DAVIDSONVILLE, Md. — Governor Larry Hogan released his FY2021 budget proposal Jan. 15 highlighting urgent priorities of the state. The proposed budget includes funding for several key programs to protect environmental resources and support agricultural viability.
“Maryland Farm Bureau is pleased to see the Governor’s continued commitment to the agricultural industry,” said Wayne Stafford, Maryland Farm Bureau President. “We appreciate the inclusion of critical funding and technical assistance needed to achieve the conservation initiatives outlined in the Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan. We look forward to working with legislators to ensure this funding remains in the final budget.”
Highlights of the budget proposal include:
- $250.5 million to programs funded by the transfer tax, which offers support for state and local land preservation programs, Maryland Park Service operations, and capital maintenance and development projects in state parks;
- Record funding of $57.2 million to the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund, including $1 million more for manure transportation to help Maryland farmers implement the Phosphorus Management Tool program;
- $1.6 million and 53 new full-time positions to accelerate implementation of agricultural Best Management Practices that reduce nutrient flows to the Chesapeake Bay in an attempt to help the agricultural sector meet Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) goals;
- Two new positions to the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, which establishes a regulatory framework for the commercial production of hemp in Maryland, and one more position tasked with leading efforts to combat the invasive spotted lanternfly;
- Continued funding for the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund and MARBIDCO, which includes the Next Generation Farmland Acquisition Program.
–Emily Solis, Maryland Farm Bureau