DAVIDSONVILLE, Md. — Maryland Farm Bureau (MDFB) board directors, committee members and staff were honored to meet with Governor Larry Hogan and his key agriculture cabinet last week for their annual fireside chat to discuss how policies affect farmers in the state.
MDFB’s representatives shared their top concerns on topics like the agricultural scrap tire recycling program and Agricultural Education. These issues, among others, require policies that allow farmers to produce food in the most efficient way that also keeps the land, waterways and air healthy.
“We want to thank Governor Hogan for giving the farming community a seat at the table for the past seven years,” said John Draper, MDFB first vice president. “With him keeping his campaign promise to end the war on rural Maryland and agriculture, we have been blessed to have the support of our governor.”
The organization expressed the need for additional funds to be added to this year’s budget to cover the cost of its tire recycling program through the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). MDE and the Maryland Environmental Service are offering the tire recycling program to seven counties this spring. The agriculture community is seeking funding to expand the program to the remaining 16 counties.
MDFB representatives spoke to Governor Hogan about the importance of Ag Education in Maryland’s public schools, with a hopeful expansion into middle schools. With the incorporation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future legislation starting to take effect, MDFB hopes to see Ag Education remain part of Career Technology Education, but also become part of the overall approved science curriculum.
The board also thanked Governor Hogan and his administration for the various programs and assistance they have offered over the last seven years to help farmers combat the economic damage to crops due to wildlife, namely deer. “More is still needed, but it has been very nice to have an administration willing to help us find ways to address wildlife damage,” said Billy Bishoff, MDFB District 1 director.
The MDFB delegation addressed the recent avian flu concern and biosecurity restrictions on the use of chicken litter as a low-cost and readily available form of fertilizer for this growing season; the need to reinstate the meat inspection program at the Maryland Department of Agriculture; and supporting the expansion of urban agriculture.
–Maryland Farm Bureau