Welcome to Hotline number eight. As the legislature moves closer to the bill crossover deadline, the bill hearings will be much more sporadic and the hearing dates publicized within a few days of the hearings. Therefore, this will be our final weekly Hotline for this legislative session. We will send a final Hotline after the session is complete and summarize all the bills we testified on during the session.
This week was filled with bill hearings that ranged from Sunday hunting to crop damage permits and from environmental rights to farm electricity tax exemption. We want to thank Jo Ann Chason, John Draper, and Paula Linthicum for coming to Annapolis to testify in support of three bills in-person in the Senate this week. Next week we will see a significant decrease in bill hearings and long hours in voting sessions for subcommittees and full committees. Floor sessions will ramp up as the legislature looks to move bills before the bill crossover deadline of March 21.
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 942: Agriculture - Urban Agriculture Water and Power Infrastructure Grant Program and Fund - Establishment Senator Hayes, EHEA at 1:00 PM
This bill establishes the Urban Agriculture Water and Power Infrastructure Grant Program in the Department of Agriculture to increase the viability of urban farming and community gardens and improve access to urban-grown foods. The Urban Agriculture Water and Power Infrastructure Grant Fund is a special, non-lapsing fund that is funded through the Program Open Space payback money. The program is to be funded for four years starting in FY24 at $500,000 per year.
Maryland Farm Bureau Policy: We support and encourage urban farming/agriculture. We support grant programs to provide infrastructure for urban farms.
Maryland Farm Bureau Political Action Committee Questionnaire In preparation for the upcoming primary election, the Maryland Farm Bureau Political Action Committee (MDFB PAC) has distributed surveys to all candidates seeking election to the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate. The survey asks candidates about Maryland Farm Bureau priority issues including questions about ag education, wildlife damage control, and ways to ease the regulatory burden on agriculture. Survey responses are due back to the MDFB PAC by Thursday, March 31. Any candidate for the Maryland House of Delegate or Senate who needs another copy of the candidate survey is asked to email Pat Wolff here.
Two Additional Cases of Avian Influenza Confirmed on Delaware and Maryland Farms Federal laboratory testing has confirmed two cases of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (HPAI)-one pullet operation in New Castle County, Delaware, and one broiler flock in Queen Anne's County, Maryland. Following an investigation by the Delaware and Maryland Departments of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory has confirmed poultry from these farms have tested positive for highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (HPAI).More here.
Nominate Your Fire Department to Win a Grain Bin Rescue Tube Rural firefighters are often the first and only line of defense when someone becomes helplessly trapped in grain. Unfortunately, many fire departments lack the specialized rescue techniques and equipment necessary for a successful grain bin rescue. To help curb tragic fatalities,Nationwidewill award selected rural fire departments with a rescue tube and training. Nominate a firehouse through April 30.More here.
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.
Nominate Conservationist and Farm of the Year The Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission's Farmer of the Year award recognizes a Maryland Farmer whose commitment to wildlife management and conservation is outstanding among their peers. The deadline to submit this application is March 11. More here.
Upcoming Soil Amendment Workshop for Produce Growers The Maryland Food Safety Network is hosting a single-day Soil Amendments Workshop at the Maryland Department of Agriculture to help growers understand best practices of using and making biological soil amendments of animal origin (BSAAO), such as compost. This will take place on Tuesday, March 22 at 8:30 AM.Register here.
Maryland Ag Literacy Summit Registration The first Maryland Ag Literacy Summit conducted virtually on March 16, 2022 will bring together diverse constituencies who conduct ag literacy outreach in Maryland to assess where we are, where we can go, and how we can get there by aligning messages and sharing resources. Register here.
AFBF Urges President Biden to Increase Domestic Energy Production American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall sent a letter today to President Joe Biden asking him to take the necessary steps to address high energy costs impacting all Americans. Over the past 15 months, oil prices have increased by 130% to more than $120 per barrel. More here.
IRS Announces Tax Filing Change Farmers who needed to file their income taxes by March 1, 2022, with a Form 7203 requirement now have until April 18 to file their tax return. No penalty will be assessed for not making the January 15 required farmer estimated tax payment if they file by April 18. More here.
Grants for Classroom Projects The White-Reinhardt Grant Program funds projects that will increase agricultural literacy. County and state Farm Bureaus may apply for $1,000 grants for education programs for grades K-12 in order to initiate new ag literacy programs or expand existing programs. Organizations and individual schools can work with their local Farm Bureaus to apply. Grants are available on a competitive basis. More here.
Grainger: Cool Off with Hot Discounts Jump start your summer preparations with free shipping and Farm Bureau member prices on 1,000+ AC units, tools, and chemicals. Sign in and start shopping today. More here.