“Farms are our future” License plates can be seen in the hundreds. However, farms are not only our future, but also our past and present. The Maryland Department of Agriculture reported 1/3 of the physical land in Maryland is used as farmland, making it a top industry in our beautiful state. In Southern Maryland alone, one finds it a challenge to go somewhere without seeing a tractor or field. With the state government’s political landscape shifting, many wonder what the shift will mean for the agricultural community.
Recent bills to pass through the state house have both aimed to support, and to undermine the agriculture community. For example, one bill was proposed to repeal the Sales and Use tax advantage given to farmers, which would mean farmers would be required to pay almost double the taxes on their equipment. Another was proposed to give a tax credit to manure spreaders that are not self-propelled; meaning the farmers would receive a simple, but helpful tax break. Both of these bills were shot down in committee, leaving an undefined theme within the statehouse.
Local farm bureau president of Charles County, David Hancock Jr., believes the new governor will be much more friendly to the agriculture community. Whereas, James Raley Jr., the Farm bureau president of St. Mary’s county, believes a dialogue within the state house about a constitutional amendment to aid agriculture is the next step.
All in all, farmers will forever be necessary for our society, the question is will they have to suffer through the economics of it or will we show our farmers some appreciation.