www.mdfarmbureau.com | Contact: Colby Ferguson or Pat Wolff

  Hotline #2  

January 28, 2022

Welcome to the second Hotline of the 2022 Maryland General Assembly session. This week we testified on several bills and focused on reviewing several hundred newly introduced bills. We want to thank Frederick County Farm Bureau member, Scott Hipkins for testifying in support with us on the state livestock processing inspection program task force bill. This bill had a very good hearing and the process to re-institute the state meat inspection program received good feedback from the committee. 

We have another busy week coming up with several bill hearings and reviewing many more introduced bills. The House bill introduction deadline is February 4th and the Senate bill introduction deadline is February 7th, so the legislators will be scrambling to introduce their final bills with the limited time left.

Just a reminder, if you are interested in signing up to testify on a bill or submit written testimony, you will need to do this two days in advance of the bill hearing and between the hours of 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. If you want to learn how to sign up for bill hearings to either submit written testimony or to testify orally, watch this video tutorial. After watching this video, if you have issues, then reach out to Colby Ferguson for additional assistance. We will not be able to sign you up this year because of the new system.

The Hotline will be posted on the MDFB website each week. Maryland Farm Bureau members are urged to contact their legislators and members of the relevant committees in support of Maryland Farm Bureau's positions on the bills. To contact legislators and follow important bills, visit Maryland Farm Bureau's action center and select "key legislation." The action center can serve as a valuable tool for legislative information. The site offers the proceedings and agendas of the House and Senate, hearing schedules, bill information and status, and other data updated nightly.

Scott Hipkins - Frederick County Farm Bureau

  Tuesday, February 1, 2022  

SB 110: Electricity - Community Solar Energy Generating Systems - Generating Capacity
Senator Kramer, FIN at 1:00 PM 

This bill Increases the maximum generating capacity of a community solar energy generating system from 2 megawatts to 5 megawatts.  

Maryland Farm Bureau Policy: We oppose any additional increases to the solar carve out in the RPS unless projects are two megawatts or smaller.

We encourage that publicly owned lands, brownfields, rooftops, and urban areas be utilized to assist with the clean energy mandate in lieu of prime and productive farmland.

  Wednesday, February 2, 2022  

SB 268: Pesticide Regulation - Transfer to Department of the Environment
Senator Kagen, EHEA at 1:00 PM 

This bill would transfer the regulation of pesticides, plant diseases, and mosquitos in the state from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of the Environment.

Maryland Farm Bureau Policy: We strongly oppose consolidation or transfer of MDA's current programs, functions, or authorities to any other department. We strongly support the transfer of all ag-related programs, functions and authorities from other departments to MDA. 

SB 296: Land Use - Agritourism - Definition
Senator Gallion, EHEA at 1:00 PM 

This bill adds Camping and Incidental Outdoor Stays to the state definition of agritourism. The bill does not require the local government to implement new regulation, but instead enables them to include camping on farms as an agritourism activity if the county so chooses. 

Maryland Farm Bureau Policy: We support incidental outdoor stays as an accessory use on a working farm. Agritourism should be defined as activities conducted on a farm and offered to the public or to invited groups for the purpose of education, recreation, or active involvement in the farm operation.

HB 170: Calvert County - Sunday Hunting
Delegate Clark, E&T at 1:00 PM 

This bill would allow a hunter in Calvert county to hunt on each Sunday of the game bird and game mammal seasons. This would add Calvert to a list of counties that consists of Allegany, Cecil, Garrett, St. Mary's, and Washington counties.  

Maryland Farm Bureau Policy: We support statewide Sunday hunting on private lands.

HB 184: Environment - On-Farm Composting Facilities - Permit Exemption
Delegate Shetty, E&T at 1:00 PM 

This bill requires the Maryland Department of Environment to adopt regulations to exempt an on-farm composting facility from the requirement to obtain a permit if the on-farm composting facility uses 40,000 square feet or less in support of food scrap composting and meets any other condition for a permit exemption specified in regulations.  

Maryland Farm Bureau Policy: We support the right for Maryland farmers to make and process mulch and compost from both on- and off-the-farm sources. 

  Maryland Ag News  

2022 Virtual Day in Annapolis
Join us for our annual Day in Annapolis to be held virtually on Wednesday, February 9, 2022, starting at 7:30 AM. The virtual program will begin on Zoom with a legislative briefing by the MDFB government relations staff. Farm Bureau members will then transition to Zoom breakout rooms to have small group virtual meetings with their members of the General Assembly. With only a couple of farmers in the General Assembly, we need now more than ever to engage our lawmakers on the value of agriculture in Maryland. Register here! 

Scholarships Available for Maryland Farm Bureau Families 
Maryland Farm Bureau (MDFB) is giving back to its members and students of the community by offering five $2,000 scholarships for the 2022-2023 academic year. Applicants must be high-school seniors starting college in the fall of 2022 or full-time college students at any accredited community college or four-year institution. Applicants, or their parents/guardians, must be members of Maryland Farm Bureau. More here.

Poultry Farmers Urged to Practice Enhanced Biosecurity
The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) is urging all poultry farmers to remain vigilant and practice enhanced biosecurity on their farms after U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed findings of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds-two in Colleton County, South Carolina and one in Hyde County, North Carolina. More here. 

Steve Connelly Named Deputy Secretary of Agriculture 
The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced that Steve Connelly has been named deputy secretary of agriculture, effective January 18. Connelly will replace Julie Oberg, who has moved on to a new position with Calvert County Economic Development. More here.


2021 Annual Implementation Reporting Forms Due March 1
The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) is reminding farmers regulated by the Nutrient Management Program that they are required to submit their 2021 Annual Implementation Reporting (AIR) forms by March 1, 2022. For a second year, farmers will have the option to submit their forms electronically via the Maryland OneStop portal. More here. 

Future Harvest Seeks Executive Director
"Future Harvest continually strives to ensure that our work translates into real change on the ground," says Future Harvest's listing. "The ED will lead the Future Harvest team, managing a staff of nine and working for the Board of Directors and regional partners for transformational change. At this moment of possibility and exigence, Future Harvest seeks an experienced, accomplished director to lead in effecting our current strategic plan and in visioning its next iteration." More here.

Paying for Environmental Outcomes - the Maryland Way
Thanks to the 2021 Clean Water Commerce Act, Maryland is now the first state to use state funding to pay for environmental results after - not before-they are delivered. The program is the result of 2017 legislation first developed by the administration of Governor Larry Hogan and subsequently amended and reauthorized by the legislature with bipartisan support during the 2021 legislative session. More here. 

  National Ag News  

Vaccine Mandate Will Lead to More Supply Chain Troubles
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented on the announcement by the Department of Homeland Security that would begin enforcing vaccine requirements for non-U.S. citizens traveling to the United States through land ports of entry and ferry terminals. The vaccine requirement includes essential workers. More here. 

  Member Benefits  

Case IH: Two discounts are better than one 
Are you a hay farmer looking for that perfect match this February? Consider pairing a Case IH Farmall tractor with one of their round balers. Buy them together and receive combined savings of $400! 

Ask your dealer about combining Maryland Farm Bureau's incentive with other discounts, promotions, rebates, or available offers. More here.