Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 3.2. Agriculture, Animal Care, and Food
5/22/2019

Subtitle I. General Provisions; Protection and Promotion of Agriculture.

Chapter 1. General Provisions.

Article 1. Department and Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

§ 3.2-100. Definitions.

As used in this title, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Board" means the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

"Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

"Department" means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-101. Department continued; appointment of Commissioner; agriculture education.

A. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is continued. The Department shall be under the management and control of a Commissioner appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, for a term coincident with that of the Governor. Any vacancy in the office of the Commissioner shall be filled by appointment by the Governor pursuant to the provisions of Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Virginia.

B. There shall be established, within the Department, to be administered by the Department of Agriculture Education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, a unit of specialists in agriculture education. The unit shall: (i) assist in developing and revising local agriculture curricula to integrate the Standards of Learning; (ii) provide professional development for agriculture instructional personnel to improve the quality of agriculture education; (iii) conduct site visits to the schools providing agriculture education; and (iv) seek the input of business and industry representatives regarding the content and direction of agriculture education programs in the public schools of the Commonwealth.

1. Any required reduction in the Department's budget shall be reflected in a proportional reduction in the operation of the agriculture education unit. The reduction in the allocation for operation of the agriculture education unit shall not exceed the percentage reduction provided for in the appropriation act for the Department.

2. In the event that additional funds are not allocated for these positions, the Department shall not be required to absorb the costs of these positions.

Code 1950, § 3-7; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-8; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 34; 1978, c. 219; 1985, c. 397; 2004, c. 180, § 3.1-14.2; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-101.1. Certified mail; subsequent mail or notices may be sent by regular mail.

Whenever in this title the Board, the Commissioner, or the Department is required to send any mail or notice by certified mail and such mail or notice is sent certified mail, return receipt requested, then any subsequent, identical mail or notice that is sent by the Board, the Commissioner, or the Department may be sent by regular mail.

2011, c. 566.

§ 3.2-102. General powers and duties of the Commissioner.

A. The Commissioner shall be vested with the powers and duties set out in § 2.2-601, the powers and duties herein provided, and such other powers and duties as may be prescribed by law, including those prescribed in Title 59.1. He shall be the executive officer of the Board, and shall see that its orders are carried out. He shall see to the proper execution of laws relating to the Department. Unless the Governor expressly reserves such power to himself, the Commissioner shall promote, protect, and develop the agricultural interests of the Commonwealth. The Commissioner shall develop, implement, and maintain programs within the Department including those that promote the development and marketing of the Commonwealth's agricultural products in domestic and international markets, including promotions, market development and research, marketing assistance, market information, and product grading and certification; promote the creation of new agribusiness including new crops, biotechnology and new uses of agricultural products, and the expansion of existing agribusiness within the Commonwealth; develop, promote, and maintain consumer protection programs that protect the safety and quality of the Commonwealth's food supply through food and dairy inspection activities, industry and consumer education, and information on food safety; preserve the Commonwealth's agricultural lands; ensure animal health and protect the Commonwealth's livestock industries through disease control and surveillance, maintaining animal health diagnostic laboratories, and encouraging the humane treatment and care of animals; protect public health and the environment through regulation and proper handling of pesticides, agricultural stewardship, and protection of endangered plant and insect species; protect crop and plant health and productivity; ensure consumer protection and fair trade practices in commerce; develop plans and emergency response protocols to protect the agriculture industry from bioterrorism, plant and animal diseases, and agricultural pests; assist as directed by the Governor in the Commonwealth's response to natural disasters; develop and implement programs and inspection activities to ensure that the Commonwealth's agricultural products move freely in trade domestically and internationally; and enter into agreements with federal, state, and local governments, land grant universities, and other organizations that include marketing, plant protection, pest control, pesticides, and meat and poultry inspection.

B. In addition, the Commissioner shall:

1. Establish and maintain a farm-to-school website. The purpose of the website shall be to facilitate and promote the purchase of Virginia farm products by schools, universities, and other educational institutions under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Education. The website shall present such current information as the availability of Virginia farm products, including the types and amount of products, and the names of and contact information for farmers, farm organizations, and businesses marketing such products; and

2. Establish and operate a nonprofit, nonstock corporation under Chapter 10 (§ 13.1-801 et seq.) of Title 13.1 as a public instrumentality exercising public and essential governmental functions to promote, develop, and sustain markets for licensed Virginia wineries and farm wineries, as defined in § 4.1-100. Such corporation shall provide wholesale wine distribution services for wineries and farm wineries licensed in accordance with § 4.1-207. The board of directors of such corporation shall be composed of the Commissioner and four members appointed by the Board, including one owner or manager of a winery or farm winery licensee that is not served by a wholesaler when the owner or manager is appointed to the board; one owner or manager of a winery or farm winery licensee that produces no more than 10,000 cases per year; and two owners or managers of wine wholesaler licensees. In making appointments to the board of directors, the Board shall consider nominations of winery and farm winery licensees submitted by the Virginia Wineries Association and wine wholesale licensees submitted by the Virginia Wine Wholesalers Association. The Commissioner shall require such corporation to report to him at least annually on its activities, including reporting the quantity of wine distributed for each winery and farm winery during the preceding year. The provisions of the Virginia Public Procurement Act shall not apply to the establishment of such corporation nor to the exercise of any of its powers granted under this section.

Code 1950, §§ 3-7, 3-9, 3-13; 1966, c. 702, §§ 3.1-8, 3.1-10, 3.1-14; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 34; 1975, c. 260; 1977, c. 186; 1978, cc. 219, 540; 1982, c. 150; 1985, c. 397; 1993, c. 455; 1994, cc. 261, 370; 1995, c. 10; 1996, c. 996; 2005, c. 633; 2007, cc. 352, 870, 932, §§ 3.1-14.4, 3.1-14.01; 2008, c. 860; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 3.2-103. Records to be held in confidence.

The Commissioner shall hold the following records of the Department in confidence unless otherwise directed by the Governor or the Board:

1. Schedules of work for regulatory inspection;

2. Trade secrets and commercial or financial information supplied by individuals or business entities to the Department;

3. Reports of criminal violations made to the Department by persons outside the Department;

4. Records of active investigations until the investigations are closed;

5. Financial records of applicants for assistance from the Virginia Farm Loan Revolving Account except those records that are otherwise a matter of public record; and

6. Tax returns required by the agricultural commodity boards established pursuant to this title to the extent necessary to protect the privacy of individual taxpayers.

Code 1950, § 3-13; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-14; 1975, c. 260; 1977, c. 186; 1978, cc. 219, 540; 1982, c. 150; 1993, c. 455; 1994, cc. 261, 370; 1995, c. 10; 1996, c. 996; 2005, c. 633; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-104. Commissioner may serve on board of national tobacco trust entity.

The Commissioner may serve in his official capacity on the board of directors of any entity established to ensure the implementation in the Commonwealth of a national tobacco trust established to provide payments to tobacco growers and tobacco quota owners to ameliorate adverse economic consequences resulting from a national settlement of states' claims against tobacco manufacturers.

2000, c. 1048, § 3.1-14.1; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-105. Century farm program.

The Commissioner shall establish a century farm program to honor farm families in the Commonwealth whose property has been in the same family for 100 years or more. In order to be eligible for recognition under the program, a farm shall (i) have been owned by the same family for at least 100 consecutive years; (ii) be lived on, or actually farmed, by a descendant of the original owners; and (iii) gross more than $2,500 annually from the sale of farm products.

1997, c. 161, § 3.1-17.1; 1999, c. 346; 2008, c. 860; 2016, c. 6.

§ 3.2-106. Horse breeder incentive program.

A. It is the policy of the Commonwealth to encourage the growth of all segments of its agricultural industry. The General Assembly finds that the horse breeding industry has a significant impact on the Commonwealth's economy and that it is to the Commonwealth's benefit to encourage, expand, and develop horse breeding farms with programs providing financial incentives to breeders that will encourage and supplement private capital.

B. To the extent that public or private funds become available, the Department may establish a program of financial incentives designed to encourage, expand, and develop the breeding of horses in the Commonwealth. The Department shall adopt appropriate regulations for the administration of the program. Such regulations shall provide for the distribution of financial awards to breeders only to the extent that public funds made available to the Department for the program are matched dollar for dollar by private funds. The regulations shall also provide that no single breeder shall receive, in any one calendar year, more than 10 percent of the public funds made available to the Department for the program during that year. Awards made under any such incentive program shall be limited to horses foaled in the Commonwealth that are owned by breeders who are actively engaged in the breeding of horses in the Commonwealth.

1981, c. 140, § 3.1-741.2; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-107. Testing samples of products delivered to laboratories; prescribing and collecting fees; Laboratory Fee Fund established; disposition of moneys.

A. The Commissioner may have tested samples of manufactured, processed, or natural products delivered to laboratories operated by the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services or the Department and prescribe and collect reasonable fees for the services rendered.

B. All fees and moneys collected or received by the Commissioner or the Department in its official capacity for the testing of samples of manufactured, processed, or natural products shall be paid into the Laboratory Fee Fund.

C. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Laboratory Fee Fund, hereinafter referred to as the Fund. The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All fees collected pursuant to this section shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purposes of the costs of the testing provided for in this section. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Commissioner.

Code 1950, §§ 3-13.1, 3-13.2; 1964, c. 163; 1966, c. 702, §§ 3.1-15, 3.1-16; 1972, c. 741; 1978, cc. 219, 702; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-108. Department to establish a program to support new and emerging crops and technologies.

A. From such funds as may be appropriated for such purposes and from gifts, donations, grants, bequests, and other funds as may be received, the Department shall establish a program to:

1. Encourage the production of alternative crops in the Commonwealth that may be used as a feedstock for energy generation and transportation, thereby supporting farmers and farm communities in their efforts to: (i) sustain and enhance economically viable business opportunities in agriculture; (ii) reduce nonpoint source pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and other waters of the Commonwealth; (iii) restore depleted soils; (iv) provide wildlife habitat; (v) reduce greenhouse gases; and (vi) reduce the country's dependence on foreign supplies of energy;

2. Assist the development of bioenergy feedstock crop technologies, including but not limited to, seed stock supplies, production technology, harvest equipment, transportation infrastructure and storage facilities;

3. Identify and assist in the development of commercially viable bioenergy market opportunities, including recruitment, expansion and establishment of renewable bioenergy businesses in Virginia; and

4. Promote the aquaculture of the species that are natives to or reside within the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the Virginia Coast, in concert with the efforts of Virginia higher education institutions and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, with a focus on assisting "traditional watermen" who rely on harvesting marine fish and shellfish. This effort shall also include watermen who are viable working participants of the aquaculture industry as contract growers, cooperatives or other business entities.

B. The Department shall provide funds in the form of grants to accomplish the objectives described in subsection A. The Department shall develop guidelines for the operation of the program that shall include, at a minimum, eligibility criteria for receiving grant awards, financial accountability for receiving grant awards, allowable uses of grant funds, and agricultural programmatic priorities. The Department shall consult with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, when appropriate, to ensure compatibility with existing cost-share and other agricultural incentive programs.

2007, c. 806, § 3.1-14.5; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-108.1. Virginia Pollinator Protection Strategy.

A. The Department shall develop and maintain a Virginia Pollinator Protection Strategy (the Strategy) to (i) promote the health of and mitigate the risks to all pollinator species and (ii) ensure a robust agriculture economy and apiary industry for honeybees and other managed pollinators.

B. In developing the Strategy, the Department shall seek the assistance of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and the Department of Environmental Quality and shall establish a stakeholder group composed of representatives of affected groups, including beekeepers, agricultural producers, commercial pesticide applicators, private pesticide applicators, pesticide manufacturers, retailers, lawn and turf service providers, agribusiness and farmer organizations, conservation interests, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

C. The Strategy shall include a plan for the protection of managed pollinators that provides voluntary best management practices for pesticide users, beekeepers, and landowners and agricultural producers. The protection plan shall support:

1. Communication between beekeepers and applicators;

2. Reduction of the risk to pollinators from pesticides;

3. Increases in pollinator habitat;

4. Maintenance of existing compliance with state pesticide use requirements;

5. Identification of needs for further research to promote robust agriculture and apiary industries; and

6. Identification of additional opportunities for education and outreach on pollinators.

2016, c. 11.

Article 2. Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

§ 3.2-109. Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services; appointments; qualifications; terms of office.

The Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services is established as a policy board, within the meaning of § 2.2-2100, in the executive branch of state government and may adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of this title. The Board shall consist of (i) one member from each congressional district, at least eight of whom shall be currently practicing farmers, and (ii) two at-large members, one of whom shall be a structural commercial applicator of pesticides and one of whom shall be engaged in the commercial sale or application of agricultural pesticides; all members to be appointed by the Governor for a term of four years and confirmed by the General Assembly. The presidents of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Virginia State University or their designees shall be ex officio members of the Board with voting privileges. All members of the Board shall be citizens of the Commonwealth. No member of the Board, except the ex officio members, shall be eligible for more than two successive terms; provided that persons appointed to fill vacancies may serve two additional successive terms after the terms of the vacancies they were appointed to fill have expired. All vacancies in the membership of the Board shall be filled by the Governor for the unexpired term.

Code 1950, § 3-1; 1952, c. 175; 1956, c. 37; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-1; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 135; 1978, c. 219; 1985, c. 397; 1992, c. 121; 2008, c. 860; 2011, cc. 98, 185; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 3.2-110. Officers of the Board; meetings.

A. The Board shall annually elect a president, vice president, and secretary.

B. The Board shall meet at least three times a year for the transaction of business. Special meetings may be held at any time upon the call of the president of the Board, the request of the Commissioner, or the written request of a majority of the Board members.

Code 1950, §§ 3-2, 3-3; 1966, c. 702, §§ 3.1-2, 3.1-3; 1978, c. 219; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-111. General powers and duties of the Board.

A. The Board shall be charged with all matters tending to the promotion of the agricultural interests of the Commonwealth. It shall have power to receive, hold in trust, and administer any donation made to it for the advancement of the agricultural interests of the Commonwealth.

B. The Board shall have power to purchase or lease land, not to exceed 1,000 acres, for the programs of the Department, and shall regulate and prescribe the salaries of such officers and employees of the Department who shall be employed in such programs.

C. The Board shall also be required to advise the Governor on the state of the agricultural industry and to advise him on promoting the development of the industry; encouraging persons, agencies, organizations, and industries to develop the industry; working closely with all agencies concerned with rural resources development; coordinating efforts toward maximum farm and off-farm employment; examining marketing procedures and new techniques for selling the Commonwealth's farm products; formulating plans for developing new markets for such products; and such other matters as the Governor may request.

D. The Board shall not adopt any regulation that prohibits or restricts a person, his immediate family, or his guests from consuming products or commodities grown or processed on his property provided that the products or commodities are not offered for sale to the public.

E. The Board shall oversee the development of a farmers market system.

F. To carry out the provisions of Chapter 39 (§ 3.2-3900 et seq.).

Code 1950, § 3-4; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-4; 1972, c. 531; 1985, c. 173, § 3.1-4.1; 1994, c. 370; 2001, cc. 17, 398; 2005, c. 882, § 3.1-14.3; 2008, c. 860; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 3.2-112. Regulations governing the conduct of referenda.

The Board shall adopt regulations governing the ballots to be used in any referendum, the conduct of any referendum, canvassing the results thereof, and declaring the results of any referendum provided for in this title. The Board shall fix the date, hours, and voting places with respect to the holding of any referendum and may provide for voting by mail. No requirement of this section shall be governed by Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act.

1970, cc. 310, 431, §§ 3.1-796.17, 3.1-684.6; 1980, cc. 316, 395, §§ 3.1-796.06, 3.1-1036; 1982, c. 126, § 3.1-684.25; 1983, c. 375; 1991, c. 587, § 3.1-684.45; 1995, c. 691, § 3.1-1068; 1997, c. 873, § 3.1-1084; 2005, cc. 497, 588, 864, 875, §§ 3.1-22.59, 3.1-636.2; 2008, c. 860.

Article 3. Office of Consumer Affairs.

§ 3.2-113. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2013, c. 24, cl. 2.

Chapter 2. Preservation of Farm and Forest Lands.

Article 1. Office of Farmland Preservation.

§ 3.2-200. Agricultural Vitality Program continued as Office of Farmland Preservation.

The Agricultural Vitality Program within the Department is continued and hereafter shall be known as the Office of Farmland Preservation.

2001, c. 521, § 3.1-18.9; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-201. Powers and duties of Office of Farmland Preservation.

A. The Office of Farmland Preservation shall have the following powers and duties:

1. To develop, in cooperation with the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the American Farmland Trust, the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, the Virginia Association of Counties, and the Virginia Cooperative Extension: (i) model policies and practices that may be used as a guide to establish local purchase of development rights programs; (ii) criteria for the certification of local purchase of development rights programs as eligible to receive grants, loans or other funds from public sources; and (iii) methods and sources of revenue for allocating funds to localities to purchase agricultural conservation easements;

2. To create programs to educate the public about the importance of farmland preservation to the quality of life in the Commonwealth;

3. To provide technical, professional, and other assistance to farmers on matters related to farmland preservation;

4. To provide technical, professional, and other assistance to local governments interested in developing additional farmland preservation policies and programs. Such policies and programs shall include (i) use value assessment and taxation pursuant to §§ 58.1-3230 and 58.1-3231; (ii) transfer of development rights pursuant to Article 7.1 (§ 15.2-2316.1 et seq.) of Chapter 22 of Title 15.2; (iii) agricultural and forestal districts pursuant to Chapter 43 (§ 15.2-4300 et seq.) of Title 15.2; and (iv) establishment of local lease of development rights; and

5. To administer the Virginia Farm Link program established pursuant to § 3.2-202.

B. State grants shall be distributed to local purchase of development rights programs under policies, procedures, and guidelines developed by the Office of Farmland Preservation. In general, for each $1 in grant moneys awarded by the Office, the applicable local purchase of development rights program of the county or city shall be required to provide a $1 match. However, as part of these policies, procedures, and guidelines developed by the Office, the Office shall include incentives that recognize and encourage counties and cities participating in use value taxation pursuant to Article 4 (§ 58.1-3229 et seq.) of Chapter 32 of Title 58.1.

C. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Virginia Farmland Preservation Fund, hereafter referred to as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. The Fund shall consist of all moneys appropriated to it by the General Assembly and such moneys as may be made available from any other source, public or private. All moneys shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of this chapter. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Commissioner.

2001, c. 521, § 3.1-18.10; 2008, cc. 530, 860; 2009, c. 389; 2011, cc. 95, 160; 2013, c. 482.

§ 3.2-202. Virginia Farm Link program.

There is hereby created the Virginia Farm Link program to provide assistance to retiring farmers and individuals seeking to become active farmers in the transition of farm businesses and properties from retiring farmers to active farmers. Such assistance shall include: (i) assistance in the preparation of business plans for the transition of business interests; (ii) assistance in the facilitation of transfers of existing properties and agricultural operations to interested buyers; (iii) information on innovative farming methods and techniques; and (iv) research assistance on agricultural, financial, marketing, and other matters.

2001, c. 521, § 3.1-18.11; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-203. Reporting requirements.

The Commissioner shall submit a written report on the operation of the Office of Farmland Preservation by December 1 of each year to the chairmen of the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources. The provisions of this chapter shall not preclude local purchase of development rights programs established pursuant to the Open-Space Land Act (§ 10.1-1700 et seq.) from being eligible to receive grants, loans, or other funds from public sources.

2001, c. 521, § 3.1-18.12; 2008, c. 860.

Article 2. Protection of Farm and Forest Lands.

§ 3.2-204. Review of capital projects.

In preparing its report on each major state project, as required in Article 2 (§ 10.1-1188 et seq.) of Chapter 11.1 of Title 10.1, each state agency shall demonstrate that it has considered the impact that project would have on farm and forest lands as required in § 3.2-205, and has adequately considered alternatives and mitigating measures. The Department of Environmental Quality, in conducting its review of each major state project, shall ensure that such consideration has been demonstrated and shall incorporate its evaluation of the effects that project would have on farm and forest lands in its comments to the Governor. The procedures for review of highway and road construction projects established in accordance with subsection B of § 10.1-1188 shall include provisions requiring that the factors listed in § 3.2-205 are considered as part of the review of each project.

1981, c. 635, § 3.1-18.8; 1982, c. 417; 2000, cc. 22, 778; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-205. Characteristics to be considered in evaluating impacts on farm and forest lands.

A. In preparing environmental impact reports in accordance with § 3.2-204, state agencies shall consider the impact of the major state project on all farm and forest lands that:

1. Have soil classified as capability class I, II, III, or IV;

2. Have an exceptional combination of physical characteristics for the production of food, feed, fiber, forest products, forage, oilseed, and other agricultural crops with minimum inputs of fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, and labor, and without intolerable soil erosion;

3. Are valuable for production of specific high-value food and fiber crops, such as fruits, vegetables, and nursery crops and have a special combination of soil quality, location, growing season, and moisture supply needed to economically produce sustained high quality or high yields of such crops when treated and managed according to acceptable farming methods;

4. Are of statewide or local importance for the production of food, feed, fiber, forest products, forage, or oilseed crops;

5. Have been recognized under a state program such as the Clean Water Farm Award or the Century Farm Program;

6. Are part of an agricultural or forestal district or are participating in a use value assessment and taxation program for real estate devoted to agricultural, horticultural, or forest use in accordance with the provisions of Article 4 (§ 58.1-3229 et seq.) of Chapter 32 of Title 58.1; or

7. Make a significant contribution to the local economy or the rural character of the area where the land is located.

B. The governing body of each locality, with the cooperation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, may designate the important farmlands within its jurisdiction. In designating important farmlands the governing body shall demonstrate that adequate provision has been made for nonagricultural uses within its jurisdiction.

C. As used in this chapter, "farmland" includes all land defined as follows:

"Important farmland," other than prime or unique farmland, is land that is of statewide or local importance for the production of food, feed, fiber, forage, nursery, oilseed, or other agricultural crops, as determined by the appropriate state agency or local government agency, and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture determines should be considered as farmland for the purposes of this chapter;

"Prime farmland" is land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, fiber, forage, oilseed, nursery, and other agricultural crops with minimum inputs of fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, and labor, and without intolerable soil erosion. Prime farmland includes land that possesses the above characteristics but is being used currently to produce livestock and timber. It does not include land already in or committed to urban development or water storage; and

"Unique farmland" is land other than prime farmland that is used for production of specific high-value food and fiber crops, as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It has the special combination of soil quality, location, growing season, and moisture supply needed to economically produce sustained high quality or high yields of specific crops when treated and managed according to acceptable farming methods.

1981, c. 635, § 3.1-18.5; 1982, c. 417; 2000, cc. 22, 778; 2003, c. 384; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-206. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2017, c. 5, cl. 2.

Chapter 3. Right to Farm.

§ 3.2-300. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Agricultural operation" means any operation devoted to the bona fide production of crops, or animals, or fowl including the production of fruits and vegetables of all kinds; meat, dairy, and poultry products; nuts, tobacco, nursery, and floral products; and the production and harvest of products from silviculture activity.

"Production agriculture and silviculture" means the bona fide production or harvesting of agricultural or silvicultural products but shall not include the processing of agricultural or silvicultural products or the above ground application or storage of sewage sludge.

1981, c. 384, §§ 3.1-22.28, 3.1-22.29; 1991, c. 293; 1994, c. 779; 2007, c. 444; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-301. Right to farm; restrictive ordinances.

In order to limit the circumstances under which agricultural operations may be deemed to be a nuisance, especially when nonagricultural land uses are initiated near existing agricultural operations, no locality shall adopt any ordinance that requires that a special exception or special use permit be obtained for any production agriculture or silviculture activity in an area that is zoned as an agricultural district or classification. Localities may adopt setback requirements, minimum area requirements, and other requirements that apply to land on which agriculture and silviculture activity is occurring within the locality that is zoned as an agricultural district or classification. No locality shall enact zoning ordinances that would unreasonably restrict or regulate farm structures or farming and forestry practices in an agricultural district or classification unless such restrictions bear a relationship to the health, safety, and general welfare of its citizens. This section shall become effective on April 1, 1995, and from and after that date all land zoned to an agricultural district or classification shall be in conformity with this section.

1981, c. 384, § 3.1-22.28; 1991, c. 293; 1994, c. 779; 2007, c. 444; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 246.

§ 3.2-302. When agricultural operations do not constitute nuisance.

A. No agricultural operation or any of its appurtenances shall be or become a nuisance, private or public, if such operations are conducted in substantial compliance with any applicable best management practices in use by the operation at the time of the alleged nuisance and with any applicable laws and regulations of the Commonwealth relevant to the alleged nuisance. No action shall be brought by any person against any agricultural operation the existence of which was known or reasonably knowable when that person's use or occupancy of his property began.

The provisions of this section shall apply to any nuisance claim brought against any party that has a business relationship with the agricultural operation that is the subject of the alleged nuisance. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any action for negligence or any tort other than a nuisance.

For the purposes of this subsection, "substantial compliance" means a level of compliance with applicable best management practices, laws, or regulations such that any identified deficiency did not cause a nuisance that created a significant risk to human health or safety. Agricultural operations shall be presumed to be in substantial compliance absent a contrary showing.

B. The provisions of subsection A shall not affect or defeat the right of any person to recover damages for any injuries or damages sustained by them on account of any pollution of, or change in condition of, the waters of any stream or on the account of any overflow of lands of any such person.

C. Only persons with an ownership interest in the property allegedly affected by the nuisance may bring an action for private nuisance. Any compensatory damages awarded to any person for a private nuisance action not otherwise prohibited by this section, where the alleged nuisance emanated from an agricultural operation, shall be measured as follows:

1. For a permanent nuisance, by the reduction in fair market value of the person's property caused by the nuisance, but not to exceed the fair market value of the property; or

2. For a temporary nuisance, by the diminution of the fair rental value of the person's property.

The combined recovery from multiple actions for private nuisance brought against any agricultural operation by any person or that person's successor in interest shall not exceed the fair market value of the subject property, regardless of whether any subsequent action is brought against a different defendant than any preceding action.

D. Notwithstanding subsection C, for any nuisance claim not otherwise prohibited by this section, nothing herein shall limit any recovery allowed under common law for physical or mental injuries that arise from such alleged nuisance and are shown by objective and documented medical evidence to have endangered life or health.

E. Any and all ordinances of any unit of local government now in effect or hereafter adopted that would make the operation of any such agricultural operation or its appurtenances a nuisance or providing for abatement thereof as a nuisance in the circumstance set forth in this section are and shall be null and void.

1981, c. 384, § 3.1-22.29; 1994, c. 779; 2008, c. 860; 2018, cc. 147, 677.

Chapter 3.1. Governor's Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund.

§ 3.2-303. Definitions.

A. As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Agricultural products" means crops, livestock, and livestock products, including field crops, fruits, vegetables, horticultural specialties, cattle, sheep, hogs, goats, horses, poultry, fur-bearing animals, milk, eggs, aquaculture, commercially harvested wild fish, commercially harvested wild shellfish, and furs.

"Agriculture and forestry processing/value-added facilities" means any for-profit or nonprofit business that creates value-added agricultural or forestal products.

"Forestal products" means saw timber, pulpwood, posts, firewood, Christmas trees, and other tree and wood products for sale or for farm use.

"New job" means employment of an indefinite duration, created as the direct result of the private investment, for which the firm pays the wages and standard fringe benefits for its employee, requiring a minimum of either (i) 35 hours of the employee's time a week for the entire normal year of the firm's operations, which "normal year" shall consist of at least 48 weeks, or (ii) 1,680 hours per year. Seasonal or temporary positions, positions created when a job function is shifted from an existing location in the Commonwealth to the location of the economic development project, positions with suppliers, and multiplier or spin-off jobs shall not qualify as new jobs. The term "new job" shall include positions with contractors provided that all requirements included within the definition of the term are met.

"Prevailing average wage" means that amount determined by the Virginia Employment Commission to be the average wage paid workers in the city or county of the Commonwealth where the economic development project is located. The prevailing average wage shall be determined without regard to any fringe benefits.

"Private investment" means the private investment required under this chapter.

"Value-added agricultural or forestal products" means any agricultural or forestal product that (i) has undergone a change in physical state; (ii) was produced in a manner that enhances the value of the agricultural commodity or product; (iii) is physically segregated in a manner that results in the enhancement of the value of the agricultural or forestal product; (iv) is a source of renewable energy; or (v) is aggregated and marketed as a locally produced agricultural or forestal product.

2012, cc. 466, 622; 2016, c. 169.

§ 3.2-304. Governor's Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund established; purpose; use of funds.

A. There is hereby created in the state treasury a nonreverting fund to be known as the Governor's Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (the Fund) to be used by the Governor to attract new and expanding agriculture and forestry processing/value-added facilities using Virginia-grown products. The Fund shall consist of any funds appropriated to it by the general appropriation act and revenue from any other source, public or private. The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller, and any funds remaining in the Fund at the end of a biennium shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Interest earned on the Fund shall be credited to the Fund. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller. The Governor shall report to the Chairmen of the House Committees on Appropriations and Finance and the Senate Committee on Finance as funds are awarded in accordance with this chapter.

B. Funds shall be awarded from the Fund by the Governor as grants or loans to political subdivisions. The criteria for making such grants or loans shall include (i) amount of jobs expected to be created, (ii) anticipated amount of private capital investment, (iii) anticipated additional state tax revenue expected to accrue to the state and affected localities as a result of the capital investment and jobs created, (iv) anticipated amount of Virginia-grown agricultural and forestal products used by the project, (v) projected impact on agricultural and forestal producers, (vi) a return on investment analysis to determine the appropriate size of any grant or loan, and (vii) an analysis of the impact on competing businesses already located in the area.

C. Funds may be used for public and private utility extension or capacity development on and off site; public and private installation, extension, or capacity development of high-speed or broadband Internet access, whether on or off site; road, rail, or other transportation access costs beyond the funding capability of existing programs; site acquisition; grading, drainage, paving, and any other activity required to prepare a site for construction; construction or build-out of publicly or privately owned buildings; training; or grants or loans to an industrial development authority, housing and redevelopment authority, or other political subdivision for purposes directly relating to any of the foregoing. However, in no case shall funds from the Fund be used, directly or indirectly, to pay or guarantee the payment for any rental, lease, license, or other contractual right to the use of any property.

D. Moneys in the Fund shall not be used for any economic development project in which a business relocates or expands its operations in one or more Virginia localities and simultaneously closes its operations or substantially reduces the number of its employees in another Virginia locality. The Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry shall enforce this policy and for any exception thereto shall promptly provide written notice to the Chairmen of the Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees, which notice shall include a justification for any exception to such policy.

E. The Governor shall provide grants and commitments from the Fund in an amount not to exceed the dollar amount contained in the Fund. If the Governor commits funds for years beyond the fiscal years covered under the existing appropriation act, the State Treasurer shall set aside and reserve the funds the Governor has committed, and the funds shall remain in the Fund for those future fiscal years. No grant shall be payable in the years beyond the existing appropriation act unless the funds are currently available in the Fund.

2012, cc. 466, 622.

§ 3.2-305. Guidelines and criteria for awarding grants from Fund.

The Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, in consultation with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Virginia Department of Forestry, shall assist the Governor in developing objective guidelines and criteria that shall be used in awarding grants from the Fund. The guidelines may include a requirement for the affected localities to provide matching funds, which may be cash or in-kind, at the discretion of the Governor. The guidelines may require that as a condition of receiving any grant incentive that is based on employment goals, a recipient company must provide copies of employer quarterly payroll reports provided to the Virginia Employment Commission to verify the employment status of any position included in the employment goal. The guidelines and criteria shall include provisions for geographic diversity, a requirement that a project purchase a minimum percentage of Virginia-grown or Virginia-produced agricultural or forestal products to which its processes are adding value, and a cap on the amount of funds to be provided to any individual project.

2012, cc. 466, 622; 2013, c. 547.

§ 3.2-306. Contractual obligations of entities receiving grants or loans from the Fund.

A. Notwithstanding any provision in this chapter or in the guidelines established pursuant to § 3.2-305, each political subdivision that receives a grant or loan from the Fund shall enter into a contract with each business beneficiary of moneys from the Fund. A person or entity shall be a business beneficiary of funds from the Fund if grant or loan moneys awarded from the Fund by the Governor are paid to a political subdivision and (i) subsequently distributed by the political subdivision to the person or entity or (ii) used by the political subdivision for the benefit of the person or entity but never distributed to the person or entity.

B. The contract between the political subdivision and the business beneficiary shall provide in detail (i) the fair market value of all funds that the Commonwealth has committed to provide, (ii) the fair market value of all matching funds (or in-kind match) that the political subdivision has agreed to provide, (iii) how funds committed by the Commonwealth, including funds from the Fund committed by the Governor, and funds that the political subdivision has agreed to provide are to be spent, (iv) the minimum private investment to be made and the number of new jobs projected to be created by the business beneficiary, (v) the minimum percentage of Virginia-grown or produced agricultural or forestal products to be purchased by the business beneficiary, (vi) the average wage (excluding fringe benefits) projected to be paid in the new jobs, (vii) the prevailing average wage, and (viii) the formula, means, or processes agreed to be used for measuring compliance with the minimum private investment and new jobs projections, including consideration of any layoffs instituted by the business beneficiary over the course of the period covered by the contract.

C. The contract shall state the date by which the agreed-upon private investment and minimum purchases of Virginia-grown agricultural and forestal products shall be met by the business beneficiary of moneys from the Fund and may provide for the political subdivision to grant up to a 15-month extension of such date if deemed appropriate by the political subdivision subsequent to the execution of the contract. Any extension of such date granted by the political subdivision shall be in writing and promptly delivered to the business beneficiary, and the political subdivision shall simultaneously provide a copy of the extension to the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.

D. The contract shall provide that if the private investment and minimum purchase requirements are not met by the expiration of the date stipulated in the contract, including any extension granted by the political subdivision, the business beneficiary shall be liable to the political subdivision for repayment of a portion of the funds provided under the contract. The contract shall include a formula for purposes of determining the portion of such funds to be repaid. The formula shall, in part, be based upon the fair market value of all funds that have been provided by the Commonwealth and the political subdivision and the extent to which the business beneficiary has met the private investment and minimum purchase requirements. Any such funds repaid to the political subdivision that relate to the award from the Fund shall promptly be paid by the political subdivision to the Commonwealth by payment remitted to the State Treasurer. Upon receipt by the State Treasurer of such payment, the Comptroller shall deposit the repaid funds into the Fund.

The contract shall be amended to reflect changes in the funds committed by the Commonwealth or agreed to be provided by the political subdivision.

2012, cc. 466, 622.

§ 3.2-307. Copy of proposed contract to be submitted to the Attorney General.

Notwithstanding any provision in this chapter or in the guidelines established pursuant to § 3.2-305, prior to executing any such contract with a business beneficiary, the political subdivision shall provide a copy of the proposed contract to the Attorney General. The Attorney General shall review the proposed contract (i) for enforceability as to its provisions and (ii) to ensure that it is in appropriate legal form. The Attorney General shall provide any written suggestions to the political subdivision within seven days of his receipt of the copy of the contract. The Attorney General's suggestions shall be limited to the enforceability of the contract's provisions and the legal form of the contract.

2012, cc. 466, 622.

§ 3.2-308. Disposition of award by locality.

Notwithstanding any provision in this chapter or in the guidelines established pursuant to § 3.2-305, a political subdivision shall not expend, distribute, pledge, use as security, or otherwise use any award from the Fund unless and until such contract is executed with the business beneficiary.

2012, cc. 466, 622.

§ 3.2-309. Report submitted to chairmen of legislative committees.

Within the 30 days immediately following June 30 and December 30 of each year, the Governor shall provide a report to the Chairmen of the House Committees on Appropriations and Finance and the Senate Committee on Finance which shall include the following information regarding each grant or loan awarded from the Fund during the immediately preceding six-month period for economic development projects: the name of the company that is the business beneficiary of the grant and the type of business in which it engages; the location (county, city, or town) of the project; the amount of the grant committed from the Fund and the amount of all other funds committed by the Commonwealth from other sources and the purpose for which such grants or other funds will be used; the amount of all moneys or funds agreed to be provided by political subdivisions and the purposes for which they will be used; the number of new jobs projected to be created by the business beneficiary; the amount of investment in the project agreed to be made by the business beneficiary; the minimum purchase agreed to be made of Virginia-grown agricultural and forestal products; projected impact on agricultural and forestal producers; the timetable for the completion of the project and new jobs created; the prevailing average wage; and the average wage (excluding fringe benefits) projected to be paid in the new jobs.

2012, cc. 466, 622.

Chapter 4. Agricultural Stewardship.

§ 3.2-400. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Agricultural activity" means any activity used in the production of food and fiber, including farming, feedlots, grazing livestock, poultry raising, dairy farming, and aquaculture activities.

"Agricultural stewardship plan" or "plan" means a site-specific plan for an agricultural activity to manage, through use of stewardship measures, one or more of the following: soil, water, plants, plant nutrients, pest controls, wastes, and animals.

"Board" means the Soil and Water Conservation Board.

"Complaint" means an allegation made by any person to the Commissioner that an owner's or operator's agricultural activity is creating or, if not changed, will create pollution and that states the location and nature of such agricultural activity.

"District" or "soil and water conservation district" means a political subdivision of the Commonwealth organized in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 5 (§ 10.1-500 et seq.) of Title 10.1.

"Informal fact-finding conference" means an informal fact-finding conference conducted in accordance with § 2.2-4019.

"Operator" means any person who exercises managerial control over any agricultural activity.

"Owner" means any person who owns land where an agricultural activity occurs.

"Pollution" means any alteration of the physical, chemical, or biological properties of any state waters resulting from sedimentation, nutrients, or toxins.

"State waters" means all water, on the surface or in the ground, wholly or partially within or bordering the Commonwealth or within its jurisdiction.

"Stewardship measures" or "measures" means measures for controlling the addition of pollutants from existing and new categories and classes of nonpoint sources of pollution that reflect the pollutant reduction achievable through the application of the best available nonpoint pollution control methods, technologies, processes, siting criteria, operating methods, or other alternatives.

"Stewardship measures" or "measures" includes: (i) agricultural water quality protection management measures described in the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Manual; and (ii) agricultural water quality protection management measures contained in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service Field Office Technical Guide.

1996, c. 773, § 10.1-559.1; 2000, c. 973; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-401. Exclusions from chapter.

This chapter shall not apply to any agricultural activity to which: (i) Article 12 (§ 10.1-1181.1 et seq.) of Chapter 11 of Title 10.1; or (ii) a permit issued by the State Water Control Board, applies.

1996, c. 773, § 10.1-559.2; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-402. Complaint; investigation; agricultural stewardship plan.

A. After April 1, 1997, upon receiving a complaint, unless the complaint was made anonymously, the Commissioner shall request that the directors of the district where the land lies determine the validity of the information within 21 days. The Commissioner may investigate or ask the directors of the district to investigate an anonymous complaint.

B. The district chairman may, on behalf of the district, act upon or reject the Commissioner's request. If the district declines to act, it shall within five days so advise the Commissioner, who shall determine the validity of the complaint.

C. If, after investigating a complaint, the Commissioner determines that substantial evidence exists to prove that an agricultural activity is creating or will create pollution, the Commissioner shall notify the owner or operator by registered mail, return receipt requested. If, after investigation, the Commissioner determines that the pollution is a direct result of unusual weather events or other exceptional circumstances that could not have been reasonably anticipated, or determines that the pollution is not a threat to human health, animal health, or aquatic life, water quality or recreational or other beneficial uses, the Commissioner may forego any additional action. Copies of the notice shall be sent to the district where the agricultural activity is located. The notice shall state that, within 60 days of the receipt of the notice, the owner or operator shall submit to the Commissioner and district an agricultural stewardship plan that includes stewardship measures needed to prevent or cease the pollution. The district shall review the plan and, if the plan includes such measures, the Commissioner shall approve the plan within 30 days after he receives it. Upon approving the owner's or operator's plan, the Commissioner shall inform the owner or operator and the complainant that a plan has been approved. The owner or operator shall begin implementing the approved agricultural stewardship plan within six months of the date that the owner or operator received the notice that the agricultural activity is creating or will create pollution.

D. The plan shall include an implementation schedule, and implementation of the plan shall be completed within a period specified by the Commissioner, based upon the seasons and other temporal considerations so that the period is that during which the possibility of success in establishment or construction of the measures required in the plan is the greatest, which shall not exceed 18 months from receipt of notice. The Commissioner may grant an extension of up to 180 days if: (i) a hardship exists; and (ii) the request for an extension was made not later than 60 days before the scheduled completion date. The Commissioner shall, within 30 days of receiving the request, inform the owner or operator whether or not an extension has been granted.

E. After implementing the approved plan according to the provisions of this chapter, the owner or operator shall maintain the stewardship measures established pursuant to the plan. The owner or operator may change the agricultural activity so long as the Commissioner is notified.

F. If the Commissioner determines that substantial evidence does not exist to prove that an agricultural activity is creating or will create pollution or that any pollution was caused by unusual weather events or other exceptional circumstances or that the pollution is not a threat to human health, animal health, or aquatic life or recreational or other beneficial uses, he shall inform the complainant and the owner or operator of his determination. Upon approving the owner's or operator's agricultural stewardship plan, the Commissioner shall inform the owner or operator and the complainant that a plan has been approved.

1996, c. 773, § 10.1-559.3; 2000, c. 973; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-403. Issuance of corrective orders.

A. If any owner or operator who has been issued a notice under § 3.2-402 fails to submit an agricultural stewardship plan, begin actively implementing the plan, complete implementation of the plan, or maintain the stewardship measures as provided in § 3.2-402, the Commissioner shall issue a corrective order to such owner or operator. The order shall require that such activity be accomplished within a stated period of time.

B. A corrective order issued pursuant to subsection A shall be issued only after an informal fact-finding conference, with reasonable notice being given to the owner or operator, or both, of the time, place, and purpose thereof, and shall become effective not less than five days after date of delivery to the last known address as provided in subsection C. The corrective order shall be suspended pending appeal by the recipient made within five days after delivery of such order to the last known address of the owner or operator.

C. The Commissioner shall mail a copy of the corrective order by certified mail, return receipt requested, sent to the last known address of the owner or operator, or by personal delivery by an agent of the Commonwealth.

D. Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, if the Commissioner determines that a recurring polluting condition that is the subject of an approved plan is occurring or that an emergency condition exists due to runoff from an agricultural activity that is causing or is likely to cause an imminent or substantial danger to: (i) the public health, safety, or welfare or to the health of animals, fish, or aquatic life; (ii) a public water supply; or (iii) recreational, commercial, industrial, agricultural, or other beneficial uses, the Commissioner may issue, without advance notice, informal fact-finding conference, or hearing, an emergency corrective order. Such order may direct the owner or operator of the agricultural activity, or both, to cease immediately all or part of the agricultural activity and to implement specified stewardship measures or any necessary emergency measures within a stated period of time. Following the issuance of an emergency corrective order, the Commissioner shall provide the opportunity for a hearing or an informal fact-finding conference, after reasonable notice as to the time and place thereof, to the owner or operator, for the purpose of affirming, modifying, amending, or canceling the emergency corrective order.

E. The Commissioner shall not issue a corrective order to any land owner or operator if the person is:

1. Actively implementing the agricultural stewardship plan that has been reviewed by the district where the agricultural activity is located and approved by the Commissioner, or

2. Actively implementing stewardship measures that have failed to prevent pollution, if the Commissioner determines that the pollution is a direct result of unusual weather events or other exceptional circumstances that could not have been reasonably anticipated.

1996, c. 773, § 10.1-559.4; 2000, c. 973; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-404. Right of entry; court enforcement.

A. The district or the Commissioner may enter land that is the subject of a complaint, after notice to the owner or operator, to determine whether the agricultural activity is causing or will cause pollution of state waters.

B. Upon failure of any owner or operator to allow the Commissioner entry in accordance with subsection A, to implement stewardship measures in the time specified in a corrective order, or to maintain stewardship measures in accordance with subsection E of § 3.2-402, the Commissioner may present to the circuit court of the county or city where the land is located, a petition asking the court to require the owner or operator to allow the Commissioner entry or to carry out such measures within a specified time. If the owner or operator fails to implement the stewardship measures specified in the court order, the Commissioner may enter the land involved and implement the measures. The Commissioner may recover the costs of implementing the stewardship measures from the owner or operator.

1996, c. 773, § 10.1-559.5; 2000, c. 973; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-405. Appeal.

Decisions of the Commissioner may be appealed by persons aggrieved to the Board and thereafter to the circuit court in accordance with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.). The imposition of any civil penalty shall be suspended pending such appeals.

1996, c. 773, § 10.1-559.6; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-406. Penalties; injunctions; enforcement actions.

A. Any person violating § 3.2-403 or 3.2-404 shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for every violation assessed by the Commissioner or Board. Each day the violation continues is a separate offense. Payments to satisfy such penalties shall be deposited in a nonreverting, special fund to be used by the Department of Conservation and Recreation to provide financial assistance to persons implementing measures specified in the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Manual. No person who has been assessed a civil penalty under this section shall be eligible for such financial assistance until the violation has been corrected and the penalty paid.

B. In determining the amount of any penalty, factors to be considered shall include the willfulness of the violation, any history of noncompliance, the actions of the owner or operator in notifying, containing and cleaning up any discharge, the damage or injury to state waters or the impairment of its uses, and the nature and degree of injury to or interference with general health, welfare and property.

C. The Attorney General shall, upon request, bring an action for an injunction or other appropriate legal action on behalf of the Commissioner or Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter.

1996, c. 773, § 10.1-559.7; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-407. Liens.

If a person who is required to pay a civil penalty under this chapter fails to do so, the Commissioner may transmit a true copy of the order assessing such penalty to the clerk of the circuit court of any county or city wherein it is ascertained that the person owing such penalty has any estate; and the clerk to whom such copy is transmitted shall record it, as a judgment is required by law to be recorded, and shall index it in the name of the Commonwealth as well as in the name of the person owing the civil penalty, and thereupon there shall be a lien in favor of the Commonwealth on the property within such locality of the person owing the civil penalty in the amount of the civil penalty. The Commissioner and Board may collect civil penalties that are owed in the same manner as provided by law in respect to judgment of a circuit court.

1996, c. 773, § 10.1-559.8; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-408. Guidelines to be published by Commissioner; report.

A. In consultation with the districts, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and interested persons, the Commissioner shall develop guidelines for the implementation of this chapter. These guidelines shall address, among other things, the conduct of investigations, sources of assistance for owners and operators, and intergovernmental cooperation. Within 90 days of the effective date of this section, the Commissioner shall submit the proposed guidelines to the Registrar of Regulations for publication in the Virginia Register of Regulations. At least 30 days shall be provided for public comment after the publication of the proposed guidelines. After the close of the public comment period, the Commissioner shall consider the comments that he has received and may incorporate any changes into the guidelines that he deems appropriate. He shall develop a written summary and analysis of the comments, which shall be made available to the public upon request. Thereafter, the Commissioner shall submit final guidelines for publication in the Register. The guidelines shall become effective on April 1, 1997. The Commissioner may alter the guidelines periodically after his proposed changes have been published in the Register and a public comment period has been provided.

B. The Commissioner shall compile a report by August 31 annually listing the number of complaints received, the nature of each complaint, the actions taken in resolution of each complaint, and any penalties that may have been assessed. The Commissioner shall have the discretion to exclude and keep confidential specific information regarding ongoing investigations. The Commissioner shall: (i) provide the report to the Board, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and to every district; (ii) publish notice in the Virginia Register that the report is available; and (iii) make the report available to the public upon request.

1996, c. 773, § 10.1-559.9; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-409. Ordinances.

A. Any locality may adopt an ordinance creating a complaint, investigation, and agricultural stewardship plan development program. Ordinances adopted hereunder may contain only provisions that parallel §§ 3.2-401 and 3.2-402. No such ordinance shall provide for the imposition of civil or criminal sanctions against an operator or owner who fails to implement a plan. If an owner or operator fails to implement a plan, the local governing body shall submit a complaint to the Commissioner as provided in § 3.2-402.

B. This section shall not apply to any ordinance (i) in existence on July 1, 1996 or (ii) adopted pursuant to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (§ 62.1-44.15:67 et seq.).

1996, c. 773, § 10.1-559.10; 2008, c. 860; 2013, cc. 756, 793.

§ 3.2-410. Construction of chapter.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as duplicative of regulations governing agricultural practices under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (§ 62.1-44.15:67 et seq.).

1996, c. 773, § 10.1-559.11; 2008, c. 860; 2013, cc. 756, 793.

Chapter 5. Farmer Major Drought, Flood, and Hurricane Disaster Assistance.

§ 3.2-500. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Farmer" means any person who derives at least 75 percent of his gross income from a farming operation in the Commonwealth as reported on his federal income tax forms the previous year, or a farmer who receives or is eligible to receive a federal loan and who owns or leases land that would be eligible for special tax assessments pursuant to Article 4 (§ 58.1-3229 et seq.) of Chapter 32 of Title 58.1. It shall not be necessary for any locality to adopt an ordinance pursuant to § 58.1-3231 in order to effectuate the provisions of this section relating to special tax assessments.

"Major disaster" means any hurricane, flood, or drought that would warrant a disaster declaration request by the Governor pursuant to the provisions of Section 301 of Public Law 93-288, 42 U.S.C. § 5141.

1978, c. 837, § 3.1-22.17; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-501. Declaration by Governor.

The provisions of this chapter shall be effective from the time that the Governor makes a request pursuant to Section 301 of Public Law 93-288, 42 U.S.C. § 5141, until the Governor declares that the effects of the disaster have been abated.

1978, c. 837, § 3.1-22.16; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-502. Administration.

The Commissioner shall establish administrative procedures necessary to give effect to this chapter including the adoption of regulations.

1978, c. 837, § 3.1-22.21; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-503. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2016, c. 588, cl. 10, effective October 1, 2016.

§ 3.2-504. Loans.

The Governor or his designee may approve a loan to any farmer who has suffered the effects of a major disaster upon the recommendation of the Commissioner and subject to the following terms and conditions:

1. The assistance provided for in this section shall not be extended unless the farmer has applied for and received approval for a loan exceeding the amount requested pursuant hereto from any federal agency providing disaster relief loans. Upon approval of a loan by such federal agency, the Governor or his designee may approve a loan not to exceed $10,000.

2. The loan shall be available only for operating expenses for the farming operation.

3. No interest shall be charged for the loan.

4. Repayment shall be made within one year or upon receipt of loan funds from any federal agency providing disaster relief, whichever is sooner. The Department may require the farmer to provide sufficient security or to make provision for direct payment from federal lending agencies of the entire amount of the loan made pursuant to this chapter as a condition of granting the loan.

5. A maximum of $10,000 may be loaned any one farmer. The Governor at his discretion may reduce or increase the maximum amount of the loan.

6. The availability of loans provided for in this section shall be based on and subject to the moneys accumulated in the Farmers Major Disaster Fund established in § 3.2-506.

1978, c. 837, § 3.1-22.18; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-505. Emergency services.

A. The Commissioner may develop and initiate programs of general relief to farmers affected by major disasters and to expend moneys from the Farmers Major Disaster Fund in order to implement such programs. Programs created pursuant hereto shall include but not be limited to the following:

1. Programs to assist farmers in their feed needs including the supplying of feed at cost.

2. Programs to provide supplemental manpower to those state and federal agencies involved in relief efforts to aid farmers.

B. Any locality may develop and initiate a grant program to supply emergency financial assistance to farmers in the locality to offset a portion of any operating losses resulting from a major disaster as declared by the Governor pursuant to § 44-146.17.

1978, c. 837, § 3.1-22.19; 2000, c. 16; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-506. Farmers Major Disaster Fund established.

There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Farmers Major Disaster Fund, hereafter referred to as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All moneys allocated by the Governor from appropriations made to the Governor for disaster planning and operations pursuant to the declaration of the state disaster under Chapter 3.2 (§ 44-146.13 et seq.) of Title 44 shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purposes of emergency services programs pursuant to § 3.2-505 and all loans made pursuant to this chapter. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Commissioner.

1978, c. 837, § 3.1-22.20; 2008, c. 860.

Chapter 6. Return and Future Administration of Assets of Virginia Rural Rehabilitation Corporation.

§ 3.2-600. Commissioner designated to apply for and receive trust assets held by United States.

The Commissioner is designated as the Commonwealth official to make application to and receive from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or any other proper federal official, pursuant and subject to the provisions of the federal Rural Rehabilitation Corporation Trust Liquidation Act (40 U.S.C. § 440 et seq.), the trust assets, either funds or property, held by the United States as trustee on behalf of the Virginia Rural Rehabilitation Corporation.

Code 1950, § 3-27.1; 1952, c. 118; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-23; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-601. Agreements of Commissioner with U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Commissioner, with the advice of the Board, may enter into agreements with the U.S. Department of Agriculture pursuant to § 2 (f) of the federal Rural Rehabilitation Corporation Trust Liquidation Act (40 U.S.C. § 440 et seq.), upon such terms and conditions and for such periods of time as may be mutually agreeable, authorizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to accept, administer, expend, and use in the Commonwealth all or any part of such trust assets for carrying out the purposes of Titles I and II of the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act, in accordance with the applicable provisions of Title IV thereof, as now or hereafter amended, and may do any and all things necessary to effectuate and carry out the purposes of said agreements.

Code 1950, § 3-27.2; 1952, c. 118; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-24; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-602. Virginia Farm Loan Revolving Account.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, funds and the proceeds of the trust assets that are not authorized to be administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the provisions of § 3.2-601 shall be paid to and received by the Commissioner and by him paid into the state treasury for credit to an account to be known as the "Virginia Farm Loan Revolving Account." The entire amount so received, together with any moneys appropriated for such purposes, is hereby appropriated out of the Virginia Farm Loan Revolving Account for expenditure by the Commissioner for such of the rural rehabilitation purposes permissible under the charter of the now dissolved Virginia Rural Rehabilitation Corporation, as may from time to time be agreed upon by the Commissioner and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, subject to the applicable provisions of the federal Rural Rehabilitation Corporation Trust Liquidation Act (40 U.S.C. § 440 et seq.), or for the purposes of § 3.2-601. Such expenditure shall be paid by the State Treasurer on warrants of the Comptroller issued on vouchers signed by the Commissioner.

Code 1950, § 3-27.3; 1952, c. 118; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-25; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-603. Further powers of Commissioner; delegation to Secretary of Agriculture.

The Commissioner may:

1. Collect, compromise, adjust, or cancel claims and obligations arising out of or administered under this chapter or under any mortgage, lease, contract, or agreement entered into or administered pursuant to this chapter and, if in his judgment necessary and advisable, pursue the same to final collection in any appropriate court;

2. Bid for and purchase at any execution, foreclosure, or other sale, or otherwise to acquire property where the Commissioner has a lien by reason of judgment or execution, or that is pledged, mortgaged, conveyed, or otherwise secures any loan or other indebtedness owing to or acquired by the Commissioner under this chapter; and

3. Accept title to any property so purchased or acquired; to operate or lease such property for such period as may be deemed necessary to protect the investment therein; and to sell or otherwise dispose of such property in a manner consistent with the provisions of this chapter.

The authority herein contained may be delegated to the U.S. Department of Agriculture with respect to funds or assets authorized to be administered and used by him under agreements entered into pursuant to § 3.2-601.

Code 1950, § 3-27.4; 1952, c. 118; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-26; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-604. Liability of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The United States and the Secretary of Agriculture thereof shall be held free from liability by virtue of the transfer of assets to the Commissioner pursuant to this chapter.

Code 1950, § 3-27.5; 1952, c. 118; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-27; 2008, c. 860.

Chapter 7. Tree and Crop Pests.

Article 1. Pests.

§ 3.2-700. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Certificate" means a document issued or authorized by the Commissioner indicating that a regulated article is not contaminated with a pest.

"Host" means any plant or plant product upon which a pest is dependent for completion of any portion of its life cycle.

"Infested" means actually infested or infected with a pest or so exposed to infestation that it would be reasonable to believe that an infestation exists.

"Move" means to ship, offer for shipment, receive for transportation, carry, or otherwise transport, move or allow to be moved.

"Permit" means a document issued or authorized by the Commissioner to provide for the movement of regulated articles to restricted destinations for limited handling, utilization, or processing.

"Person" means the term as defined in § 1-230. The term also means any society.

"Pest" means an insect, disease, parasitic plant, or other organism of any character whatever, in any living stage, vertebrate or invertebrate, causing or capable of causing injury or damage to any plant or part thereof or any processed, manufactured, or other product of plants, or otherwise creating a public nuisance.

"Regulated article" means any article of any character carrying or capable of carrying the pest against which the quarantine is directed.

1975, c. 29, § 3.1-188.20; 1980, c. 291; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-701. Administration; regulations.

The Commissioner shall protect the agricultural, horticultural, and other interests of the Commonwealth from plant pests and supervise and direct the execution of this article and regulations adopted hereunder.

1975, c. 29, § 3.1-188.21; 1980, c. 291; 2000, c. 730; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-702. Abundance surveys; eradication or suppression of pests.

The Commissioner shall direct abundance surveys for plant pests and may carry out operations or measures to locate, suppress, control, eradicate, prevent, or retard the spread of pests. When the Commissioner determines that a new or dangerous or highly injurious plant pest exists within the Commonwealth or that an established pest requires control and the nature of the pest dictates immediate action, he may proceed with eradication or suppression. Provided further, that whenever the Commissioner intends to go upon any property for the purpose of eradicating or suppressing pests, he shall before entering upon any such property, give a written notice to the owner or occupant thereof at least 24 hours prior to such entry, setting forth in detail the purpose or purposes for which such entry shall be made.

In the event the Commissioner determines a plant pest does not require immediate action, he shall report his findings, including the nature of the pest and method of proposed treatment, to the Board in writing and to the property owners or persons in charge of the property concerned by printing a copy thereof, at least once, in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the locality concerned. In case of objection to the action proposed, an appeal shall lie to the Board. Such appeal shall be taken within seven days from the issue of the notice and shall act as a stay of proceedings insofar as the property of the person noting the appeal is concerned until it is heard and decided.

1975, c. 29, § 3.1-188.22; 1980, c. 291; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-703. Authority to quarantine.

The Board may quarantine the Commonwealth or any portion thereof when it determines that such action is necessary to prevent or retard the spread of a pest into, within, or from the Commonwealth. Before a quarantine is adopted, the Board shall, after due public notice, hold a public hearing in accordance with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), at which hearing any interested party may appear and be heard either in person or by attorney. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 2.2-4002 or any other law to the contrary, the Commissioner may impose a temporary quarantine for a period not to exceed 90 days. A public hearing, as provided herein, shall be held if it appears that a quarantine for more than the 90-day period will be necessary to prevent or retard the spread of the pest. The Commissioner shall give notice of the establishment of the quarantine in a newspaper having general circulation in the area affected by the quarantine. The Commissioner may limit the application of the temporary or permanent quarantine to the infested area and appropriate environs, to be known as the regulated areas, and may without further hearing extend or reduce the regulated area upon publication of a notice to that effect in a newspaper having general circulation in the area affected by the quarantine or by direct written notice to those concerned. Any temporary quarantine imposed by the Commissioner or any extensions or reductions in the regulated areas pursuant to this section shall be reviewed by the Board at its next regularly scheduled meeting, such review by the Board shall be made within 90 days of the Commissioner's action.

Following establishment of a quarantine, no person shall move any regulated article described in the quarantine or move the pest against which the quarantine is established, within, from, into, or through the Commonwealth contrary to regulations.

The regulations may restrict the movement of the pest and any regulated articles from the regulated area in the Commonwealth into or through other parts of the Commonwealth or other states and from the regulated area in other states into or through the Commonwealth and shall impose such inspection, disinfection, certification, or permit and other requirements as the Commissioner deems necessary to effectuate the purposes of this article. The Commissioner may issue administrative instructions relating to the enforcement of regulations including acceptable certification procedures, regulated articles, and exemptions.

1975, c. 29, § 3.1-188.23; 1980, c. 291; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-704. Quarantine against regulated articles in other states.

When the Board has good reason to believe in the existence of infested regulated articles in localities in other states, territories, or countries, or that conditions exist that, in the judgment of the Board, render the importation of such regulated articles from such localities a menace to the health of the Commonwealth, the Board shall, by proclamation, prohibit the importation of any regulated article from any locality of other states, territories, or countries, into the Commonwealth.

1975, c. 29, § 3.1-188.24; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-705. Authority for abatement and other emergency measures; compensation to property owners.

Whenever the Commissioner finds any article that is infested or reasonably believed to be infested or a host or pest exists on any property or is in transit in the Commonwealth, he may require full information as to origin, number and destination of same and, upon giving notice to the owner or his agent in possession thereof, seize, quarantine, treat, or otherwise dispose of such pest, host, or article in such manner as the Commissioner deems necessary to suppress, control, eradicate, prevent, or retard the spread of a pest; or the Commissioner may order such owner or agent to so treat or otherwise dispose of the pest, host, or article. The owner of any property destroyed or ordered to be treated or otherwise disposed of under this section may, in an action against the Commonwealth in the appropriate court, recover just compensation for any property so destroyed or the reasonable costs of disposal of any property so ordered if he establishes that the property was not a pest, or a host, or an infested article.

1975, c. 29, § 3.1-188.25; 1980, c. 291; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-706. Authority for inspections; warrants.

To effectuate the purpose of this article, the Commissioner may, with a warrant or with the consent of the owner, make reasonable inspections of any property in the Commonwealth and may, without a warrant, stop and inspect, in a reasonable manner, any means of conveyance moving within the Commonwealth, upon probable cause that it contains or carries any pest, host, or other regulated article subject to this article, and may make any other reasonable inspection of any property or means of conveyance for which, under the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Commonwealth, no warrant is required.

In accordance with § 19.2-52, the appropriate persons have authority to issue warrants for such inspections upon a showing by the Commissioner that there is probable cause to believe that there exists in or on the property to be inspected a pest, host, or other regulated article subject to this article.

1975, c. 29, § 3.1-188.26; 1980, c. 291; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-707. Cooperation with other agencies and private organizations.

When the Commissioner deems it necessary to suppress, control, eradicate, prevent, or retard the spread of any pest, he may cooperate with:

1. Any agency of the federal government, and may expend state funds on federal lands;

2. Any agency of an adjacent state if the use of funds appropriated to carry out this article for operations in an adjacent are approved in advance by the Governor or his designee;

3. Any agency of a local government within the Commonwealth; and

4. Any public and private organizations within the Commonwealth.

1975, c. 29, § 3.1-188.27; 1990, c. 370; 2000, c. 730; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-708. Cooperative Suppression Program Fund established.

The Cooperative Suppression Program Fund is hereby established as a special fund on the books of the State Comptroller, and all moneys credited to such fund are hereby appropriated for the purpose set forth in the Department's Gypsy Moth Cooperative Suppression Program Guidelines and shall be used exclusively for the administration of the Cooperative Suppression Program. Moneys for such fund may be derived from appropriations from the general fund of the state treasury; grants of private or government money designated for specified activities pursuant to the Suppression Program; fees for services rendered pursuant to the Suppression Program; payment for products, equipment, or material or any other thing supplied by the Commissioner; payment for educational publications, materials or supplies provided by the Commissioner, and grants, bequests and donations. All funds collected for, appropriated, or received by the Commissioner shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Gypsy Moth Cooperative Suppression Program Fund. No part of such fund shall revert to the general fund of the state treasury.

1990, c. 370, § 3.1-188.27:1; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-709. Authority for compensation to growers in infested areas.

The Commissioner, when he determines that it is necessary to fulfill the objectives of this article, may authorize the payment of reasonable compensation to growers in infested areas for eliminating or not planting host crops, or otherwise controlling the target pest, pursuant to instructions issued by the Commissioner or for losses or expenses resulting from the destruction of any host or regulated articles. No payment shall be authorized for the destruction of regulated articles moved in violation of any regulation or any hosts planted contrary to instructions issued by the Commissioner.

1975, c. 29, § 3.1-188.28; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-710. Penalties.

A. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this article, or who alters, forges, or counterfeits, or uses without authority any certificate or permit or other document provided for in this article or in the regulations of the Board adopted hereunder is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. Any person who has knowingly moved any regulated article into the Commonwealth from any quarantined area of any other state, which regulated article has not been treated or handled under provisions of the quarantine and regulations in effect at the point of origin, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1975, c. 29, § 3.1-188.29; 1980, c. 291; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-711. Costs of administration; reimbursements to Commonwealth.

Costs of administering this law shall be borne by the Commonwealth. The costs for services, products, or articles that the Commissioner determines are beyond the reasonable scope of the law, shall be paid by the persons affected to the State Treasurer. The Commissioner shall cause all reimbursements to be promptly credited to the State fund from which expended, regardless of the date the costs were incurred or collected.

1975, c. 29, § 3.1-188.30; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-712. Permit required to sell and transport plant pests.

No person shall sell, barter, offer for sale, move, transport, deliver, ship, or offer for shipment into or within the Commonwealth any plant pests in any living stage without first obtaining a permit from the Commissioner. Such permit shall be issued only after it has been determined that the plant pests are not injurious, are generally present already, or are for scientific purposes subject to specified safeguards.

Code 1950, § 3-178.14; 1964, c. 476; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-188.31:1; 1980, c. 291; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-713. Judicial review.

Judicial review of any action of the Board or the Commissioner shall be in accordance with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

1980, c. 291, § 3.1-188.31:2; 2008, c. 860.

Article 2. Pest Control Compact [Repealed].

§ 3.2-714. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2015, c. 373, cl. 1.

Chapter 8. Noxious Weeds.

§ 3.2-800. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Certificate" means a document issued or authorized by the Commissioner indicating that a regulated article is not contaminated with a noxious weed.

"Infested" means the establishment of a noxious weed or exposure to such weed, which would be reasonable cause to believe that establishment could occur.

"Move" means to ship, offer for shipment, receive for transportation, carry, or otherwise transport, move, or allow to be moved.

"Noxious weed" means any living plant, or part thereof, declared by the Board through regulations under this chapter to be detrimental to crops, surface waters, including lakes, or other desirable plants, livestock, land, or other property, or to be injurious to public health, the environment, or the economy, except when in-state production of such living plant, or part thereof, is commercially viable or such living plant is commercially propagated in Virginia.

"Permit" means a document issued or authorized by the Commissioner to provide for movement of regulated articles to restricted destinations for limited handling, utilization, processing, or for scientific purposes.

"Person" means the term as defined in § 1-230. The term also means any society.

"Quarantine" means a legal declaration by the Board that specifies: (i) the noxious weed; (ii) the articles to be regulated; (iii) conditions governing movement; and (iv) exemptions.

"Regulated article" means any article of any character as described in this chapter or in the quarantine carrying or capable of carrying a noxious weed against which this chapter or the quarantine is directed.

1970, c. 175, § 3.1-296.12; 1996, c. 266; 2008, c. 860; 2016, c. 171.

§ 3.2-801. Powers and duties of Commissioner.

The Commissioner shall exercise or perform the powers and duties imposed upon him by this chapter. The Commissioner shall make surveys for noxious weeds and when the Commissioner determines that an infestation exists within the Commonwealth, he may request the Board to declare the weed to be noxious under this chapter and the Board shall proceed as specified in § 3.2-802.

The Commissioner in coordination with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shall develop a plan for the identification and control of noxious weeds in the surface waters and lakes of the Commonwealth.

The Commissioner may cooperate with any person or any agency of the federal government in carrying out the provisions of this chapter.

Expenses incurred on property owned or controlled by the federal government shall be reimbursed and refunded to the appropriation from which they were expended.

1970, c. 175, § 3.1-296.13; 1996, c. 266; 2008, c. 860; 2015, cc. 158, 180.

§ 3.2-802. Powers and duties of Board; quarantine.

A. The Board shall establish by regulation, after a public hearing, those weeds deemed to be noxious weeds not otherwise so declared by the terms of this chapter. Prior to designating a living plant or part thereof as a noxious weed, the Board shall review the recommendations of an advisory committee established by the Commissioner to conduct a scientific risk assessment of the proposed plant. The assessment shall include the degree to which the plant is detrimental to crops; surface waters, including lakes; other desirable plants; livestock; land or other property; public health; the environment; and the economy. The advisory committee shall also include in its recommendations to the Board an analysis of the current and potential in-state commercial viability of the specific plant species and the economic impact on industries affected by the designation of the plant as a noxious weed.

B. The Board may establish a statewide quarantine and adopt regulations pertaining to regulated articles and conditions governing movement, under which the Commissioner shall proceed to eradicate or suppress and prevent the dissemination of noxious weeds in the Commonwealth, and shall adopt other regulations as are necessary to carry out the purpose of this chapter. The Board may adopt regulations governing the movement of regulated articles entering the Commonwealth from without. Following the establishment of a quarantine, no person shall move any noxious weed or any regulated article described in the quarantine from any regulated area without a valid permit or certificate.

Subsequent to the declaration of a quarantine by the Board, the Commissioner shall limit the application of the regulations pertinent to such quarantine to the infested portion of the Commonwealth and appropriate environs, which would be known as the regulated area and may, without further hearing, extend the regulated area to include additional portions of the Commonwealth upon publication of a notice to that effect in a newspaper distributed in the extended area or by direct written notice to those concerned.

1970, c. 175, § 3.1-296.14; 2008, c. 860; 2016, c. 171.

§ 3.2-803. Cost of controlling noxious weeds.

The cost of controlling or eradicating noxious weeds on all property owned or controlled by a State department or political subdivision thereof or control authority, agency, commission, or board, including highways, roadways, streets, alleys, and rights-of-way, shall be paid by the entity out of funds appropriated for its use. When it is not feasible for the entity to conduct the control program, the Commissioner may proceed with the control and the entity shall reimburse the cost and these moneys shall be refunded to the appropriation from which they were expended.

1970, c. 175, § 3.1-296.15; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-804. Prohibited acts; noxious weeds.

No person shall violate any provisions of this chapter or any regulation adopted hereunder. No person shall move, transport, deliver, ship, or offer for shipment into or within the Commonwealth any noxious weed, or part thereof, without first obtaining a permit from the Commissioner. Such permit shall be issued only after it has been determined that the noxious weed is generally present already or it is for scientific purposes subject to prescribed safeguards.

1970, c. 175, § 3.1-296.16; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-805. Authority to stop sale or delivery of noxious weeds.

The Commissioner, in order to prevent the introduction or dissemination of noxious weeds, may stop delivery, stop sale, seize, destroy, treat, or order returned to the point of origin, at the owner's expense, any noxious weed, article, or substance whatsoever, if transported or moved within the Commonwealth, or if existing on any premises, or brought into the Commonwealth from any place outside thereof, if such is found by him to be infested with any noxious weed subject to the provisions of this chapter.

1970, c. 175, § 3.1-296.17; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-806. Access to plants or plant products; state and local police cooperation upon request.

The Commissioner shall have access to plants or plant products or any other article or substance suspected of being infested with a noxious weed for inspection and shall be provided with full information as to origin and destination of same by the person in possession of any plants or other articles.

State and local police, upon request in specific instances, shall cooperate with the Commissioner in the enforcement of this chapter. This chapter shall supersede any ordinances in the Commonwealth insofar as carrying out its intent.

1970, c. 175, § 3.1-296.19; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-807. Inspection of premises and conveyances.

To effectuate the purpose of this chapter, the Commissioner may make reasonable inspections of any premises in the Commonwealth and any property therein or thereon and may stop and inspect in a reasonable manner any means of conveyance moving within the Commonwealth when there is probable cause to believe it maintains or carries any noxious weed subject to the provisions of this chapter.

1970, c. 175, § 3.1-296.20; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-808. Injunctions.

The Commissioner or landowner affected may apply to any appropriate court for an injunction and such court may grant a temporary or permanent injunction restraining a person from violating or continuing the violation of any provision of this chapter, or the Commissioner from the enforcement of any provision of this chapter, when the court determines that the testimony and evidence presented warrants such action, without reference to adequacy of any remedy existing at law.

1970, c. 175, § 3.1-296.21; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-809. Penalty for violation.

Any person who fails to comply with the provisions of this chapter or the regulations adopted hereunder is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1970, c. 175, § 3.1-296.18; 2008, c. 860.

Chapter 9. Nuisance Birds.

§ 3.2-900. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Nuisance birds" means blackbirds, red-winged blackbirds, grackles, cowbirds, pigeons, and starlings, or any other species so declared by regulations of the Board when causing or about to cause economic losses in the Commonwealth; becoming detrimental to the public health and welfare; defacing or defiling public or private property or otherwise creating a public nuisance.

"Person" means the term as defined in § 1-230. The term also means any society.

1968, c. 64, § 3.1-1012; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-901. Powers and duties of Commissioner.

A. The Commissioner shall conduct investigations and surveys to determine economic losses or public nuisances caused by nuisance birds and may develop a plan of action when he has determined that they are causing or about to cause economic losses in the Commonwealth, are detrimental to the public health and welfare, or otherwise create a public nuisance.

B. The Commissioner may provide technical assistance to persons for the suppression of any nuisance birds when it has been determined that they are defacing or defiling public or private property.

C. The Commissioner may appoint an advisory committee to evaluate facts in any particular situation and to make recommendations to him on the course of action. Plan of action programs shall be selected and executed so as to protect human life, other birds, and wildlife.

D. The Commissioner may upon receipt of a complaint of a nuisance bird problem from an individual property owner, tenant, or sharecropper, make an investigation and determine the degree of assistance required. If after such investigation the Commissioner finds suppression necessary, he shall recommend acceptable means and methods.

E. The Commissioner may provide assistance and cooperate with federal agencies, other state agencies, other states, political subdivisions of the Commonwealth, public and private agencies, organizations, institutions, and persons in the exercise of the duties imposed upon him by this chapter. Any plan of action conducted by the Commissioner under the provisions of this chapter shall be consistent with other applicable state and federal laws. Money accepted from any cooperator or person shall be deposited to a special nuisance bird fund to be expended in the enforcement of this chapter.

1968, c. 64, §§ 3.1-1013, 3.1-1014, 3.1-1015, 3.1-1019; 2008, c. 860.

Chapter 10. Endangered Plant and Insect Species.

§ 3.2-1000. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Candidate species" means those species formally recommended by the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation or other reliable data sources in writing to and accepted by the Commissioner for presentation to the Board for listing under this chapter.

"Endangered species" means any species or variety of plant life or insect life determined by the Board to be in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant part of its range other than a species determined by the Commissioner not to be in the best interest of the welfare of man.

"Insect" or "insect life" means any species of the class Insecta.

"Plant" or "plant life" means any member of the plant kingdom, including spores, leaves, stems, branches, flowers, seeds, roots, and other parts or products thereof.

"Proposed species" means any candidate species authorized by the Board for consideration for listing as threatened or endangered under the provisions of this chapter.

"Species" includes any species or variety of plant life or insects.

"Take" means, in reference to plants and insects, to collect, pick, cut, or dig up for the purpose of resale.

"Threatened species" means any species determined by the Board to be likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its native range.

1979, c. 372, § 3.1-1021; 1985, c. 326; 1989, c. 553; 1990, c. 369; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-1001. Powers and duties of Commissioner.

For the purpose of effectively administering this chapter, the Commissioner may:

1. Establish programs as are deemed necessary for the management of threatened or endangered species.

2. Accept funds for a special account or other gifts or grants from any source for use in the furtherance of this chapter. Funds collected for services on articles determined by the Commissioner to be beyond the scope of this chapter shall revert to the fund from which expended.

3. Enter into reciprocal agreements with responsible officers of other states under which any part of this chapter would benefit.

4. Issue a permit authorizing the removal, taking, or destruction of threatened or endangered species on the state list upon good cause shown and where necessary to alleviate damage to property, the impact on progressive development, or protect human health, provided that such action does not violate federal laws or regulations.

5. Stop sale, seize, or return to point of origin at the owner's expense, any threatened or endangered species or part thereof if the Commissioner determines the owner has violated any of the provisions of this chapter or the regulations adopted hereunder. Any threatened or endangered species or part thereof seized may be disposed of at the discretion of the Commissioner.

6. Seek, in those situations where permission to enter property is denied by the owner or occupant, an administrative inspection warrant signed by any judge of any circuit court whose territorial jurisdiction encompasses the property to be inspected, authorizing the Commissioner to make inspections or develop other biological data for the proper management of any threatened or endangered species. The issuance of an administrative inspection warrant pursuant hereto shall conform, insofar as is practicable, to the requirements and guidelines set forth in Chapter 24 (§ 19.2-393 et seq.) of Title 19.2 relating to the issuance of inspection warrants in connection with the manufacturing or emitting of a toxic substance.

1979, c. 372, §§ 3.1-1022, 3.1-1024; 1985, c. 326; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-1002. Listing of threatened and endangered species; powers of Board; further powers of Commissioner.

A. The Board may adopt regulations including the listing of threatened or endangered species, their taking, quotas, seasons, buying, selling, possessing, monitoring of movement, investigating, protecting, or any other need in furtherance of the purposes of this chapter.

B. The Commissioner may conduct investigations of species of plants and insects to develop information relating to the population, distribution, habitat needs, limiting factors, and other biological and ecological data in order to determine management measures necessary to assure their continued ability to sustain themselves successfully. As a result of this investigation and recommendations received regarding candidate species from the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation and from other reliable data, the Board shall approve proposed species to be added to or deleted from the list of threatened species or the list of endangered species, or to be transferred from one list to the other.

1979, c. 372, § 3.1-1025; 1985, c. 326; 1989, c. 553; 1990, c. 369; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-1003. Threatened and endangered species; prohibitions.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to dig, take, cut, process, or otherwise collect, remove, transport, possess, sell, offer for sale, or give away any species native to or occurring in the wild in the Commonwealth that are listed in this chapter or the regulations adopted hereunder as threatened or endangered, other than from such person's own land, except in accordance with the provisions of this chapter or the regulations adopted hereunder.

B. The Commissioner may require any person possessing endangered species or parts thereof to present such species or parts thereof for inspection and to give full information as to their origin and destination.

1979, c. 372, §§ 3.1-1023, 3.1-1024; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-1004. When Commissioner may permit taking of threatened or endangered species.

The Commissioner may issue a permit under certain circumstances for the taking, possessing, buying, selling, transporting, exporting, or shipping of any threatened or endangered species that appear on the state list of threatened or endangered species for scientific, biological, or educational purposes or for propagation to ensure their survival, provided that such action does not violate federal laws or regulations.

1979, c. 372, §§ 3.1-1022; 1985, c. 326; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-1005. Harvesting of threatened species; further powers of Board and Commissioner.

A. The Board may adopt regulations to permit and control the commercial harvest of certain threatened species that would prevent that species from becoming endangered or extinct.

B. The Commissioner may permit the taking of a threatened species when the Board has determined that its abundance in the Commonwealth justifies a controlled harvest that is not in violation of federal laws or regulations. The Commissioner shall take the necessary action to conserve, protect, restore, or propagate threatened and endangered species.

1979, c. 372, § 3.1-1025; 1985, c. 326; 1989, c. 553; 1990, c. 369; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-1006. License required to buy threatened species; records of purchases.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to buy any threatened species or part thereof, which is listed in this chapter or regulations adopted hereunder, without first obtaining a license to do so from the Commissioner. This section shall not apply to the purchase or sale of real property upon which such threatened species or part thereof may be located. Application forms shall be provided by the Commissioner and shall be completed and returned with a fee of $10 made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia. Licenses shall expire on December 31 annually and there shall be no abatement in the annual fee. Licenses may be revoked at any time by the Commissioner for good cause.

B. The buyer of any threatened species or part thereof shall maintain and keep records of all purchases for the preceding 12 months on forms prescribed by the Commissioner. Records shall be sent or otherwise provided to the Commissioner within 30 days following the expiration of the license. Records shall be made available to the Commissioner during normal business hours for examination or information.

1979, c. 372, § 3.1-1026; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-1007. Wild ginseng declared threatened plant species.

The indigenous plant, Panax quinquefolius L., of the Araliaceae family, commonly referred to as ginseng, is hereby declared a threatened plant species when it occurs in the wild. All persons buying wild ginseng or otherwise accepting this plant or part thereof for resale shall be licensed to do so and shall acquire wild ginseng or parts thereof in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and the regulations adopted hereunder. The wild ginseng harvest season shall be set by the Board. If any person takes wild ginseng, other than from his own land, on any other date it shall be deemed a violation of this chapter.

1979, c. 372, § 3.1-1027; 1983, c. 121; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-1008. Export certificate required for export of ginseng.

All persons who have ginseng either wild or artificially propagated in any quantity and who wish to export any amount out of the Commonwealth shall obtain an export certificate from the Department. This section shall not apply to persons exporting ginseng for personal or individual use in quantities not exceeding eight ounces in any calendar year. To obtain an export certificate, an individual shall keep accurate records of the year of harvest and the county of origin of the ginseng. In the case of dealers, a person shall keep accurate records of purchases, quantity purchased, whether the ginseng was wild or cultivated, county of origin, and the name of the seller. Such records shall be presented to the Commissioner for inspection.

1983, c. 121, § 3.1-1027.1; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-1009. Virginia birch declared endangered species.

Virginia birch or round-leaf birch, Betula uber of the Betulaceae family, is hereby declared an endangered species as defined herein and is subject to the provisions of this chapter to preserve those specimens known to occur in the Commonwealth.

1979, c. 372, § 3.1-1028; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-1010. Enforcement of chapter; summons.

Any conservation police officer or law-enforcement officer as defined in § 9.1-101, excluding certain members of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, may enforce the provisions of this chapter and the regulations adopted hereunder as well as those who are so designated by the Commissioner. Those designated by the Commissioner may issue a summons to any person who violates any provision of this chapter to appear at a time and place to be specified in such summons.

1979, c. 372, § 3.1-1029; 2007, c. 87; 2008, c. 860; 2015, cc. 38, 730.

§ 3.2-1011. Penalty.

Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or the regulations adopted hereunder is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1979, c. 372, § 3.1-1030; 1985, c. 326; 2008, c. 860.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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