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Candidate aims to ensure farmers have board voice

John Voss, owner of Voss Farm’s Inc. on Deer View Trail in South Boston, announced he plans to seek the ED-6 seat on the Halifax County Board of Supervisors in the November election.

Voss is seeking the seat currently held by E. Wayne Conner who announced earlier this month he has no plans to seek re-election to the post.

Another potential candidate for the seat, Lawrence “Larry” Giordano of Turbeville, also has picked up a packet from the county registrar’s office.

In announcing his candidacy, Voss, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science, said he is seeking the seat to ensure farmers have representation on the board. 

A farmer in the Union community for the past 11 years, Voss said he has never held public office before but wants to become more involved in the county in which he lives and believes serving on the board of supervisors would provide such an opportunity.

If elected, he plans to provide a conservative voice to the board.

As he eyes the supervisor’s seat, Voss said uranium mining is one of the most pressing issues facing the county at this time.

“It has the potential of affecting livestock producers within a certain area of the mine,” he said. 

“If the public percepton, or the market forces, or the government deem animals raised within so many miles of or so many miles downstream of the mine to be unmarketable because of filter organ contamination, what do those producers do?” he asked.

“On top of that,” Voss questioned, “what if the radioactive material leaves the site and gets into the rivers and streams and drinking water? You can’t put that back in the bag. What happens to the mine when it’s shut down in 20 to 25 years when it’s no longer profitable,” he added.

Another big issue for the county involves school funding, Voss said.

“I wouldn’t have a problem with the county using some funds along with state matching funds to give teachers a raise,” he said.

Supervisors should look for a long-term solution to the school funding issue, Voss said, suggesting something that would generate revenue or expand the tax base.

Although Voss realizes funding for county departments and agencies is always an issue at budget time, he adheres to the philosophy, “You can’t spend what you don’t have.”

The county needs to expand its tax base, according to Voss.

“People need to build and create things. We need to create a business-friendly environment with low taxes, an educated labor force and the resources to attract businesses looking to move or expand,” he added.

Voss knows first hand that agriculture plays a large role in the county’s economy. The county has a large land base, and real estate and property tax rates always seem to be on the table for increases, he said.

“I don’t always agree with that. I would add though, that my farm and all acres contained therein are not enrolled in any ag and forestal district,” he said.

He referred to the feasibility study the county is having done on building and operating a USDA inspected meat processing facility here.

“I think it’s an excellent idea,” Voss said. “This could bring people from different areas of Virginia and North Carolina into the county to spend money. It would create jobs. It would give the local farmer the ability to market their own farm raised product which would help diversify the farm, help with cash flow and add value to their product and equity in the business. Something like this has a far-reaching effect,” he added.

As the county faces a mandate to renovate the historic county courthouse, Voss said he realizes it is something that must be done.

“It’s a hard decision to make on where the money would come from. The county would most likely have to concentrate on the needs of the core operations in the budget and eliminate some of the wants,” he said offering one funding solution.

Voss describes himself as “for sure not a money-spending liberal. I believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Without life, the other two are irrelevant. I have my core principals to help guide me, and I should vote on issues as the district sees fit. And over, time,” Voss said, “I could see myself as chairman of the board of supervisors.”

Between now and the Nov. 5 election, the supervisor candidate said he plans to do “a lot of door to door meeting people and introducing myself.”

Voss currently serves as secretary/treasurer of the Halifax County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, serves on the board of directors as secretary/treasurer for the local Lake Country Quail Forever chapter, supporter of the local 4-H livestock show and sale and volunteers with the local Friends of the NRA.

 He attends St. Paschal Baylon Catholic Church in South Boston and is a past member of the church finance council.

 

He and his wife, Mary, are expecting a child in July.