The Farm Bureau claims more than 150,000 members statewide. During the convention, voting delegates from each of Virginia's 88 county farm bureaus will discuss and vote on the organization's state and federal legislative policies for the coming year.
Among the "priority" issues in the 2012 session are:
— Opposition to legislation that places "arbitrary and unscientific" animal care practices on farmers.
— Support for farmland preservation measures to keep farmers in farming.
— Opposition to the "sweeping precedents" contained in the clean-up provisions of the Chesapeake Bay restoration program directed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The American Farm Bureau Federation sued the EPA in January, claiming the EPA is overstepping its authority in developing stringent new rules to limit farm runoff into the bay.
Farm Bureau delegates are also expected to consider a change in the federation's policy on uranium mining.
The farm lobby's current position states that it supports an analysis of uranium mining's impact on agriculture, which is included in a broad, statewide study by a National Academy of Sciences panel. It is to be delivered in December.
There is concern among some Farm Bureau members, however, that legislation to lift a 1982 ban on uranium mining will be introduced in the upcoming session before the findings of that study and others are thoroughly reviewed.
Stoneman said the subject will likely spark debate.
"I think we've got members on both sides of the idea, and this convention is where we'll iron those ideas out," he said.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.