Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The View from Mecklenburg

photo_southhill The South Hill Enterprise says that it has the “largest paid circulation of any Mecklenburg County newspaper,”  which we take to mean it gets whomped by penny savers but otherwise has cornered the market in southern Virginia. Enterprising reporter Lisa Andrews went out to see how the local population was responding to the passage of the Energy bill in the House. Andrews also talks to the Washington politicians, but let’s just glide right by them.

Local farmer Hart Hudson said Friday, “I am not in favor of anything that will increase the cost of production.” Hudson said he supports the VFBF [Virginia Farm Bureau Federation] stance and he urged others to oppose the passage of the bill as it makes it way to the Senate.

Well, that’s to be expected, if a little narrow-band.

Dean Price, owner of Red Birch Energy in Bassett, referred to the bill as a way to use “trickle down” economics and to encourage local farmers to spend locally. “This legislation will allow more American entrepreneurs and farmers like me to grow and sell our own energy,” Price said. “These kinds of jobs can’t be outsourced and will be a huge part of a new economy and business model in Southern Virginia.” He said that the economy is on the verge of an economic boom.

We hope Mr. Price is right about the economy. We looked up Red Birch Energy and found that it is a biodiesel concern that uses local canola to make its diesel fuel.

“I encourage the Senators and Congressmen of the Fifth District to notify the small farmers in the area how this bill will impact them and how they can take advantage of the opportunities included in the bill,” President of the National Black Farmers Association John Boyd said Monday. “I would like to see them holding meeting and keeping the rural farmers up to date on the progress. Ultimately the bill will reach rural America. It will come to us, an area that doesn’t normally get affected by such legislation. We will feel the impact of the solar power and it will help rural America.”

We like Mr. Boyd’s expansive nature a lot, but reckon every energy initiative has a considerable impact on farmers. We took a peek over at National Black Farmers Association Web site and found that Mr. Boyd created it on his own and really has a beef, so to speak, with the USDA. You can read all about it over there.

The 13th annual Picnic in the Park is set for this Friday from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. in Parker Park. The free event features music, kids games, popular concessions, and, of course, the biggest and best ever fireworks display provided by Dominion Fireworks.

I might have aimed my camera differently, but if you’re around Parker Park, drop by.

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