. Among the requirements the settlers had to meet in order to maintain their government handout, was to work the land.

    Once farmland is gone, it’s gone.

  12. Frank Knotts says:

    Fishbites, as I said I am opposed to FP because I think it is a mistake on the farmers part. I was raised on a farm, I believe farming is the most important industry we have as a nation. If we can’t feed ourselves, we are at the mercy of others.
    FP is voluntary so if farmers chose to sell their future options that is their choice. But often we see once voluntary programs become mandatory if participation is less than the powers deem necessary. That would also put us at risk of being at the mercy of others, even if those others were our own government.

  13. mouse says:

    Not sure I buy the slippery slope argument as a threat associated with farm land preservation.

  14. Rick says:

    Delaware to Rick, Delaware has been settled since 1631.

    Okay. Then “America” had been “settled” since 1607. So, who needed the Louisiana Purchase?

    Once farmland is gone, it’s gone.

    Ever been to Nebraska? Iowa? California?

    Tiny 500-acre Delaware farms are not crucial to survival.

    Since the Socialist-Democrat left supports unfettered immigration, it would stand to reason that they would comprehend the fact that the increasing population would need somewhere to live. They should be welcomed to “liberal” Delaware. We also need “liberals” from the cities….skilled workers necessary to “keep Delaware moving forward.”

    Why are “progressives” always stuck in the past?

  15. mouse says:

    Do you understand the concept of arable land? Also, having small local farms is a security issue. I would think you paranoid types would understand that small local farms far more guarantee a safe accessible food supply than some agribusiness GMO monopoly with factory farms in the desert dependent on the flow in the Colorado river. Maybe if we said Muslims were buying up local forms, it would be more of an understandable imperative for you people

  16. mouse says:

    When you guys go to your little republican sheriff meetings, does it ever bother you how they all attack education and the educated while no one there has ever set foot in a university course?

  17. delacrat says:

    “Ever been to Nebraska? Iowa? California?” – rick

    We’re talkin’ Sussex County, Delaware, sport.

    If you can’t make any sense, at least stay on topic.

  18. Frank Knotts says:

    Mouse, we are already on that slippery slope. Right here in Sussex County, County Government put farmland in a form of preservation against the land owners wishes. I give you Overbrook Town Center project. Government already has the power to deny a land owner free exercise of their rights over their property. The slope would simply be increasing the use of that power, without the pay outs of FP.

  19. Rick says:

    We’re talkin’ Sussex County, Delaware, sport.

    Yeah, I know that, chief. Maybe you missed the Louisiana Purchase comment.

    If the farmer wants to sell, sell. We need houses for our undocumented aliens.

  20. mouse says:

    I forgot, rezoning is an entitlement for multinational corporations who buy up farmland

  21. mouse says:

    Nothing says a farmer can’t sell farmland and use the land as zoned

  22. Rick says:

    Zoning changes to accomodate growth. Always has, always will.

  23. Frank No Balls says:

    Why is anyone responding to nitwit like Frank as if he knows anything. Talk to a homeless man first, he is smarter.

  24. Frank Knotts says:

    FNB, yet you keep going to the trouble of changing screen names and IP addresses in order to come here and say nothing. Thank you.

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