Welcome to our third Hotline of the 2022 Maryland General Assembly session. This week in Annapolis has continued to be hectic due to bill introductions. The bill introduction deadline has been extended for the House to February 11th and the Senate remains February 7th. Maryland Farm Bureau testified on several bills including agritourism, pesticide regulations, and community solar. We would like to thank Carroll County Farm Bureau member, Jeremy Willet for testifying with us on the farm camping bill. Bill hearings will start to increase over the next few weeks as both chambers will work to meet the bill crossover deadline of March 21st.
The Hotline will be posted on the MDFB websiteeach 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.
SB 345: Agriculture - Right to Engage in Equine Activities Minority Leader Jennings, EHEA at 1:00 PM
This bill simply declares that the intent of the General Assembly is that residents of Maryland have a right to engage in equine activities subject to regulations and restrictions under laws enacted by the General Assembly.
Maryland Farm Bureau Policy: We support the recognition of equine as part of the agricultural industry and not as companion animals. Riding lessons, boarding, or training given on a farm, and pleasure horses should be considered a part of the normal agriculture practices.
We strongly support responsible and workable actions designed to permit and protect the privilege and rights of farmers, commercial fisherman, and aquaculturalists, to produce without undue or unreasonable restrictions, regulations, or legislation. We support actions to ensure that farmers are protected from liability and nuisance suits when carrying out normal production practices.
SB 489: Queen Anne's County - Public Safety - Buildings Used for Agritourism Senator Hershey, EHEA at 1:00 PM
This is legislation that adds Queen Anne's County to a list of other counties that exempt existing ag structures that are going to be used for agritourism from being required to retrofit the structure with bathrooms, sprinklers, and other high occupancy requirements. This exemption allows up to 200 people in the structure. The structure must still adhere to the structural integrity standards as well as entrance and exit requirements.
Maryland Farm Bureau Policy: 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.
SB 378: Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland - Funding for Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission Senator Jackson, B&T at 1:00 PM
This bill requires the Governor to appropriate $900,000 to the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland from the Cigarette Restitution Fund in fiscal year 2024 and each fiscal year thereafter. It also requires the funds appropriated under the Act to be used for the purpose of funding the activities of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission.
Maryland Farm Bureau Policy: We support the State of Maryland increasing funding to the Tri-County Councils for the purpose of including and funding agricultural and natural resources development in their mission.
HB 143: Somerset County - Natural Resources - Sunday Hunting Delegate Otto, E&T at 1:00 PM
This is legislation that expands Sunday hunting in Somerset County by authorizing the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to allow a person in Somerset County to hunt any game bird or mammal on a Sunday during the open season for that game bird or mammal (including on public land leased to a hunt club that is designated for hunting by DNR).
Crop damage created by deer is nearly $50 per acre today. These numbers are even higher on the Eastern Shore. DNR reports show that more than 10% of the deer harvested this hunting season were done on Sundays. Opening Somerset County to have these additional Sunday hunting dates will allow the hunters to help address the overpopulation of deer in Somerset County.
Maryland Farm Bureau Policy: We support statewide Sunday hunting on private lands.
HB 387: Pesticide Regulation - Transfer to Department of the Environment Delegate Ruth, E&T 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.
Scholarships Available for Maryland Farm Bureau Families Maryland Farm Bureau 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.
Special IPM Report on Spotted Lanternfly University of Maryland sent out an announcement from MDA last week. In the announcement, it listed that the spotted lanternfly quarantine area was increased by several additional counties and city (Harford and Cecil Counties have been quarantine areas for the last two years) to now include Montgomery, Kent, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Washington, Carroll, Frederick Counties. We are receiving several emails this week asking for more definition on what is a nursery, greenhouse, garden center, re-wholesale nursery, and plant dealer operating in these quarantine counties and what is their responsibility. More here.
Maryland Farm & Harvest Visits Baltimore, Calvert, Harford, and Frederick Counties During February 1 Episode Maryland Public Television's (MPT) popular original series Maryland Farm & Harvest, now in its ninth season, will feature farms and locations in Baltimore, Calvert, Harford, and Frederick counties during a new episode airing at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 1. Viewers can watch on MPT-HD and online.The weekly series takes viewers on a journey across the Free State, telling interesting stories about the farms, people, and technology required to sustain and grow agriculture in Maryland, the number one commercial industry in the state. More here.
Industrial Hemp Growers Meeting 4 Reasons Hemp, LLC is looking for farmers who are interested in learning more about industrial hemp as an alternative rotation crop that can produce increased revenues. This meeting will be held on February 10, 2022, at 10:00 AM in the Calvert Grange. More here.
AFBF Applauds Supreme Court Decision to Hear Clean Water Act Case American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented on the U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, which challenges EPA's overreach of its Clean Water Act jurisdiction. "AFBF is pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed to take up the important issue of what constitutes 'Waters of the U.S.' under the Clean Water Act. More here.
Grainger: Smokin' Deals on Detectors This February, take the time to upgrade all of the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home or workplace. Grainger has 100+ options and provides Farm Bureau members with free shipping on all orders. See details and learn more here.