Food procurement, pesticide stewardship, broadband, solar, and education among top priorities
January 2, 2020 – County Farm Bureau delegates to Maryland Farm Bureau’s 104th annual meeting adopted policies to guide the organization in the New Year. Key topics included local food procurement, pesticide stewardship, rural broadband, commercial solar, and agricultural education.
“Delegates from across Maryland Farm Bureau’s twenty-three county organizations came together to discuss and vote on issues affecting the current state of agriculture and the success of our farming community,” said John Draper, chairman of the organization’s legislative affairs committee and first vice president. “We continue to face a challenging and turbulent farm economy, and we stand ready to work with legislators and the Hogan administration to address these issues.”
LOCAL FOOD PROCUREMENT
Delegates voted to oppose any food policy by state or local agencies and institutions that limit, impair, restrict, or ban the purchase of agricultural commodities produced in Maryland. Maryland Farm Bureau, in partnership with other agricultural groups and legislators, is working to increase procurement of Maryland grown food products.
Delegates supported participating in a pesticide stewardship education program through the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the University of Maryland Extension, and other commodity groups for educational outreach geared toward consumers.
Delegates voted to support legislation that would allow utility cooperatives to apply for grants in order to extend broadband service to underserved rural areas. American Farm Bureau is also focused on increasing rural broadband access on the national level.
Voting delegates opposed commercial solar energy facilities being built on prime and productive farmland, specifically priority preservation areas. Maryland Farm Bureau currently has two representatives seated on Governor Hogan’s Renewable Energy Development Taskforce, working to develop recommendations for the solar and wind energy siting projects.
Delegates opposed the huge cost of the Commission on Innovation & Excellence in Education – also known as the Kirwan Commission. They were also in opposition of the Commission’s lack of improvements for agricultural education. In addition, the delegate body reaffirmed its support of increased funding for pre-K through twelfth grade agricultural education and career technology education programing.
National policy resolutions were also voted on, including training for commercial truck drivers, federal milk marketing order reform, and USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s reporting. National policies will be voted on by delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 101st Annual Convention in Austin, Texas in January.