RICHMOND -- Virginia farmers are upset with the governor's proposed budget because it does not set aside money for a series of farmers' markets.

Members of the Virginia Farmers' Market Board have vowed to fight for an amendment to the governor's proposed budget to provide funding for the markets. Last week, board members criticized Gov. Gerald L. Baliles' proposal to pay for the markets through the new state lottery.

It could take up to two years to start construction if the money comes from the lottery, they said.

"Now we're going to be planning and spinning our wheels for two more years," said Beverly Fletcher, a board member from Accomack County. "We have people on the Eastern Shore ready to jump into this thing right now. If we wait until next year, they won't be around anymore."

Board members said they will try to get help from General Assembly delegates to offer amendments to the budget.

"I'm a fighter, and I don't give up easily," said Carlton Butler, an Isle of Wight County farmer and a board member. "I'm not looking at the markets as a Cinderella approach to make agriculture turn around overnight, but it's got to help."

Baliles' budget proposal provided no funds for capital improvements for any state agency, said S. Mason Carbaugh, state agriculture commissioner. Baliles has targeted the lottery income for building projects.

Rob Mays, a Virginia Beach nurseryman and board member, said lottery revenue will be up for grabs. "Every agency in Virginia is going to be after that {lottery} money," he said.

The farmers' market plan, drawn up last year, includes a $3 million shipping point market for Accomack County where produce could be collected, graded, packaged and shipped to other retail facilities. Another large retail market is planned for a site at Bowers Hill in Chesapeake.

Baliles' 1988-90 budget proposal includes $360,000 for "pre-planning" the markets package, but board members said the amount includes about $250,000 in unspent funds from 1987.

Officials said they cannot pursue the project until there is money to start purchasing land.