MFB holds 103rd annual convention
OCEAN CITY, Md. — Maryland Farm Bureau delegates approved several updates to policy resolutions concerning wildlife management and weed control, among other pressing issues in agriculture, during the group’s annual convention last week.
During the business sessions on Dec. 3 and 4, Farm Bureau voting delegates from all 23 counties reviewed the organization’s policy on issues pending before government.
The 2019 policy positions that were adopted by the delegate body will provide direction for the MFB lobbying team in Annapolis and Washington.
“Through the Farm Bureau organization, we will work to put in place policies in Washington to improve trade agreements and sure up risk management with the new Farm Bill,” said MFB President Chuck Fry. “In Maryland, we will work to protect the economic value of our crops with better wildlife management and weed control.”
In wildlife policy areas, delegates voted in stronger language to remove black headed vultures from the Migratory Birds Treaty Act; call for the state Department of Natural Resources to lower the ratio of deer per square mile and urge the state to provide cost share funding for wildlife fence around agricultural fields.
On public land, delegates approved policy urging the state to “require and implement a wildlife management plan for all public, wild and forestland,” and allow all-terrain vehicles and other transportation for harvesting deer.
On weed control, Farm Bureau added Asiatic tearthumb, or mile-a-minute vine, to its list of weeds to be deemed noxious by the Maryland Department of Agriculture; approved language to urge MDA to develop procedure for adding weeds to the noxious weed list that includes a cost estimate for controlling the weed; voted to support the use of cost share funding for controlling noxious and other weeds of concern.
Farm Bureau approve policy to urge the State Highway Administration to submit a “realistic fiscal impact statement related to adding palmer amaranth to the noxious weed list;” and urge the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service to educate private landowners about weed control during before and during their contract periods.
Farm Bureau also approved language urging MDA and University of Maryland Extension a “weeds of concern” program that identifies new problem weeds and educates state agencies, farmers and landowners on how to best manage them.
Delegates also approved a measure to urge the university to fill its weed science specialist position.
In Farm Bureau’s energy policy, delegates updated language continuing opposition to further increase to the solar carve out in the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, “unless projects are two megawatts or smaller.” In discussion, proponents said the two megawatt caveat aligns MFB’s policy with the state’s regulation regarding farm-level solar projects, while opponents said two megawatts is too high of a cap.
After the new language was approved by hand vote, a proposed amendment to change the cap to half a megawatt was also voted down.
In its Air Quality policy area, delegates approved policy to oppose the creation of a state tax or fee on carbon and/or greenhouse gas; oppose requiring Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations to install air quality monitoring devices and to support air quality monitoring data be managed by the University of Maryland Extension.
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